One day after President Trump decried what he called “the politics of revenge” and “partisan investigations” in his State of the Union address, Democratic House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff announced a new, wide-ranging probe into the president’s foreign business dealings and Russian election meddling.
The move was fiercely condemned by Trump, who called Schiff a “political hack” on a partisan search-and-destroy mission.
The Intelligence Committee on Wednesday also voted to hand over a slew of interview transcripts to Special Counsel Robert Mueller that were generated by the panel’s previous Russia investigation, which was conducted under GOP leadership and concluded last March. That investigation found “no evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in the 2016 election.
Republicans had previously voted to release the transcripts publicly, but that has been held up by an intelligence community review to ensure no sensitive materials are disclosed.
The flurry of activity comes shortly after Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said he expected Mueller’s final Russia report “within a month.“
Although the precise nature of the new Democrat-led House probe is unclear, Schiff said the investigation will include “the scope and scale” of Russian intervention in the 2016 presidential election, the “extent of any links and/or coordination” between Russians and Trump’s associates, whether foreign actors have sought to hold leverage over Trump or his family and associates, and whether anyone has sought to obstruct any of the relevant investigations.
Schiff, D-Calif., charged late last year that Trump’s financial records with Deutsche Bank and Russia might reveal a “form of compromise” that “needs to be exposed.” Schiff has long maintained that there had to be some reason that the German banking giant, which has what he called a “history of laundering Russian money,” was willing to work with the Trump Organization.
In response, Trump told reporters at the White House that Schiff was grandstanding.
“He has no basis to do that. He’s just a political hack who’s trying to build a name for himself,” Trump said. “It’s just presidential harassment and it’s unfortunate, and it really does hurt our country.”
Trump, who last November called Schiff “little Adam Schitt,” warned during his State of the Union that an “economic miracle is taking place in the United States — and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations.”
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., characterized Trump’s remarks as threatening.
“The president should not bring threats to the floor of the House,” Pelosi said.
For his part, Schiff said Trump’s comments would not deter Democrats.
“We’re going to do our jobs and the president needs to do his,” Schiff said. “Our job involves making sure that the policy of the United States is being driven by the national interest, not by any financial entanglement, financial leverage or other form of compromise.”
While it was unclear whether Mueller had requested that the Intelligence Committee turn over the interview transcripts, Republicans unanimously voted in September to release the documents, pending a review for potentially sensitive contents. Democrats have long vowed to turn over the transcripts to Mueller.
That investigation, which Democrats said had been concluded prematurely, found “no evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”
Since then, both former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and Trump’s longtime adviser Roger Stone have been charged with lying to the panel. Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying to the House and Senate intelligence committees about his role in a Trump business proposal in Moscow. He acknowledged that he misled lawmakers by saying he had abandoned the project in January 2016 when he actually continued pursuing it for months after that.
Stone pleaded not guilty to charges last month that he lied to the House panel about his discussions during the 2016 election about WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group that released thousands of emails stolen from Democrats. Stone is also charged with obstructing the House probe by encouraging one of his associates, New York radio host Randy Credico, to refuse to testify before the House panel in an effort to conceal Stone’s false statements.
Schiff on Wednesday also announced a delay in an upcoming closed-door interview with Cohen, “in the interests of the investigation.” The interview was originally scheduled for Friday. It will now be held on Feb. 28, Schiff said.
Schiff said he could not speak about the reason for the delay. Hours after the meeting was pushed back, a document was filed under seal in the criminal case against Cohen brought by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office. The court’s docket did not contain any details about the nature of the document.
Special counsel spokesman Peter Carr declined comment, as did Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen.
Fox News’ Alex Pappas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.