WASHINGTON – A Senate investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election has revealed a possible case of obstruction of justice against President Donald Trump, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said on Sunday in "Meet The Press" .
"The [Senate] Judicial Committee has an investigation also involving the obstruction of justice and I think what we are beginning to see is the elaboration of a case of obstruction of justice," Feinstein, the top of the panel Democrat, he said.
"I think we see this in the accusations, the four accusations and the pleas that have just taken place and some of the comments that are being made," Feinstein added, referring to accusations by former Trump campaign president. Paul Manafort and his badociate Rick Gates, who face charges including conspiracy and money laundering that were discovered during the investigation of special lawyer Bob Mueller on possible links between Trump and Russia. Also accused in connection with Mueller's investigation was former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
"I see it in the hyper-frantic attitude of the White House, the comments every day, the continuous tweets, and I see it more important in what happened with the dismissal of the Director [James] Comey, and it is my belief that that is directly because he did not accept "lifting the cloud" from the Russian investigation, that is obstruction of justice, "said Feinstein.
Trump fired former FBI director James Comey earlier this year in the middle of the bureau's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is conducting only one of a series of Congressional investigations that affect the consequences of alleged Russian electoral interference, including active investigations in both the Senate and the House Intelligence Committees. The scope of the Committee has focused on the supervision of the Department of Justice and the FBI.
Feinstein, who is also a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which does not believe that Flynn acted as a "dishonest agent" in his conversations with the Russians during the transition, a communication that was the subject of the guilty plea. Flynn in federal court on Friday for making false statements to the FBI.
Court documents showed that two transitional officials urged Flynn to contact the Russians, and sources told NBC News that these officials are Trump's son-in-law and principal advisor, Jared Kushner, and K.T. McFarland, who later served as deputy national security adviser at the White House.
Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, who is also a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in an interview on Sunday that it is not yet clear if there was any form of collusion between Russians and people in Trump's orbit.
The talks between Flynn and Russian Ambbadador Sergey Kislyak during the transition "should not have taken place," said Collins, since there was only one president at the time, President Obama. "But that does not confirm the collusion."
Collins added that he would still like to hear from Flynn because he believes that "he could contribute a lot to our research," but Flynn has rejected his invitations, citing the Fifth Amendment. Collins said his committee does not have access to transcripts of interviews in Mueller's research.
The New York Times also reported this week that Trump lobbied major Republicans, including the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to finalize their investigations on Russia. Collins said Sunday that the president never contacted her specifically, but criticized any interference by the president in the ongoing investigations.
"Even if it's inexperience, that does not make it right, the president should not comment on anything in any of these investigations," he said. "All you should do is instruct all your staff and badociates to cooperate fully."
Feinstein also noted on Sunday that his concern for the White House "increases with the day."
She asked specifically if her concern about President Trump's ability to do the work increases day by day, she replied, "oh yes", adding that there came a time a month ago when she felt that enough is enough.
But Feinstein did not go so far as to say that there is still a need to eliminate Trump from the office.
"I think it's time for us to finish our investigation and I do not want to skew any part of the research with premature thinking," he said. "I think that's very important."