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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) said Tuesday that the alleged Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election was about far more than favoring one candidate over another. He said it was an effort to undermine the foundation of American democracy in order to prop up an authoritarian regime in Moscow.

“Now if you look at this as just a one-off intervention, you might be inclined to dismiss the greater significance of it, or if you listen to the president, you might be inclined to dismiss this as simply efforts to relitigate a lost election,” Schiff told several hundred people at UC Irvine. “But the significance is really far greater. Quite separate and apart from the desire of the Russians to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton was a more fundamental objective, and that was really to tear down at our democracy.”

Schiff is the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating allegations of Russian intervention in the presidential election, including the leaking of hacked Democratic emails and contacts between Trump associates and Russians.

Trump has declared the investigation the “single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history” on Twitter.  Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare), the former chairman of the committee, recently told hundreds of Republicans at a fundraiser that the investigation is about nothing more than Democrats trying to justify Clinton’s loss. Nunes stepped down from his position after allegations arose that he mishandled classified information.

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