Posted 42 days ago
In unusually pointed comments about a member of President Biden’s Cabinet, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says he “vehemently” disagrees with Attorney General Merrick Garland’s failure so far to aggressively investigate former President Donald Trump for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and other matters.
Appearing Tuesday on the Yahoo News “Skullduggery” podcast, the California Democrat was asked about the Garland Justice Department’s reluctance to launch investigations of the former president based on the 2018 report by former special counsel Robert Mueller that spelled out Trump’s efforts to obstruct the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In a new book, “Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could,” Schiff writes that he viewed Mueller’s report as providing “a factual basis to charge the president with multiple crimes of obstruction.”
“I think there's a real desire on the part of the attorney general, for the most part, not to look backward,” Schiff said in response. “Do I disagree with that? I do disagree with that, and I disagree with it most vehemently when it comes to what I consider even more serious offenses. For example, a taped conversation of Donald J. Trump on the phone with Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state from Georgia, trying to coerce him into fraudulently finding 11,780 votes.
“Because I think if you or I did that, we'd be under indictment by now,” Schiff added. “In my view, you don't ignore the crimes that have been committed by a president of the United States. They need to be investigated. You may reach the judgment once you've investigated something that the public interest in not prosecuting a former president outweighs the interests of justice. But I don't think you could ignore the crimes.”
Schiff’s comments came as the Jan. 6 select committee, of which he is a member, is prepared to vote Tuesday night to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena for testimony and documents relating to his conversations with Trump, as well as his advisers and lawyers, about their efforts to block Congress’s certification of the Electoral College results that Joe Biden won last November’s election. Bannon’s lawyer has said his client was responding to a request from the former president to refuse cooperation on the grounds that any advice Bannon gave was confidential and covered by executive privilege.
But Schiff said Bannon’s claims were without merit and that once the committee votes to hold Bannon in contempt, he expects the full House to vote to refer the matter to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.
“The speaker will... (Read more)