On "State of the Union" Sunday, Rep. Adam Schiff said that President Trump was "dishonest" in his characterization of his ties with Russia. He also suggested that Trump has shaped his foreign policy based on a business opportunity in Russia.
Dana Bash asked Schiff about reports that Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, reached out to the Kremlin about a potential real estate project in Moscow.
"It means, among other things, the president was dishonest when he said during the campaign that he had no business in Russia, wasn't pursuing no business in Russia," Schiff said."So, yet another, I think, misleading statement by the administration about their relationship with Russia."
Schiff said the prospective business deal is significant because Trump may have allowed the opportunity to shape his foreign policy.
"It's also significant because if they were pursuing business in Russia during the campaign, that might've influenced the positions that the candidate took in a more pro-Russian direction," he said. "After all, if they were going to be criticizing Putin, criticizing Russia, that would diminish the chances that this deal would go through."
Beyond giving Russia policy advantages, Schiff also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use Trump's possible financial ties to Russia as leverage for blackmail.
"Well, this is, I think, part of a broader concern, and that is the whole range of allegations about potential money laundering or financial entanglement. This is a tactic that the Russians have used elsewhere," he said.
"And if there was any kind of financial transactions, either elicit or legal, that nonetheless Russians could hold over the president's head because he's denied having any financial interests in Russia or with the Russians, that could be leverage on the president's future actions," he added.