Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), whose responsibilities include serving as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a member of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, is pushing for more urgency from the Justice Department in their work to hold former President Donald Trump accountable. Schiff said, in part, that he “think[s] the Justice Department should be doing a lot more than what I can see” regarding Trump’s conduct, which included a raft of attempts to undercut the 2020 presidential election results. Trump attempted to usurp the powers of the federal government to support these efforts.
In a conversation published by Salon, Schiff commented as follows:
‘I do think the Justice Department should be doing a lot more than what I can see — which is, with respect to some things, nothing at all. What I would point to most specifically is Donald Trump on the phone with the secretary of state of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, essentially trying to browbeat him into finding 11,780 votes that don’t exist. I think if you or I were on that call, or any of my constituents, they would have been indicted by now. I understand the reluctance on the part of the attorney general to look backward, but you can’t have a situation where a president cannot be prosecuted and when they leave office they still can’t be prosecuted — that they’re too big to jail, somehow.’
Schiff also noted that Attorney General Merrick Garland — or any other Attorney General — could “[make] the decision after investigating that, for what he thinks is the country’s best interests, it makes sense not to go forward with a particular charge. But I don’t think you can ignore the activity and pretend it didn’t happen.” Trump is under investigation for those efforts to subvert the election outcome in Georgia, where Biden won — but the investigation wasn’t launched at the federal level. Instead, Atlanta-area District Attorney Fani Willis was leading the probe, which was recently reported to have progressed to the point of interviews with key figures connected to the events.
Potential criminal charges for Trump could vary, with one observer — law Professor Albert Alschuler — recently suggesting a prosecution over his failure for hours to intervene in any meaningful way to stop the violence at the Capitol. As Alschuler put it, “By violating his legal duty to do what he could to end the unlawful occupation of the Capitol, Trump became an accomplice to that crime.”