WASHINGTON, DC — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s decision to share highly classified intelligence with Russians puts American national security at risk. Schiff added that Trump needs “counseling” so that he will stop jeopardizing America’s relationship with foreign allies.
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee told ThinkProgress that steps need to be taken to mitigate the damage after reports surfaced Monday that the president divulged sensitive intelligence during last week’s meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador.
“We should start by getting the most information we can about what if anything might be compromised and what steps the intelligence community is going to take to try to mitigate those risks,” said Schiff. “Then I suppose we need to inquire what we can do to better protect our services and methods.”
“This is one of those instances in which experience really matters and the president’s lack of experience can be a real risk for the country,” he continued. “But there aren’t that many remedies.”
Schiff did not say whether he sees impeachment as the only option if there are not “that many remedies.”
Speaking to ThinkProgress from the Center for American Progress’ Ideas Conference, the California congressman also said that the ongoing House investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia now includes an investigation into the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
The current investigation, Schiff said, is likely broad enough to encompass an examination of Comey’s termination. During an interview last week, Trump admitted that he was thinking about the Russia investigation when he made the decision to fire him. Then, the next day, he said Comey had “better hope” that his conversations with Trump had not been surreptitiously recorded.
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
“I do view [Comey’s firing] as part of the Russia investigation since the whole point of his firing was over the Russia investigation,” said Schiff. “I hope that this is something we’ll get to the bottom of, and we should start by ascertaining whether there are any tapes, as the president threatened, and if so we should obtain them by subpoena if necessary.”
Schiff has previously called on Congress to subpoena the tapes. Last week, he and other House Democrats wrote to White House counsel Don McGahn asking whether the tapes Trump mentioned on Twitter exist and requesting copies if they do.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) also spoke about Trump’s leaks at the progressive conference on Tuesday, saying that while past presidents have shared classified intelligence with foreign ministers, Trump’s actions stand out.
“They only did so after consulting with other intelligence agencies,” Murphy said. “It was strategic. This clearly, as far as we understand, was not strategic.”