Columns

House Intel Dem Predicts 'Some People End Up in Jail' After Russia Investigation

House Intelligence Committee member Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) questions FBI Director James Comey on Capitol Hill on March 20, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee made a bold prediction about where the investigation into Russia’s campaign influence operation is going, though other Dems on the panel made clear they didn’t want to pile on this soon into the probes.

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) told CNN on Tuesday said that Dems wary of Chairman Devin Nunes’ (R-Calif.) ties with the White House are still pressing for an independent commission, but “we’re not going to let this investigation go.”

“Whatever form it takes, we’re going to make sure that we’re there to get to the bottom of whether any Americans conspired with the Russians who interfered with our 2016 elections,” he said. “I would prefer a different chairman at this point. But it is what it is.”

Castro wouldn’t reveal the witness list agreed upon by the committee, only hinting it includes “a lot of the usual suspects that have been bantered about in the media” and is “subject to change and to expansion.”

“When you look at the totality of the facts, it’s clear that Russia achieved a deep infiltration of the Trump team and a deep infiltration of the United States government. And those are the things that we need to uncover. Those connections,” he said. “…There’s certainly, as all Americans have seen by now, quite a lot of smoke. The investigation is to determine whether there’s a fire or not.”

Asked if he’d seen “hard evidence” of collusion, Castro replied, “I guess I would say this: that my impression is I wouldn’t be surprised, after all of this is said and done, that some people end up in jail.”

Pressed on how high that would go, the congressman said that’s “yet to be determined.”

Castro said he couldn’t elaborate further, but “if somebody asked me my impression, I would — my impression is that people will probably be charged and, I think, people will probably go to jail.”

After Castro’s appearance, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) told CNN he wants “to take a more deliberate approach to this.”

“I just don’t want to prejudge,” he said. “I want the American public to learn exactly what took place.”

Committee member Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) similarly told the network that “we need to let the investigation run its course.”

“I don’t want to prejudge what the FBI and Department of Justice are going to do,” he said. “There is evidence of collusion, both on the unclassified side, what we have shown the world… and there’s also evidence on the classified side.”

“But, right now, we just should follow the evidence… if at the end of the day, these are just mere coincidences, it’s in the president’s interest for the world to know that. And if not, it’s in our country’s interest that people be held accountable.”

The top Dem on the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), also said he’s “not speculating about where we end up at the conclusion of our investigation.”

“I don’t want to talk about anything that we’ve obtained in closed session,” Schiff told CNN this morning.