Adam Schiff Goes After Trump For Criminal Witness Tampering


During a new appearance on MSNBC, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) — a member of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot — laid out how recent comments by former President Donald Trump about potentially pardoning Capitol rioters if he wins the presidency again point to a disturbing level of complicity on the former president’s part in the Capitol violence. Schiff has previously stated that questions driving the committee’s investigation include: “How much expectation of violence was there? How much was that part of the plan, either spontaneously or in terms of any predisposition towards violence that day?” — and on MSNBC, Schiff pointed out that the pardon comments suggest that violence was “part of the plan” or “condoned” by Trump.

In theory, these sorts of conclusions could leave the former president on the hook for potential criminal prosecution. The riot investigation committee has already been reported to be considering recommending Trump and others for prosecution by the Justice Department for offenses including criminal conspiracy; Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chair of the riot panel, has also raised the specter of Trump potentially being guilty of obstruction of Congress, either through direct action or inaction. Trump has been revealed to have been watching television coverage of the riot as it unfolded, boosting the case that he was essentially directly complicit. As Schiff pointedly explained things:

‘I think [Trump’s] recent statements, as well as the public reports of prior inquiries about pardoning people involved in attacking the Capitol police that day, they go to a couple of things. They go to his intent. If this violence against the Capitol wasn’t part of the plan, or wasn’t something he condoned, then why would he consider pardoning them? So, I think it’s very important evidence as to his intent. But it also is, I think, part of that broader pattern to influence potentially what witnesses have to say, or whether they will say it.’

Capitol rioters could also be witnesses in the event that they take a plea deal and agree to provide information to prosecutors — and Trump’s pardon comments could provide an incentive to certain rioters to hold out for another Trump presidency. While on MSNBC, Schiff also reiterated that the riot investigation committee is prepared to issue further criminal referrals if investigators conclude that such moves would be warranted. These referrals would constitute recommendations to the Justice Department for the prosecution of certain individuals over believed offenses, although the moves by Congressional investigators would not be binding on prosecutors. Instead, it would be up to those prosecutors whether to actually bring charges. Schiff also said, as he has before, that he believes that federal investigators at the Justice Department should already be looking into related issues on their own. It’s worth noting that Schiff is a former federal prosecutor, so he has relevant experience. Check out Schiff’s remarks below:

Trump said at a recent rally in Texas that “another thing we’ll do — and so many people have been asking me about it — if I run and if I win, we will treat those people from January 6 fairly. We will treat them fairly… And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons. Because they are being treated so unfairly.” He reiterated his point in a Newsmax interview soon afterwards, ranting that “some of these people are not guilty, many of these people are not guilty” — although many of the crimes were directly captured on camera. Trump added that “what they’ve done to these [people] — and in many cases patriots, they’re soldiers, they’re policemen — what they’ve done to them compared to what they’ve done to the other side? You know you have to have equal justice, and this isn’t equal.” He sounds fine with essentially sweeping the crimes of January 6 aside to score political points.