Top House Democrat: Special Counsel Mueller is 'the right man for the job'

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is interviewed on "This Week."
8:31 | 06/18/17

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Transcript for Top House Democrat: Special Counsel Mueller is 'the right man for the job'
Congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the house intelligence committee joins me now. Good morning, congressman Schiff. Good morning. You heard speaker Gingrich say he doesn't trust Bob Mueller. But Bob Mueller is close to Comey. Does he have a point? No, he doesn't. I found it hard to follow his argument, frankly. This is someone, as you pointed out, newt Gingrich was extolling, just a few weeks ago, nothing has changed. Bob Mueller's investigation is just getting started. The president is attack Bob Mueller. And therefore, newt Gingrich is attacking Bob Mueller. Members of congress on both sides of the aisle find Mr. Mueller to be someone of bravery who served his country in Vietnam. Let's talk about the Democrats he was talking about. Congressman. Is that a point? If he's got Democrats in there, if he's got people who have given to Clinton and other Democrats? No, I think anyone who knows Bob Mueller knows he is chizing the best people to serve on the team. People with experience in the issues he wants to investigate and believes need to be investigated. He can't go through F.E.C. Filings to determine if he should or shouldn't fire people. He's picking the best people. Members of congress have confidence this that. What's happening here, the president wants to take down Bob Mueller. His lawyer wants to take down Bob Mueller. The question is, why? They want to lay the foundation to discredit whatever Bob Mueller comes up with. They're laying down a scorched Earth policy. They're trying to discredit the prosecutor. I don't think we should acquiesce in the besmirchment of this good man. What evidence is there? I think there is evidence. I can't go into the particulars of our closed investigation. I think there is also evidence of obstruction. In both cases, whether there is some, evidence doesn't mean there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The same people that say there is no evidence of collusion say there is no evidence of obstruction. And that the president can't commit obstruction. I don't buy that. If you look at James Comey's testimony and we were trying this in a court of law, no judge would exclude that. The fact that the president can fire someone for good cause or can fire someone with no cause doesn't mean that he can fire someone for malicious cause. An employer can terminate an employee at will. That doesn't mean he can fire an employee because they rejected his sexual advances. The speaker says Dianne Feinstein says there is no evidence of collusion. Collusion between who? The Russians and the hacking and the dumps of documents in the election had essentially relationships with trump campaign people. And, coordinated those efforts. Now the FBI open investigation into that issue in July. Well before congress did. I think they did that for good reason in July. I think they maintain that investigation. It's ongoing for good reason as well. I'm not prepared to say there is proof you could take to jury. I can say there's enough that we ought to be investigating. It would be negligent for us not to investigate. If a foreign government has something they can hang over the head of our president or our administration that can influence the policy, it's very much in our national security interest to know it. And we need to covduct this investigation now. Newt Gingrich and the president would like us to shut it down before it's under way. We're far closer to beginning the investigation than the end. But it would be the worst form of negligence to our Republican to say we're going to close if investigation before we can determine whether there is merit to the allegations. ABC news has recorded deputy attorney general Rosen stooip has started discussing whether to recuse himself. Do you think he should recuse himself given his role in Ju justifying James Comey's firing? I think we ought to let Bob Mueller determine what he needs to investigate. If he believes he needs to look into the circumstances in which rod Rosenstein wrote the memo. If he knew it was a pretext to fire Comey. That the president was going to fire Comey to inhibit or instruct the Russia investigation. I'm not saying this is the case. I can't say what Mueller may or may not be investigating. If he should conclude that rod rosenste Rosenstein's conduct is questionable, he can't report to him. And you have asked for tapes. If tapes exist from the white house, we should know soon. President trump said we'll know soon whether taps exist. Do you think they'll turn anything over? If not, what happens? I don't know. I would certainly hope by the date that we set in our bipartisan letter the white house will respond that yes, they have tapes. Yes, they'll preserve them as we have urged and required. And yes, they'll turn them over or that no, in fact, there are no tapes. It was an idle threat. One way or the other, we need an answer. If we can't get one, I think we'll need to subpoena those potential documents to make sure that we have them. And you have said you believe James Comey's testimony, if accurate, was potential evidence of the president's obstruction of the investigation. Absent those tapes. How is that verified? There are a number of ways to verify it. The president urged everybody else to leave the room. You don't do that unless you have a consciousness of the guilt of your actions. But we can talk to the people around James Comey. Those that were in the FBI sip visery team, some were in the room when James Comey was on the phone with the president and heard one end of the conversation. We can look at the memoranda. The contemporaneous recollecti recollections of James Comey at the times of those meetings. We can find out, did the president or the white house intervene and ask them similarly to drop the Flynn case. Or to weigh in with Comey to drop the Flynn case? Or help lift the cloud or make public statements. We have had some corroboration in the testimony of Jeff sessions who also said that -- Quickly, if I could. Paul Ryan says president trump is new to this and just doesn't understand the protocol. Is that an explanation? No, it isn't. We don't hbve one et cat standard for this president and other ethical standards for others. The president cleared the room of everyone but himself and James Comey. I think this president knows all too well it was inappropriate to ask the attorney general to essentially drop a criminal case against Michael Flynn, his national security adviser. I think there is ample indication that the president knew what he was doing. I think it is a dodge by our speaker to suggest that we hold this president or any president to a lesser ethical standard. There is only one standard for the president of the united States. Thank you, conkman Schiff. Thank you. When we come back, I travel to trump country and see how

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