Congressman Eric Swalwell said he fears the House investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election will be so lacking in factual evidence about what really happened, he’s dubbing it a “flat earth report.”
“There’s widespread concern among our Democratic caucus that this investigation is not a serious one,” said Swalwell, who is on the House Select Intelligence Committee, during a Wednesday morning appearance BuzzFeed’s morning show AM to DM.
The Congressman who represents the Bay Area noted that the president’s son Donald Trump Jr, lawyer Michael Cohen, and political consultant Roger Stone had not been subpoenaed despite being the “most relevant witnesses.”
Instead on Tuesday, fellow California congressman Devin Nunes, a Trump ally and head of the intelligence committee, announced that the research company who put together the dossier which alleged ties between Donald Trump and Russia will be subpoenaed.
“Our biggest fear is that at the end of the investigation you’ll see a Senate intelligence report where you’ve seen cooperation between Senators [Richard] Burr and [Mark] Warner and they’ll have one set of findings, and you’ll see this, what I call ‘flat earth report’ from House Republicans that completely defies the evidence and what really happened,” said Swalwell.
“If we have this kind of disunity between our reports because of the shenanigans we’ve seen from House Republicans, that actually helps the Russians,” he added.
Swalwell called on Nunes to recuse himself from the investigation, after concerns he had passed along confidential information about the probe. In April, Nunes temporarily stepped aside from the investigation.
“It’s time that he stay recused or that Paul Ryan steps in and ensures that we have a legitimate investigation,” said Swalwell.
“We should be united as we seek to understand what the Russians did and then make reforms so it doesn’t happen again. And time, after time after time we have seen a recused chairman, who recused himself because he had essentially gone to work with the White House rather than for the intelligence committee. Time after time he has gone it alone and subpoenaed people that he thinks are important for the investigation without [discussing that] with Democrats,” he said.
Swalwell noted that little was still known about Russian interference in US social media — “I believe this is just the beginning of what we understand to be out there” — and said he hoped when social media companies such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter appear before the committee it will be in a public hearing.
He also noted that lawmakers have to look at what comes next.
“What are we going to do going toward that protects the freedom of speech in this country but doesn’t allow a foreign advisory to weaponize our social media?,” he asked.
“Our greatest strength in this country is our freedom of speech, however that doesn’t mean foreign adversaries have a freedom of speech,” said Swalwell.