The months-long investigation into potential ties between associates of President Donald Trump and Russia has taken several pivotal turns just this week. The existence of the ongoing, multipronged inquiry was confirmed by FBI Director James Comey during a congressional hearing on Monday.
And before Wednesday, there had been no public acknowledgement from US lawmakers or the intelligence community of concrete evidence tying Trump or his associates to collusion with the Kremlin. But in an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday, Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who is ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said of the investigation: "There is more than circumstantial evidence now."
Schiff declined to go into specifics when pressed by host Chuck Todd.
"But I will say there is evidence that is not circumstantial," Schiff said, "and it is very much worthy of investigation."
Schiff's comments echo a CNN report published Wednesday evening that cited unnamed US officials who told the network the FBI had information indicating people associated with Trump may have coordinated with suspected Russian operatives on the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
The information includes "human intelligence, travel, business and phone records and accounts of in-person meetings," CNN reported, citing its sources.
Watch a portion of Schiff's remarks below:
Schiff on collusion btw Trump associates and Russians: "I can't go into the particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now" pic.twitter.com/JvPv74ROiM
— David Mack (@davidmackau) March 22, 2017
Russia-related inquiries are underway within the House and Senate Intelligence committees, the FBI, and the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Devin Nunes, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, threw a huge wrench into the matter on Wednesday when he confirmed some information was "incidentally collected" on members of the Trump transition team before Trump's inauguration.
The revelation came amid Trump's weeks-long wiretapping crusade, which started when he used Twitter to accuse the Obama administration of wiretapping Trump Tower before the election. The Trump administration has since explained the tweets as referring only to a suspicion that Trump was being surveiled generally, and Trump appeared to take Nunes' unexpected announcement as vindicating of his unproven claims.
Several associates of Trump have been at the center of the ongoing Russia investigation, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, and former Trump adviser Carter Page.
The Trump White House has repeatedly denied any untoward involvement with Russia during the election.
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