Rep. Schiff on Roger Stone: 'If there were innocent explanations... why all the lies?'

George Stephanopoulos interviews Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, about the latest developments in the special counsel investigation, including Roger Stone's indictment.
8:19 | 01/27/19

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Transcript for Rep. Schiff on Roger Stone: 'If there were innocent explanations... why all the lies?'
Schiff. Congressman, thank you for joining us this morning. You just heard Roger stone right there. I won't repeat what he said. I guess I'll repeat it. Thin as piss on a rock. That's what he says the indictment is. Your response? Look. He's presumed innocent, but these are very specific allegations of lies and witness intimidation. They are matters that will be easily provable. These are not ambiguous statements. They are very detailed and I think he's going to need a much better defense than the one you just heard, but look. I prosecuted a number of white collar cases when I was assistant U.S. Attorney. White collar defendants always make some variation of the same argument and that is, I have a perfectly innocent explanation for this fact, and as for the other fact, I can come up with one and like wise, but don't look at their totality, but when you look at the totality, what's going on here and if you look at the chronology, we know that the Russians told the trump campaign as early as April of 2016 that they had the stolen e-mails. We know that they offered dirt to the president's son, don junior and he said he would love to have the Russian government help with that, and then we know that some person directed a senior campaign official to reach out to Roger stone to find out what wikileaks had gotten from the Russians and then of course, you have the president publicly calling for the Russians to help with those stolen e-mails and all of this taking place while Donald Trump is pursuing what would probably be the most lucrative deal of his entire life and one that requires Kremlin approval, this Moscow trump tower, and then of course, all of the above lying about all of the above. 100 contacts, but probably a thousand lies and it's that bigger, broader picture. You laid out the broader picture, but as we said so far, Robert Mueller -- he has not charged anyone with directly conspiring with the Russians. Based on everything you have laid out, that charge still isn't there, is it? Well, you know, Bob Mueller has the advantage of a lot of evidence that we don't. We were really circumscribed what we could look at, for example, we wanted to try to compel some of the witness that compel some of the witness that Mr. Stone alluded to to come in and testify. We wanted to test what don junior and others were telling us. We wanted to get phone records. We couldn't do that, but Bob Mueller has been able to do that, and I would expect, George, that if there is a conspiracy to defraud the united States, a collusion indictment, it would be the last indictment that Bob Mueller would seek, not the first. So we'll have to wait to see what evidence he produces, but you certainly have to ask the question over and over again, if there were innocent explanations for all of this, why all the lies? Why all the repeated efforts to get Russian help and of course, you have this symmetry of interest here where Donald Trump wants help from the Russians with his campaign. He wants help from the Russians to build this lucrative Moscow tower and the Russians want help from Donald Trump. They want sanctions relief and all of this is going on at the same time. Your colleague on the committee told CNN she believes that don junior -- Donald Trump Jr. Lied to your committee on at least two occasions. Do you agree? Well, I would like the special counsel to have access to don junior's testimony and determine whether it is evidence of false statements. I think and I greatly appreciate the seriousness with which the special counsel takes lying to congress. So I'll let Bob Mueller be the judge of that, but one of the first acts, if not, the first act of our committee will be to send all of these transcripts of all the witnesses to Bob Mueller so he can consider whether additional perjury charges are warranted. Are you confident Bob Mueller has not yet seen any of those transcripts? No. I believe he has had access to the transcripts, but not for use in a perjury prosecution. That's what we want to make sure, that the special counsel has access to these transcripts and can use them for whatever including perjury or witness intimidation or obstruction of justice. You mentioned conspiracy to defraud the United States would be the last indictment Robert Mueller would issue. There has been some speculation that Roger stone may have been the last indictment for Robert Mueller. He doesn't have enough evidence to charge anybody in trump's orbit with conspiring with Russia. There was a lot of lying, but no direct conspiracy. What is the appropriate next step? Should he just tell the attorney general no more criminal -- we have concluded there is nothing else we can prosecute. That's it? End of story? Or does the public need to know more? It's clear that Mueller's work is not yet done and we can see clues of that in the grand jury activity, in the fact that with the supreme court case of this mystery estate owned firm reaching resolution that there are additional documents that Bob Mueller wants to get. There is more work he has to do, but when he is finished, finished returning or seeking indictments, then he makes -- I hope an extensive report to the attorney general, and that report is going to have to be made public and I think there is significant agreement among Democrats and Republicans, even if there is among nominee for attorney general that that is too big to be buried and we're going to use every device and compulsion we can to make sure that it's made public. I have to tell you, George, over the last two years as the justice department has been providing thousands and thousands of documents, tens of thousands of documents in the Clinton e-mail investigation to the congress, acting on a subpoena or many subpoenas, I have made it clear to them that they are not going to be in a position once the Mueller investigation is concluded to say, no, congress, we're not going to share with you any of the evidence that's produced. Let me press you on that point though, because when James Comey came forward after declining to prosecute Hillary Clinton, Democrats and others were quite critical of him for having that press conference for laying out his reasoning in public. Why shouldn't that same standard apply to Robert Mueller? You know, this is the point that I was raising in the justice department which is when the justice department started sending FBI interview reports or 302s and then started to send text messages and other documents to the congress by the thousands, that was in contradiction of the department of justice policy, and I warned them as they were doing it that they were violating their own policy, but they were setting a precedent they were going to have to live by. It simply wouldn't be acceptable for the country they would provide discovery in one investigation, but not the other. That's the position they put themselves in. At the end of the day, the most important discovery is that report, but given that it's not guaranteed and that it may be that they fight the release of that, we have to continue our own investigations in congress because one way or another, we are determined the public is going to know exactly what Donald Trump did, what his family did, what his campaign did, what the Russians did and what we need to do to protect the country. Final question. The president is insisting after this three-week period the government is reopened, he is going to demand the wall again and perhaps declare an emergency if the government doesn't provide it. Are you ready to support any wall funding as a compromise? I don't support any wall funding. I do support border security, and the important thing to remember here is Democrats and Republicans -- we have multiple times agreed on support that would send out the funding for border security. We sent multiple bills, you know, through each chamber with bipartisan support. The only thing that got in the way was the president was frightened off by Ann Coulter and rush Limbaugh and while well we will negotiate amongst each other, we're not ready to negotiate with these conservative pundits and that has been the problem. I'm confident and hopeful we won't see shutdowns again and I think one of our top priorities is passing a bill to make that kind of shutdown impossible in the future. Adam Schiff, thank you for your time this morning. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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