Facing calls to resign from his Republican rivals, the chair of the US Congress’ house intelligence committee, Adam Schiff, responded by listing many of the ways the Trump campaign sought to cooperate with Russia.
All nine Republican members of the committee signed a letter calling for Mr Schiff’s “immediate resignation”. They said he had promoted a “demonstrably false narrative” by continuing to investigate the president’s ties to Russia.
It came after a four-page summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report cleared Mr Trump’s presidential campaign of conspiring with Moscow and concluded there was insufficient evidence to charge the president with obstruction of justice.
The summary was written by Mr Trump’s hand-picked attorney general William Barr.
Republicans have since claimed the full report was a “complete exoneration” of Mr Trump, although on the issue of whether justice was obstructed, Mr Barr said the report says: “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Despite their apparent support for their president, many appear reluctant to support making the full report public. Hundreds of pages long, it is thought to contain details of Trump campaign communications with Russian-linked individuals.
After Republican committee member Mike Conaway used the hearing to read the letter out, Mr Schiff hit back, launching a long monologue that began with a reference to a Trump Tower meeting in August 2016 attended by a number of Mr Trump’s campaign team.
Among those in attendance was Mr Trump’s son, Donald Jr and a Russian lawyer with links to the Kremlin.
“My colleagues may think it’s ok that the Russians offered dirt on a Democratic candidate for president as part of what was described as part of the Russian government’s effort to help the Trump campaign. You might think that’s ok,” Mr Schiff said.
“My colleagues might think it’s ok when that was offered to the son of the president – who had a pivotal role in the campaign – that the president’s son did not call the FBI, he did not adamantly refuse that foreign help. No instead that son said that he would ‘love’ the help of the Russians.”
Mr Schiff went on to list many of the other incidents of links with Russians or attempts to cooperate with them.
Among them was an offer by Mr Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, to give sensitive polling data to a man linked to Russian intelligence.
He also mentioned Mr Trump’s request to Russia during a campaign rally to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.