News World Donald Trump not cleared by Russia investigation: Schiff

Donald Trump not cleared by Russia investigation: Schiff

donald trump russia
The investigation into Russian election interference may still implicate Trump. Photo: AAP
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A senior member of the House intelligence committee investigating interference in the US election says President Donald Trump has not been cleared of collusion with Russia.

Democratic congressman Adam Schiff,  who was described as a “leakin’ monster of no control” during a Twitter rant by Mr Trump over the weekend, told WNYC radio on Tuesday morning (AEDT) that a web of collusion between Russians and the Trump electoral campaign had already been established.

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday charged 13 Russians and three Russian companies with a conspiracy to tamper in the 2016 US election.

His indictment said the Russians adopted false online personas to push divisive messages and staged political rallies while posing as Americans, among other charges.

The document was silent on the question of whether anyone from the Trump campaign co-ordinated or worked with Russians to influence the election.

Mr Schiff told WNYC the indictments may be just the first in a series of findings to be released by the Mueller investigation.

“It’s very clear from this 37-page indictment that this was a massive Russian operation and part of its design was to promote the campaign of Donald Trump,” he said. 

Donald Trump foe Adam Schiff
Mr Schiff says Mr Trump was aware of hacking. Photo: Getty

Mr Schiff said the Mueller investigation “tore any veneer off the argument that the Russians were not involved, and were involved for the purpose of helping him [Mr Trump] and hurting others”.

The Californian Congressman said it was clear that the then-presidential candidate Trump was aware of Russia’s hacking and dumping of documents because the intelligence community had said in October 2016 it was being carried out at Putin’s behest.

“Then-candidate Trump used this information on a daily basis to denigrate Hillary Clinton,” Mr Schiff said.

“And we know there were conversations about getting dirt on Hillary Clinton between very high levels of the campaign, including the President’s own son, son-in-law and campaign manager (who) met in the secret meeting at Trump Tower where the Russians had offered to send someone out from Moscow … who was part of the Russian government effort to help elect Donald Trump.” 

Mr Schiff said Russians had communicated an offer “very similar” to former Trump aide George Papadopoulos.

“What we don’t know is: what did Papadopoulos share with others in the campaign and what was the message that went back from the Trump tower to the Kremlin?” he said.

Mr Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents about his contact with the Russian government.

Mr Trump responded to the Mueller indictments by launched a stinging Twitter attack on the FBI and US lawmakers over the weekend.

He continued his commentary on Tuesday by using national President’s Day in the US to repeat his claim that former president Barack Obama failed to do enough to stop Russian election interference.

Mr Trump earlier argued that the ongoing investigations were what the Russians wanted, saying: “Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!”

He also claimed an excessive focus on Russia led FBI investigators to miss signs that could have prevented the deadly school shooting in Florida last week.

Republican strategist Rick Wilson told the Washington Post the President’s tweets read to like “a cry for help”.

“He must be feeling a lot of different pressures building on him right now — personal and political and legal,” Mr Wilson was quoted as saying.

“He must feel like he has to sweep all the pieces off the chess board and try to restart. But these problems can’t be papered over by tweets.”

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