Democrat says evidence 'more than circumstantial' in Russia probe

"It is very much worthy of an investigation," said Rep. Adam Schiff.

— -- Democrats struck back at the revelation Wednesday that information about Trump campaign officials was incidentally collected during surveillance, with the party's top House Intelligence Committee member alluding to growing evidence of a connection between the president's associates and Russia.

Ranking committee member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was direct in telling MSNBC's "MTP Daily" that the evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia was "more than circumstantial."

"I don't to want go into specifics, but I will say that there is evidence that is not circumstantial and it is very much worthy of investigation," he said. "So that is what we ought to do."

The comments came shortly after Schiff reprimanded Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., at a Capitol Hill press conference, saying he needs to separate his committee duties from any allegiance to President Trump.

"[Nunes] will need to decide whether he is the chairman of an independent investigation into conduct which includes allegations of potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians or he is going to act as a surrogate of the White House, because he cannot do both," said Schiff.

Earlier in the day, Nunes told reporters that details about Americans involved in the presidential transition were among the cache collected by the intelligence community and said that the information had "little or no apparent foreign intelligence value." He later traveled to the White House to brief Trump on the situation.

Nunes was a member of the Trump transition executive committee.

Trump — who first tweeted over two weeks ago that he was wiretapped by order of then-President Barack Obama — said he felt "somewhat" vindicated by the revelation and that he "very much appreciated the fact that they found what they found."

Schiff pushed back against Trump's comments and categorized the day's news as an "effort by the president and the White House to ... create some uncertainty." He told CNN's "The Situation Room" that Nunes should be prepared to "produce" the information he alluded to and that the intelligence previously presented refuted the president's accusations.

"I don't think anything is vindicated here except the president's commitment to now quadruple down on a baseless accusation against his predecessor," said Schiff.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., joined Schiff in criticizing Nunes' actions Wednesday, calling his statements "unprecedented" and "an act of diversion and desperation" and questioning his neutrality. She called for the creation of a select committee to look the collusion allegations.

"The chairman's highly irregular conduct with the White House raises serious questions about his impartiality, especially given his history as part of the Trump transition team," she said in a statement. "Congress must create a comprehensive, independent, bipartisan commission to expose the full truth of the Trump-Russia connection."