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Schiff: ‘Of course’ Russian indictment doesn’t clear Trump campaign of collusion

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Sunday that recent charges against Russian nationals present clear evidence of meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, but don’t clear the Trump campaign of collusion with Moscow.

“No, of course not, but this is a president who claims vindication anytime someone sneezes,” Schiff said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“It ought to put to rest for anyone, including the president, who continues to call this a witch hunt, that the evidence is now overwhelming and unequivocal, and we need to move to protect ourselves from Russian interference in elections that are coming up,” he added.

The Department of Justice announced Friday charges against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations accused of attempting to interfere in the 2016 election.

The indictment alleges the goal of the Russians was to support then-candidate Donald Trump and damage his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Following the indictment, President Trump has repeatedly taken to Twitter to argue that his campaign never colluded with Russia.

Schiff, however, said on Sunday that the charges don’t address Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee or the publishing of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff, which he said the Trump campaign actively promoted.

Earlier Sunday, Trump singled out Schiff, saying the congressman was rightly blaming the Obama administration for its handling of Russian interference.

Schiff disputed that he was taking a new stance, saying he’s believed all along that the Obama administration could have done more to push back against Russia.

“I think they should’ve engaged in conversations about sanctions, but none of that is an excuse for this president to sit on his hands,” Schiff said, noting Trump has yet to implement sanctions against Russia overwhelmingly supported by Congress.

“They can’t point the finger back when they’re sitting on sanctions that the congress has said need to be imposed,” he added.

 

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