WASHINGTON – As the nation learned special counsel Robert Mueller did not find evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia, Republicans celebrated and took aim at many of the president’s foes.
One of the biggest targets thus far: Rep. Adam Schiff, who heads the powerful House Intelligence Committee.
“Adam Schiff should resign,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said on Fox News Monday morning. “He has no right as somebody who has been peddling a lie day after day after day unchallenged.” She added Democratic-led investigation in the House would “never have the credibility of the Mueller investigation.”
Attorney General William Barr issued a four-page summary of Mueller’s report on Sunday, declaring that Mueller’s 22-month inquiry had not found that President Donald Trump or his campaign conspired with Russian efforts to sway the 2016 election.
But, on the issue of whether Trump had sought to thwart the investigation, Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined that the president’s conduct did constitute a crime because Mueller’s team did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump had obstructed justice.
Republicans took the findings as a victory lap and called out Schiff by name repeatedly on Monday.
More: Justice Department offers no clue when Mueller’s full report could be released as pressure intensifies
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. asked for him to step down from his post leading the House Intelligence Committee.
“I am calling on him to leave the committee as chairman,” McCarthy told Fox News, firing off a number of concerns, including his past comments on evidence of possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.
“He should apologize to the American public and he should step back from being chair of the intel committee,” McCarthy said.
Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, fired off a number of tweets attacking Schiff, even using the hastag “#FullOfSchiff.”
“Couldn’t agree more with my friend @GOPLeader,” he said replying to McCarthy’s call for Schiff to leave his committee post. “After spending 2 years lying to the American people about the collusion conspiracy, this truther is STILL doubling down on his lies. He’s a hack & serial fraud. If he had an ounce of integrity, he would resign today. #FullOfSchiff”
He also questioned why Schiff should not “face any repercussions” for his statements over the years about Trump’s connections to Russia. In another tweet, he said Schiff’s conduct had erased trust in the committee.
After Barr’s letter on Sunday, Schiff said he accepted Mueller’s conclusions but contended that it did not clear Trump of wrongdoing.
“Mueller did not find sufficient evidence to establish conspiracy, notwithstanding Russian offers to help Trump’s campaign, their acceptance, and a litany of concealed interactions with Russia. I trust Mueller’s prosecutorial judgement, but the country must see the evidence,” he said on Twitter.
He added in another post: “Mueller spent two years investigating obstruction of justice and found evidence that ‘does not exonerate’ Trump. Barr took two days to set aside that evidence. The entire report must be published and evidence provided to Congress so the American people can judge for themselves.”
Schiff has not publicly addressed the attacks but other top Democrats have stood up for him, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“Democrats aren’t going to be intimidated by the White House or Congressional Republicans, we’re not going to be distracted from securing the release of the full Mueller report and the underlying evidence, and we will continue to pursue legitimate oversight because that’s what the Constitution requires,” Ashley Etienne, a spokeswoman for Pelosi, told Politico.
While Trump and other Republicans claimed vindication in the aftermath of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, many still pointed to unanswered questions about whether the president’s actions constituted obstruction of justice.
More: Congressional Democrats question AG William Barr’s decision that Trump didn’t obstruct justice
Democrats continued to demand the public release of the report, sending a letter late Monday to Barr that demanded Mueller’s findings by April 2.
“Your four-page summary of the Special Counsel’s review is not sufficient for Congress, as a coequal branch of government, to perform [its] critical work,” the letter reads. “The release of the full report and the underlying evidence and documents is urgently needed by our committees to perform their duties under the Constitution.”