House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff said special counsel Robert Mueller is the real figure who is "draining the swamp," and that President Trump is "terrified" of what his former campaign chairman may be telling prosecutors.

Schiff (D-Calif.) said ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort is "at the confluence of a number of pernicious interests [including] the president's son (Don Jr.) trying to get dirt [on Hillary Clinton] from Russians at Trump Tower." He added that Manafort also has close ties to "a Russian oligarch" -- likely referencing Oleg Deripaska, who hoped to influence U.S. politics according to Fox News reporting.

NBC's "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd asked Schiff if Trump hired Manafort "without vetting him," in a haste to prevent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) from "stealing the nomination" at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Schiff, 58, said that Manafort is "basically the swamp" that Trump talks about "draining," and that his conviction and guilty plea send a message to "anyone who's in Bob Mueller's crosshairs that they better make a deal now."


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Asked by Todd about remarks by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani that Manafort is "not disqualified" from a pardon, Schiff said that "clearly, the Trump team is terrified of what Manafort has to say."

Schiff said that after watching ex-Trump confidant Michael Cohen's legal troubles ensue, people should consider that "trust and loyalty with Trump run in one direction -- only you're loyal to him, he's not loyal to you."

He said that if Democrats take back the House this year, they must work to clean up Washington. Todd asked why Democrats did not do so when they last had power in 2006.

Schiff reiterated that they plan to do so in 2019, and that right now, "the only one draining the swamp is Bob Mueller."

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