Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation seems to be nearing its conclusion, and although it’s been wide-ranging, it could leave some stones unturned. This weekend on Meet the Press, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) explained he feels President Donald Trump should face a subpoena for in-person testimony before a grand jury, which Mueller’s team had apparently floated at one point but they’ve not followed through with.
Calling a decision not to subpoena the president a “mistake,” Schiff told host Chuck Todd:
‘When you get written answers from a witness, it’s really the lawyers’ answers as much as the client’s answer. And here you need to be able to ask follow-up questions in real time… Probably the best way to get to the truth would be to put the president under oath, because as he’s made plain in the past, he feels it perfectly fine to lie to the public. After all, he has said, “It’s not like I’m talking before a magistrate.” Well, maybe he should talk before a magistrate.’
After months on end of negotiations between the president’s and special counsel’s teams over possible testimony from Trump, he submitted written answers to questions about possible collusion late last year.
Trump, who’s been documented to have lied thousands and thousands of times and counting since taking office, couldn’t testify in person because he was a “fucking liar,” his former attorney John Dowd allegedly concluded — although he disputed the reporting.
Schiff cited a few reasons why he felt Mueller might have shied away from hitting the president with a subpoena, at least so far. The high-profile Congressman cited the tenures of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and newly confirmed Attorney General William Barr, both of whom have previously expressed explicit, at times vehement opposition to Mueller’s investigation. Whitaker called the special counsel’s team a “lynch mob,” while Barr has lambasted the suggestion that Mueller could nab Trump for obstruction of justice, despite his repeated explicit and direct attempts to derail the Russia investigation.
Schiff also noted possible “time pressure” on the special counsel’s office, although he has shown no qualms about extending his investigation beyond suggested end dates before. The Trump team has repeatedly touted points when the probe would likely conclude by, including the ends of both 2017 and 2018. It’s still going.
This present instance is not the first time during that period in which Schiff has questioned Mueller’s methods. Last month also on Meet the Press, the intel chair suggested that if rumors were accurate that Mueller’s team had not subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for Trump family financial records after all, then they hadn’t gone far enough in investigating potential money laundering.
Each of these issues represent areas where the still relatively new Democratic majority in the House could pick up some slack, although it’s unknown whether they’d go so far as to themselves subpoena the president. Prominent chairmen including Schiff, the Judiciary Committee’s Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and the Oversight Committee’s Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) have all announced wide-ranging investigations into various aspects of the Trump team including everything from possible corrupt foreign financial ties to possible obstruction of justice.
Featured Image via screenshot from the video