Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Schiff: Trump 'Should Be Indicted' When He Leaves Office

Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) declared President Donald Trump “should be indicted” when he leaves office.

Partial transcript as follows:

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you- because you this week will have a chance to ask questions of Robert Mueller, the special counsel, when he appears and answers questions about that 400 page report he turned in. He’s already said he’s not going to go beyond those 400-something pages. What is the purpose? What do you actually think you’re going to learn?

SCHIFF: Well, since most Americans, you know, in their busy lives haven’t had the opportunity to read that report- and it’s a pretty dry, prosecutorial work product- we want Bob Mueller to bring it to life, to talk about what’s in that report. It’s a pretty damning set of facts that involve a presidential campaign in a close race welcoming help from a hostile foreign power, not reporting it but eagerly embracing it, building it into their campaign strategy, lying about it to cover up, then obstructing an investigation into foreign interference again to try to cover up. That’s a pretty damning set of facts that most American people are not familiar with and, of course, the president keeps on trying to deceive them about those facts. But who better to bring them to life than the man who did the investigation himself? We want the people to hear it directly from him, not filtered through Bill Barr, who had his own misleading characterization of it, but from the man who did the work himself.

BRENNAN: Last year on this program, you said there was a very real prospect that on the day President Trump leaves office, that he would be indicted. The Justice Department, you said, would do that. This week the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York concluded its investigation into campaign finance and there were no charges there related to him. Does this prove your predictions wrong that this case is closed?

SCHIFF: No, not at all. I mean, it’s been clear, you know, from Bob Mueller that he felt and the Justice Department feels bound by this Office of Legal Counsel opinion that you can’t indict a sitting president. But he is a- essentially unindicted co-conspirator. He’s been identified as an Individual One, as the person who directed Michael Cohen to commit this fraudulent campaign scheme. And I assume that all this means, in terms of the Southern District of New York, is that the case will be reopened when he leaves office, providing the statute of limitations has not run, and the Justice Department will have to weigh whether to indict the former president. From my point of view, if the evidence supports that, he should be indicted. And it’s certainly the view of the Justice Department’s reflected in that indictment that Donald Trump was the one who coordinated and directed that illegal scheme. And why should Michael Cohen to go to jail, but the guy who did the direction and the coordination himself evade justice? He is not above the law. He may have a temporary reprieve while he occupies that office. But I think the Justice Department will have to seriously consider reopening the case if that’s what it requires and indicting him when he leaves office.

BRENNAN: You alleged this week that the Attorney General, Bill Barr, intervened to stop this investigation or may have done that. Do you have any evidence to support that?

SCHIFF: Well I haven’t alleged that he did that. What I have said is that Congress ought to find out and make sure there was no intervention by Bill Barr or Main Justice to bring about essentially a political closure of that case. Now, I don’t know that that’s the case but one of the concerns that I’ve had is when Bill Barr testified in the Senate, that he believes that the president could have made the Mueller investigation go away anytime he wanted if he thought it was unfair. It’s logical to conclude he also feels the president can make any of these other cases go away if he deems them unfair–

BRENNAN: Ok.

SCHIFF: –and- and that is not our understanding, or anyone else’s, of the law. The president is not above the law and we’re going to do our oversight to make sure that none of these cases are made to go away to protect the president.

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