DEMOCRATS ARE NOT INTERESTED IN ANYTHING BUT THEIR PREDETERMINED CONCLUSIONS.
House Democrats are continuing to block testimony from about a dozen witnesses who sought to appear before the intelligence oversight panel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Congressional officials said one of the key witnesses, former informal adviser to the Trump campaign Carter Page, was scheduled to testify at a closed hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
But Democrats on the committee blocked the testimony, asserting they needed more time to prepare.
"He's the guy that many Democrats have been pointing to as the supposed mastermind and you would think they were interested hearing his story," said one Capitol Hill official.
Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the committee's Democratic leader, did not respond to emails seeking comment on the blocked testimony.
Schiff has asserted in the past that evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign is "more than circumstantial," contrary to other intelligence and congressional oversight members who have said there is no evidence.
On Sunday, Schiff appeared to back off his earlier comments somewhat. Pressed on ABC News to explain the nature of the evidence of collusion, the lawmaker said: "Well, I think there is evidence. I can't go into the particulars of our closed investigation. But I also think there is also evidence of obstruction. But in both cases, I would say, whether there is some evidence doesn't mean there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt."
Schiff was referring to obstruction of justice charges against President Trump. His mention highlights a new tactic adopted by Democratic critics of the president regarding the Russian investigation: playing down charges of alleged collusion while playing up claims of a cover up.
Schiff was not asked about why witnesses have not appeared before the panel but said the committee is "far closer to the beginning of the investigation than we are to the end"—suggesting Democrats plan to draw out the probe for many months.
The FBI has been investigating charges of Russia-Trump campaign collusion since July, based in part on a controversial private intelligence dossier produced by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.
Many of the dossier's claims, including charges that Page met with Russians intelligence figures, have been debunked.
Page, however, was the only witness who had been scheduled to appear before Democrats blocked the testimony.