Senate Judiciary Committee member John Kennedy, R-La., reacted on Thursday to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s claim that there was “direct evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, even though transcripts of House Intelligence Committee interviews prove otherwise, according to Fox News sources.
Kennedy told “America’s Newsroom” on Thursday that Schiff’s actions are “third-world country stuff.”
“A disagreement is fine in a democracy, but this isn't disagreement, this is persecution,” Kennedy added.
Kennedy made the statements one day after senior administration and intelligence community officials told Fox News that transcripts of House Intelligence Committee interviews that have been cleared for release showed top law enforcement and intelligence officials affirming they had no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
This would align with the results of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — which found no evidence of illegal or criminal coordination between President Trump, the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016 — but the numerous transcribed interviews could raise further questions about Schiff’s past statements saying that there was “direct evidence” of collusion.
“Schiff is in panic mode,” a senior administration official told Fox News.
The 53 transcripts eligible for release, according to a source familiar with the transcripts, included interviews with Donald Trump Jr., Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, Hope Hicks, Corey Lewandowski, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, Roger Stone, Brad Parscale, Michael Caputo and Rick Dearborn. Two sources familiar with the transcripts told Fox News that not one of the 53 witnesses could provide evidence of collusion.
“In terms of what Congressman Schiff did, that's just third-world country stuff,” Kennedy said on Thursday, adding it was "not right" for Schiff to publicly claim there was evidence of collusion.
“These weren't investigations, they weren't prosecutions, they were persecutions,” Kennedy continued. “Where is the FBI? Where is the Department of Justice on this? I mean, [Attorney General] Bill Barr has been the person that's been the most active, but the hits just keep on coming here and nothing gets done.”
Speaking from Capitol Hill he added, “apparently it's easier to divorce your spouse up here than to fire somebody."
At the conclusion of his nearly two-year investigation, Mueller also said he and his team found no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. He did not, however, reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice, which Barr ultimately decided not to pursue.
While law enforcement officials have long maintained that there was clear intelligence Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, to date there have been no charges concerning actual conspiracy against people associated with the Trump campaign, which was at the core of the Russia investigation.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.