Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Adam Schiff (D-CA), appeared on State of the Union Sunday and took on Donald Trump’s claim that past presidents can think or otherwise declassify materials. As a member of the House January 6 Select Committee, Schiff pointed out that the ex-president was a “continuing danger.”
Schiff said that the president’s cavalier attitude risked people’s lives:
‘No, people work hard to get that information. People put their lives at risk to get that information. That information protects American lives. And for him to treat it so cavalierly shows both what a continuing danger the man is, but also how very little regard he has for anything but himself.’
Last week, Trump appeared on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News. He argued that he had the right to declassify materials even by “thinking:”
‘[It] doesn’t have to be a process [and] if you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it’s declassified, even by thinking about it.’
As a member of the January 6 Committee, Schiff spoke for all of its members:
‘I think it’ll be potentially more sweeping than some of the other hearings, but it too will be in a very thematic – it will tell the story about a key element of Donald Trump’s plot to overturn the election.’
The FBI was forced to obtain a warrant to search Mar-a-Lago for materials Trump had stolen from the White House and discovered over 100 classified documents, some even regarding the nuclear codes, strewn about the resort. Trump was irate.
The former POTUS gave a number of excuses for how the sensitive files ended up at his summer home. And he’s argued that the documents had been declassified. But Schiff said the former president was “even more dangerous than we may have thought:”
‘That’s not how it works. Those comments don’t demonstrate much intelligence of any kind. If you could simply declassify by thinking about it, then frankly, if that’s his view, he’s even more dangerous than we may have thought.’
Then, the Democratic Senate leader added how odd it was the last occupant of the White House believed he could simply think items declassified:
‘He could simply spout off on anything he read in a presidential daily brief or anything that he was briefed on by the CIA director to a visiting Russian delegation or any other delegation and simply say, “Well, I thought about it and therefore, when the words came out of my mouth, they were declassified.”‘
Interestingly enough, the issue was not whether the files were classified but rather the point that 45 stole them in the first place. Some documents were kept in a loosely secured basement storage room while others were in the desk of his private office. Others were even in his bedroom closet.
The House January 6 Committee has been investigating Trump’s failed attempt to overthrow the American democracy. And in this capacity, its members have been looking into the ex-president’s involvement.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has also been running a parallel investigation into the January 6 insurrection. The Select Committee has been critical of the DOJ’s investigation, and Sunday Schiff said that Attorney General (AG) Merrick Garland’s investigation was “very slow.” Indeed, the California representative said that there were still “areas the Justice Department hasn’t fully investigated.”
Until now, the Select Committee had been divided about whether to refer Trump to the DOJ for a criminal act. But the Intelligence Committee chair announced that the January 6 Committee is at this time thinking about referring Trump to the DOJ for breaking “several laws:”
‘I do agree… there have been several laws broke and it is, I think, apparent that there is evidence that Donald Trump was involved in breaking several of those laws.’
Jake Tapper asked Schiff about the January 6 Committee receiving 800,000 pages from AG Garland regarding the Secret Service’s part in the insurrection:
‘We are still going through them because they are very voluminous. I will say they’re not a substitute for having the text messages that were apparently erased from those devices, and we are still investigating how that came about and why that came about. And I hope and believe the Justice Department on that issue is also looking at whether laws were broken and the destruction of that evidence. But we do have a mountain of information that we need to go through.’
The Select Committee will hold a televised hearing on Wednesday, according to Reuters. Committee Chair Bennie Thompson it would probably be the last one after the eight summer hearings. The key word being “probably.”
In Gloria Christie Reports & Three White Lions Substack newsletters. Christie is a political journalist for the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Gloria Christie Report her newsletters are for people on the go. Written in her own unique style with a twist of humor in a briefer version of Bipartisan Report. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery (in progress). Find her here on Facebook. Or at Three White Lions her book on Amazon Kindle Vella.