Top Dem warns Republicans may have already ended House Russia probe — and will go after Mueller next
Rep. Adam Schiff (MSNBC)

The House Intelligence Committee's ranking Democrat fears his Republican colleagues are planning to wrap up the Trump-Russia probe after Christmas -- and prevent special counsel Robert Mueller from finishing his investigation.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has accused the panel's GOP leadership of dragging their feet, refusing to issue subpoenas and trying to discredit the investigation of Russian campaign interference.

"I’m increasingly worried Republicans will shut down the House Intelligence Committee investigation at the end of the month," Schiff tweeted Friday afternoon.

The California Democrat said lawmakers have made important progress since March toward understanding and exposing Russian election meddling.

"Yet, Republicans have scheduled no witnesses after next Friday and none in 2017 (sic)," Schiff said. "We have dozens of outstanding witnesses on key aspects of our investigation that they refuse to contact and many document requests they continue to sit on."

He blasted Republican colleagues for allowing Donald Trump Jr. to claim "nonexistent" attorney-client privileges to shield conversations with his father, and for refusing to enforce or issue subpoenas for critical information.

"It appears Republicans want to conduct just enough interviews to give the impression of a serious investigation," he added.

He said GOP lawmakers had scheduled out-of-state interviews of critical witnesses next week, when Congress will vote on the tax bill -- but no representatives will be able to attend those sessions.

Schiff said that didn't make sense, because all the witnesses were willing to come to Washington, D.C., for their interviews -- and he called on House Speaker Paul Ryan to ensure the investigation continues.

"The responsibility to conduct a thorough investigation, or to prevent one, ultimately falls on @SpeakerRyan," Schiff tweeted. "I’m concerned he's heeding the calls of (Steve) Bannon and @POTUS to 'DO SOMETHING' by closing down the Russia investigation & opening up another investigation of Hilary Clinton."

The panel's ranking Democrat is even more concerned by other recent developments.

"Beyond our investigation, here’s what has me really concerned: The attacks on Mueller, DOJ and FBI this week make it clear they plan to go after Mueller’s investigation -- aggressively and soon," Schiff said.

"By shutting down the congressional investigations when they continue to discover new and important evidence, the White House can exert tremendous pressure to end or curtail Mueller’s investigation or cast doubt on it," he added. "We cannot let that happen."