Transcript for Rep. Adam Schiff reacts to reported Comey memo
We are joined by the top Democrat on the house intelligence committee, California congressman Adam Schiff. Congressman Schiff, thanks for joining us this morning. Straight to the bottom line, do you believe president trump tried to block the investigation? Well, it certainly sounds as if these reports are accurate that he wanted this investigation of Michael Flynn to stop and he was concerned about the investigation in the sense that it might lead to him based on his own admission in the conversation he claims to have had with director Comey. The bottom line, George, we don't really know what took place here and we need to find out. We need to get those notes, if they exist, that Comey took of this conversation and any other that bear on this Russia investigation in any way and, of course, if the president was making a truthful claim or threat to director Comey that he had tapes we'll need to get those also and I think it's only a matter of time and probably not much time before we see director Comey come and testify before congress again. Are you prepared to subpoena those tapes, subpoena those notes? I think congress will need to subpoena them if indeed they're not provided voluntarily. I certainly support that. I think there are many committees that will. We've seen already Jason Chaffetz on the government reform committee call for that information to be provided and threaten to subpoena it if necessary. Congress needs to get to the bottom of it. I think there are enough credible allegations now of an effort to potentially impede or obstruct the investigation that this needs a very serious investigation just on that issue. Is there anything preventing director Comey from coming to congress right now? Nothing at all. And I'm quite sure that's going to happen. I have to imagine that he will want to explain just what took place if those conversations are as they were reported. The country really needs to know about it. If the president is affirmatively trying to interfere with this investigation, that is something that has to be brought out and investigated by congress and, of course, we have some powerful evidence at least reportedly in the form of con temp andous notes taken by the director of the FBI. Those could be powerful evidence. You've got a series of allegations, the January dinner where reportedly the president asked for a loyalty pledge, that February meeting where the president reportedly said I hope you can let this go and also the firing of director Comey with the president saying Russia was on his mind. What it take for that pattern to be an impeachable offense? I tried an impeachment case a few years ago in the senate involving a federal judge. It's obviously a very serious business even involving a judge. When you talk about the president of the United States, that kind of wrenching experience will only happen in the most serious of circumstances. There are, of course, the legal aspects of the issue. In fact, whether the president had the intent to corruptly interfere with the investigation. But then there's a practical consideration and at the end of the day I think the practical consideration is this, would the country believe that an effort to impeach the president was on the basis of a corrupt act by him or that it was simply an act to nullify an election that people disagreed with? If it's the latter it's never going to be successful. The country would have to have come to the point where they think the president's conduct is so disqualifying that he is rightfully removed from office. I don't think any of us should race to that conclusion. It would be enormously obviously jarring for the country to go through this. What we ought to be doing is methodically getting all the evidence and information to find out just what conversations took place, what did the president intend to do and did he have an improper purpose in trying to stop the investigation altogether, stop the investigation as particular people like Flynn and, in other words, protect himself from the administration of justice? Congressman Schiff, thanks for your time this morning. Thanks, George.
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