The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee charges that Republican members are so desperate to see the Russian meddling probe end they are now refusing to schedule interviews with any additional witnesses.
Congressman Adam Schiff (D-California) insists his GOP colleagues are prematurely trying to end the probe that has dogged the Trump administration almost from the day he took over the White House back in January.
In a nine-tweet thread, Schiff sounded the alarm, insisting he has become “increasingly worried” Republicans will do all they can to end the ongoing probe over the upcoming holiday break when Congress in in recess. He said the panel has refused to schedule any new witnesses for interviews beyond Dec. 22.
“Yet, Republicans have scheduled no witnesses after next Friday and none in 2017,” he wrote in one of his tweets. “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.”
Schiff said he views the non-action as a dereliction of duty in getting to the bottom of an investigation that has thus far has resulted in four former Trump campaign staffers being criminally charged.
“Despite our repeated urging, majority has declined to issue subpoenas in numerous avenues of the investigation, where there’s simply no other way to get the information,” he added. “Some refusals we’ve made public, like witnesses hiding behind nonexistent privileges, many others we haven’t.”
More recently, Schiff said Republican members scheduled interviews with witnesses out of town, a development he sees as a ploy to distract the attentions of lawmakers involved in the probe.
According to Schiff, all of the out-of-town interviews are with witnesses who were available to travel to Washington.
The Wall Street Journal has reported the witnesses in question include longtime Trump assistant Rhona Graff and Felix Sater, a Trump associate who worked on a deal to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Schiff added ending the Congressional probe could pave the way for Republicans to move to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, a move that could be a giant step in the probe ending altogether.
A handful of GOP lawmakers are already on record in asserting they think Mueller should be fired, among them Rep. Matt Gaetz (R–Florida), who insists the investigation has become “infected” with “intractable bias” against Trump.
So far, less than a dozen key witnesses have testified before Congress, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr.