- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 16, 2017

Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat, said he’s concerned House Speaker Paul Ryan will cave in to the Trump administration and call off the Intelligence Committee’s probe into the 2016 presidential election race.

“I’m increasingly worried Republicans will shut down the House Intelligence Committee investigation at the end of the month,” Mr. Schiff, the intel panel’s leading Democrat, said in the first of a series of tweets on the topic Friday.

The intel panel is one of four congressional committees currently investigating Russia’s alleged role in President Trump’s election and any ties between the Trump team and foreign operatives. According to Mr. Schiff, however, Republicans including Mr. Trump and the president’s former chief strategist, Breitbart chairman Steve Bannon, are pressuring congressional leadership into closing his committee’s investigation as quickly as possible.

“Since March, our investigation has made important progress. We’ve interviewed numerous key witnesses behind closed doors, held public hearings, reviewed thousands of documents, identified new leads — all to understand and expose Russia’s meddling and protect our democracy,” Mr. Schiff tweeted. “Yet, Republicans have scheduled no witnesses after next Friday and none in 2017. We have dozens of outstanding witnesses on key aspects of our investigation that they refuse to contact and many document requests they continue to sit on.”

“It appears Republicans want to conduct just enough interviews to give the impression of a serious investigation,” Mr. Schiff added.

A representative for Texas Rep. Mike Conaway, the top Republican on the committee’s Russia probe, did not return messages seeking comment.

Separate from the four House and Senate committees, the Department of Justice has appointed special counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, to lead an investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 race and any improper ties between the White House and Kremlin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied interfering in Mr. Trump’s election, contrary to the findings of a U.S. intelligence assessment that blamed Moscow with meddling in the race.

Mr. Trump has been reluctant to accept the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in his election. He’s previously labeled Mr. Mueller’s probe a “witch hunt,” and has insisted the Justice Department “DO SOMETHING” instead about Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival during the 2016 race.

“The responsibility to conduct a thorough investigation, or to prevent one, ultimately falls on @SpeakerRyan,” Mr. Schiff tweeted Friday. “I’m concerned he’s heeding the calls of Bannon and @POTUS to ‘DO SOMETHING’ by closing down the Russia investigation & opening up another investigation of Hilary Clinton.”

“Beyond our investigation, here’s what has me really concerned: The attacks on Mueller, DOJ and FBI this week make it clear they plan to go after Mueller’s investigation. Aggressively and soon,” he tweeted. “By shutting down the congressional investigations when they continue to discover new and important evidence, the White House can exert tremendous pressure to end or curtail Mueller’s investigation or cast doubt on it. We cannot let that happen.”

Mr. Mueller’s office has announced criminal charges so far against four individuals associated with Mr. Trump’s successful White House bid: former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his associate Rick Gates, foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates have pleaded not guilty to charges brought by the special counsel’s office currently scheduled to go to trial in 2018. Mr. Papadopoulos and Mr. Flynn have entered plea agreements and are cooperating with investigators, according to previously unsealed court documents.

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