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House Intelligence Probe of Russia Ties Won’t Be Stopped, Schiff Promises

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee acknowledged Wednesday night that "we have this cloud" over the committee's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, but he vowed that the controversy won't derail the inquiry.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, said on MSNBC that "we can't have a credible investigation if one of the members, especially the chair, is freelancing" — a reference to the committee's Republican chairman, Devin Nunes of California.

Schiff: Nunes questions hurt credibility 6:26

Nunes created turmoil last week when he told reporters that he bypassed his own committee to obtain evidence that court-approved spying on foreign targets had collected "incidental" surveillance involving people associated with President Donald Trump.

"None of the committee members have seen this," Schiff told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night. "We only have his representation, and you just can't conduct an investigation that way."

Related: 4 Unanswered Questions About Rep. Nunes and Russia

Nunes said last week that he had seen materials that "clearly show the president-elect and his team were at least monitored" during the transition. But two days later, he said he wasn't sure whether Trump and his aides had been monitored.

Schiff presses for public hearing for Yates 3:40

Nunes has also canceled a series of hearings on the issue, leading Democrats to question his impartiality.

"Now I think we have this cloud over the investigation," Schiff said Wednesday, but "we're not going to stop our work."

Schiff said separately on CNN that he and Nunes are scheduled to meet Thursday, and "I hope that we can somehow get back on track."

But Eric Swalwell, D-California, another member of the committee, again called for Nunes to recuse himself from the inquiry.

"The chairman panicked," Swalwell said Wednesday night on MSNBC's "The Last Word." "It looks like he is now working with the White House instead of showing the independence that we need to show."

Senate Intelligence Committee on Russia: 'Going to Get to the Bottom of This' 2:33