Washington, DC, August 18, 2020 – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement:
“The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report affirms what we have all known for years: the Trump campaign had a breathtaking number of contacts with Russians tied to the Kremlin – at the same time that the Russian government, at the direction of Vladimir Putin, was running an influence operation in the 2016 U.S. election designed to help Trump’s campaign. These contacts included a secret meeting to obtain dirt on Hillary Clinton, providing internal polling data to an agent linked to Russian intelligence, Konstantin Kilimnik, while Russia was running a covert hack and dump operation and a social media campaign targeting Hillary Clinton, and secret discussions with the Russian ambassador to undermine U.S. sanctions among many other contacts falsely denied by Trump and his campaign.
“In short, the Trump campaign invited illicit Russian help, made full use of that help while Russia’s covert campaign was underway, and then lied and obstructed the investigations in order to cover up this misconduct. As several Senators noted in a separate conclusion: ‘This is what collusion looks like.’
“I want to thank former Chairman Burr and Vice Chair Warner for their diligence in seeing this report through to completion.
“The Trump campaign’s cooperation with the Russian effort to interfere in our election may not have been sufficient to warrant criminal charges, but it was dishonest, unethical and wrong. And the President’s continued efforts to invite, even coerce, foreign help in his campaign only underscore the danger he poses to our democracy. As several Senators noted:
The Committee’s bipartisan Report unambiguously shows that members of the Trump Campaign cooperated with Russian efforts to get Trump elected. It recounts efforts by Trump and his team to obtain dirt on their opponent from operatives acting on behalf of the Russian government. It reveals the extraordinary lengths by which Trump and his associates actively sought to enable the Russian interference operation by amplifying its electoral impact and rewarding its perpetrators – even after being warned of its Russian origins. And it presents, for the first time, concerning evidence that the head of the Trump Campaign was directly connected to the Russian meddling through his communications with an individual found to be a Russian intelligence officer.
“The report also makes clear that the Trump campaign’s engagement with these Kremlin-linked actors posed a significant counterintelligence threat. Indeed, some of the most serious bipartisan findings of the SSCI concern the efforts of Russian intelligence and Trump campaign actors to push the Russian false narrative that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election. It was precisely this false narrative that the President sought to coerce Ukraine to promote, in actions for which he was later impeached. Those disinformation efforts continue, aided by the President’s defenders.
“I remain concerned that Trump may be improperly influenced by Russia, and this is all the more alarming as the President continues to curry favor with Vladimir Putin and dismiss reports about Russian efforts to harm our national security interests. He is doing this even as the Intelligence Community has confirmed that Russia seeks to interfere in the 2020 presidential election to bolster the President and denigrate former Vice President Biden.
“The President’s response — attacking the Intelligence Community’s past work, dismissing the threat to our elections, amplifying disinformation, while staying silent in the face of Russian interference — further underscores the fact that when it comes to protecting our democracy, Trump only cares about his own political interests, not the national interest. And so do those who enable him.
“Americans must decide American elections. That was true in 2016 and it remains true today, and this report only reinforces the need to protect the integrity of our elections.”