WASHINGTON–Five months after ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff said that “circumstantial evidence” of collusion influencing the 2016 election existed between Trump campaign associates and Moscow, he and other Democrats on the committee are silent about it or struggle to explain the supposed collusion.

Schiff made his remark on NBC’s “Meet the Press” when confronted with the fact that James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence under President Obama, rejected the idea that any evidence of such collusion happened while he led the U.S. intelligence agencies.

Schiff said at the time: “I was surprised to see Director Clapper say that because I don’t think you can make that claim categorically as he did. I would characterize it this way at the outset of the investigation: There is circumstantial evidence of collusion. There is direct evidence, I think, of deception and that’s where we begin the investigation.”

He later said, “There is certainly enough for us to conduct an investigation. The American people have a right to know and in order to defend ourselves, we need to know whether the circumstantial evidence of collusion and direct evidence of deception is indicative of more.”

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