U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland, the House GOP leader of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, responded to criticism leveled his way last week by way of his Democratic counterpart, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff of California.
Schiff charged late last week on Twitter and on television that Republicans — and implicitly, Conaway — are attempting to shut down the investigation at the end of this year.
"Who said it was our last week?" Conaway said to reporters at the U.S. Capitol. "You need to talk to him ... Remember what the rules are: I don't tell you what I'm going to do."
The main issue is whether the committee will continue to interview witnesses after Congress leaves for the Christmas holiday. Conaway said there were more witnesses to be interviewed and those interviews would not take place over the coming holidays: "You can infer what you need to. But I've got more people to talk to."
When asked if he was trying to kill the investigation on Monday, Conaway told reporters: "No. We're trying to get it done."
Conaway is one of the most approachable members of the delegation for reporters on the Capitol Hill beat. But since he took over the House intelligence investigation, he has been conversely tight-lipped on the investigation and has tried his best to hurry past reporters while entering and exiting the secure facility where the House Intelligence Committee meets.
Like Conaway, many members of Congress treat the sensitive nature of intelligence differently than other issues.
Schiff mostly avoided naming Conaway directly, but his criticism was no less a sharp contrast to earlier this year. Back in May, Schiff's office released a statement to the Tribune with effusive praise for the appointment of Conaway as new head of the politically charged investigation, as did a number of other Democrats on the committee.