Schiff says Russia is absolutely 'complicit' in Syrian chemical attack

Russia agreed in 2013 to ensure that Syria got rid of its chemical weapons.

— -- The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Russia is absolutely "complicit" in the chemical attack in Syria that killed at least 86 civilians, including many children.

Schiff added that Russia is "better positioned to know, in the sense that they have people on the ground in close proximity working in close concert with the regime. I think absolutely they know what the Syrians are doing."

The U.S. blames Syria's government for the deadly chemical attack on a rebel-held province last week. The Assad government has denied responsibility, and Russia has said that the release of toxic agents happened when a Syrian airstrike hit a rebel chemical-weapons arsenal and munitions factory.

Tillerson said he has "not seen any hard evidence" that Russians were involved in planning or carrying out the attack.

But the secretary of state said when he meets with the Russian foreign minister this week, he will bring up Russia's obligation under a 2013 agreement to ensure the Syrian government got rid of its chemical weapons.

"It agreed to be the guarantor of the elimination of the chemical weapons, and why Russia has not been able to achieve that is unclear to me," Tillerson said. "Clearly they've been incompetent and perhaps they've just simply been out-maneuvered by the Syrians."

Rep. Schiff told Stephanopoulos, "I think there's a strong moral case ... to make for what the president did" in response to the chemical attack.

"But I don’t think, George, it should have been done without congressional approval," the lawmaker added.

"Do you think Congress could even come close to agreeing on a use of force resolution at this point?" Stephanopoulos asked, referring to the sharp partisan divide.

Such a resolution "forces accountability," Schiff said.