Schiff Calls Collusion Evidence ‘Pretty Damning’ but Not Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) said Sunday that the evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and the Russians was "pretty damning" regardless of whether it was iron-clad proof of a conspiracy.

CNN host Jake Tapper ran through the thread of stories in the Russian collusion narrative while interviewing Schiff on "State of the Union."

"We haven't seen the actual connection," Tapper said. "We haven't seen an actual proof of cooperation and collusion, so what am I missing here?"

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Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Tapper needed to look at the "pattern and the chronology" of Russian and Trump campaign activity. He pointed to the Russians informing the Trump campaign they possessed stolen Hillary Clinton emails, the Russians approaching the Trump campaign offering "dirt" on Clinton, and communications between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks.

"So, we have all these facts in chronology," Schiff said. "To believe that these were all isolated incidents not connected to each other just doesn't make rational sense. Now, ‘can you prove beyond a reasonable doubt' will be [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller's question to answer that the Russians communicated to the campaign that the way they were going to deliver the help they offered, and that the campaign accepted, was not by handing the emails directly over to the campaign, but by publishing them."

Schiff said his investigation would continue to fill in the missing pieces.

"The Russians offered help. The campaign accepted help. The Russians gave help. And the president made full use of that help," Schiff said. "And that is pretty damning, whether it is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of conspiracy or not."

Tapper asked if Schiff knew of any communications showing the Russians revealed to the Trump team how they would distribute useful information, but the congressman said he could not comment.