Schiff: U.S. Response to Russian Hacking of Our Election Has Been 'Influenced By Something'

December 16, 2018

Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) said on Sunday's "Meet the Press" that the United States' response to Russia interfering in the 2016 election has been "influenced by something."

"Meet the Press" anchor Chuck Todd asked Schiff what policies he fears might have been influenced by financial dealings tied to President Donald Trump.

"Unquestionably the U.S. response to the Russian hacking of our election has been influenced by something," Schiff said. " Whether it's been influenced by the president being concerned that his effort to build the Trump tower deal would come out – The Russians knew about it. They were on the other end of the transaction –Whether that was the motivation or whether there is other motivation or whether it is Donald Trump reacting to the question that has been raised about his legitimacy because of the taint of the election, I don't know, but we need to find out."

When special counsel Robert Mueller charged several Russian officials for interfering in the 2016 election, Trump blamed the Obama administration for not taking action. In August, National Security Adviser John Bolton sent a letter to Senate Democrats listing all the administration has done to combat Russian interference and hold them accountable.

Todd asked the congressman if he thought U.S. policy towards Saudi Arabia might have also been similarly influenced.

"Saudi Arabia could fit into it if the Saudis were funneling money into the inauguration committee or the Saudi investment in the Trump businesses, buying hotel rooms, the deals that Trump talked about during the campaign that made him love the Saudis so much, if that is warping U.S. policy or affecting the president's unwillingness to criticize the crown prince over the murder of Khashoggi," Schiff said.

Schiff was also asked about an article in the New Yorker, titled, "Adam Schiff’s Plans to Obliterate Trump’s Red Line." The red line refers to Trump's comments where he said his personal finances should be off-limits to investigators and if Mueller began investigating his family's finances that would be crossing a "red line."

"Obliterate was not my choice of words. What it means is this: What ought to concern us the most from an oversight point of view is, is there any entanglement that might influence U.S. policy against our national interest?" Schiff said. "The president has wanted to draw a red line and say 'you dare not look at my business.' If the business is trying to have favor with the Kremlin, we can't ignore that. The president should not be in a position to say you can't investigate certain things. That's what I mean."