DOJ should investigate Trump for possible crimes in election plot, Rep. Schiff says

The member of the House's Jan. 6 committee believes there's "credible evidence."

June 12, 2022, 12:45 PM

The Department of Justice should investigate "any allegation of criminal activity" against former President Donald Trump and his allies raised by the House's Jan. 6 select committee in its public hearings this month, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Sunday on "This Week."

"There are certain actions, parts of these different lines of effort to overturn the [2020] election, that I don't see evidence the Justice Department is investigating," Schiff, a member of the committee and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview with "This Week" co-anchor and ABC Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz.

"Once the evidence is accumulated by the Justice Department, it needs to make a decision about whether it can prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt the president's guilt or anyone else's," he said.

"But they need to be investigated if there's credible evidence, which I think there is."

PHOTO: Rep. Adam Schiff listens as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol holds its first public hearing to reveal the findings of a year-long investigation, on Capitol Hill, June 9, 2022.
Rep. Adam Schiff listens as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol holds its first public hearing to reveal the findings of a year-long investigation, on Capitol Hill, June 9, 2022.
Andrew Harnik/AP

On Thursday the Jan. 6 committee held the first of seven new public hearings to lay out its nearly year-long investigation into what members described as Trump's "attempted coup" -- a multifaceted effort to challenge and overturn the 2020 presidential election results that culminated in the deadly Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, as members of Congress had gathered to certify Trump's defeat.

Trump has long denied wrongdoing and contends the Jan. 6 committee is politically motivated.

"The evidence is very powerful that Donald Trump began telling this 'big lie' before the election ... that lie continued after the election and ultimately led to this mob assembling and attacking the Capitol," Schiff told Raddatz on Sunday. "There's a lot more testimony where that came from."

Schiff said that exploring the connections between Trump's orbit and extremist groups like the Proud Boys has been a "clear focus" of the committee's investigation, but he declined to be more specific about their work.

Raddatz pressed him in the interview: "Let me ask you again: Is there an actual conversation between people in Trump's orbit and Proud Boys, Oath Keepers?"

"I don’t want to predetermine or prejudge the strength of what we’ll show you. ... I don’t want to get into the specifics of the evidence. You’ll just have to wait until we get to that point in our hearings," Schiff said.

PHOTO: Members of the Committee attend the public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol, in Washington, D.C., June 9, 2022.
Members of the Committee attend the public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol, in Washington, D.C., June 9, 2022.
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The committee will also reveal details about alleged efforts from some Republican lawmakers to seek pardons from Trump for their involvement in the push to challenge the election, he said.

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., called Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney's claim that he sought a pardon from Trump a "soulless lie."

"We will show evidence that we have that members of Congress were seeking pardons. To me I think that is the most compelling evidence of a consciousness of guilt," Schiff said. "Why would members to that if they felt that their involvement in this plot to overturn the election was somehow appropriate?"

On Monday, the committee will hold the second in its latest hearings, which they say will focus on evidence that Trump and his aides knew he had lost the election but still continued to push unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud.

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