Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, told LIU Post students and faculty Friday that President Donald Trump “needs adult supervision” when he uses Twitter to prevent him from making “unfounded accusations” against political rivals.
In a question-and-answer session with students on the Brookville campus, Schiff also accused Trump of “slandering” former Obama administration National Security Adviser Susan Rice. Trump said Rice may have committed a felony by unmasking the names of Trump campaign operatives caught in surveillance by U.S. intelligence services.
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“My advice to the president’s kids is take the keys away from dad,” Schiff said. “Stop letting him drive his Twitter account and make sure there is adult supervision of those tweets because they are doing tremendous damage.”
Rice requested the identities of individuals in raw intelligence reports involving members of Trump’s campaign and transition, according to news reports that cited anonymous U.S. officials.
In an interview with MSNBC, Rice said there was nothing unusual about requesting the identities of people caught on intelligence surveillance. She said it was “absolutely false” that those names were leaked for political purposes. “I leaked nothing to nobody,” Rice said.
Trump, while providing no evidence, told The New York Times this week that he believed Rice had committed a felony.
“I think it’s going to be the biggest story,” Trump told the newspaper. “It’s such an important story for our country and the world. It is one of the big stories of our time.”
Schiff said Friday he has seen no evidence that Rice did anything “unusual or unlawful.” He said he took “strong issue” with Trump’s accusations.
“We, on a bipartisan basis, have conducted oversight of this and will continue to conduct oversight of this,” Schiff said. “But I don’t think we should be slandering people without any evidence the way the president has.”
A frequent voice on cable television news in recent weeks, Schiff helps lead the House probe into Russia’s role in meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, including hacking into email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and aides to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Russian President Vladimir Putin considered Trump a “dream candidate,” Schiff said, in part for his criticism of NATO security forces, his encouragement of Brexit and the Republican’s suggestions that he could lift sanctions against Russia for their invasion of Ukraine.
Schiff also raised concerns that Congress had not approved the use of force before Trump approved a missile strike Thursday night on a Syrian air base. Schiff plans to reintroduce legislation authorizing the use of force against ISIS and al-Qaida later this month which would set limits on the president’s powers.
“It remains an enormous and important challenge to make sure that the Congress sets some checks and balances on what the executive can do,” Schiff said. Schiff appeared at LIU Post as part of the school’s new Global Institute, which is focused on foreign policy and national security and led by former Democratic Rep. Steve Israel of Huntington.