During an appearance on The Sunday Show on MSNBC over the weekend, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) — a member of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot — put former President Donald Trump and certain allies of his on direct notice over their responses to investigative efforts. On Tuesday, the riot investigation committee will be formally adopting a recommendation to hold former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress over his refusal to comply with a subpoena, and Schiff made clear that there could be more contempt proceedings — and that Trump himself could be called for testimony.
Discussing the issue, Schiff commented as follows:
‘We’re not messing around here. We’re moving very expeditiously. To me, this is an early sign of whether our democracy is recovering. Whether it’s true that no one is above the law, that the rule of law must apply. So we intend to go after anyone who doesn’t provide information that they’re lawfully compelled to, to our committee.’
So far, Bannon is the only witness who is publicly known to have outright rejected the prospect of cooperating with the riot investigation committee, but Schiff explained that if other witnesses are perceived to be operating in bad faith, then more contempt proceedings could be launched. As he pointedly explained it, discussing those other subpoenaed witnesses:
‘If we get the sense while we’re engaging with their counsel that they’re not serious, that they’re trying to delay, then we will move forward as we did with Jeffrey Clark, a senior Justice Department official. We had been engaging with his counsel, trying to secure his voluntary testimony — it wasn’t getting us anywhere. So, he was served with a subpoena. And, that’s going to be our approach. We try to get voluntary testimony with those that we expect to be hostile; sometimes, we go straight to a subpoena.’
Schiff added that charges against Bannon for contempt of Congress would “send a powerful message to other witnesses” that they should cooperate with the committee, lest they face criminal consequences. Subsequently, after host Jonathan Capehart directly asked about the likelihood of the committee seeking Trump’s testimony, Schiff said that he doesn’t “know the answer to that,” but he added that “no one is off the table.” In other words, hauling Trump in for testimony is a definite possibility. Should Trump be called to testify, then it seems likely that he’d try to fight it — meaning that Schiff’s insistence upon the possibility of further contempt proceedings would include a potential for Trump to be a target of such moves. Check out Schiff’s comments below:
"To me, this is an early sign of whether our democracy is recovering. Whether it's true that no one is above the law, that the rule of law must apply,” @RepAdamSchiff says of House plans to vote on holding Steve Bannon in criminal contempt. #SundayShow pic.twitter.com/ThK5gl2cuQ
— The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart (@TheSundayShow) October 17, 2021