Schiff Doubles Intelligence Committee Staff for Reopened Russia Probe

Rep. Adam Schiff
Rep. Adam Schiff / Getty Images

Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the new House Intelligence Committee chairman, has doubled committee staff as it prepares to reopen its probe into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

By retaking the majority, Democrats will add four members to the committee while more than doubling the staff from 11 to 24, CBS News reports. The committee has made offers to six new staffers, including to a former prosecutor and an expert in corruption and illicit finance. The committee plans to still hire another six staffers.

"There's a lot of work yet to be done on Russia," a senior committee official said. "What we're doing is we are creating a purpose-built team that will take the point on that."

Republicans on the other hand will lose several spots on the committee while also cutting its staff.

According to one committee official, the plan is to have seven committee staff work on the Russia probe full time and the rest will be available to assist when needed.

Republicans on the committee concluded an investigation into Russia's interference last year. The report found no collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's campaign and Russian officials. Democrats blasted the report as "fundamentally unserious" and planned to reopen the investigation if they took control of the House.

In an interview late last year, Schiff was asked about possible investigations into Trump's personal finances as well as into possible ties to Russia and the country's president, Vladamir Putin.

"If the business is trying to have favor with the Kremlin, we can't ignore that," Schiff said.

"Unlike in the last Congress, when the investigation was undertaken by existing oversight staff, Chairman Schiff will now have a team better able to answer the key questions about Trump's relationship with Putin and his cronies," a senior committee official told CBS News.

After the election, Schiff held a closed-door briefing for top Democratic donors who have ties to influential liberal billionaire Tom Steyer, who has been an avid proponent of impeaching Trump. Schiff has been hesitant to call for Trump's impeachment but has insisted Trump should go to jail for campaign fraud if the evidence proves him guilty.