Adam Schiff Hints At Trump Criminal Referral During ‘ABC Sunday’


During an appearance Sunday morning on ABC’s This Week with host Jonathan Karl, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) discussed the possibility of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot issuing a criminal referral that implicates Trump, tentatively supporting the possibility.

He also raised concerns about Trump’s abject refusal to comply with a panel subpoena, although he wasn’t as conclusive on that front — for now, at least. Schiff is among the members of a newly announced subcommittee on the riot panel examining lingering legal questions like whether to issue further criminal referrals. A referral wouldn’t force the Justice Department to charge anyone. Rather, it’s more like a formal recommendation for charges. So far, the committee has only issued referrals in response to individuals obstructing the panel’s inquiry. None so far have covered the underlying actions under investigation, meaning the post-2020 election scheme to undo the race’s outcome.

“We’re in the midst of reaching a conclusion on that right now,” Schiff said when asked about possible referrals. “I can say that I think Judge Carter in California who analyzed just one small piece of this concluded that the former president and others were engaged, or there was evidence they were engaged in a criminal conspiracy, evidence they were engaged in an effort to stop an official proceeding… I think the evidence is there to make a referral.”

Asked specifically about the possibility of holding Trump in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the riot panel, Schiff added: “We’re discussing that. We have very limited options, and even where we have held people in contempt, we’re only batting 50 percent with the Justice Department in their willingness to enforce it. But once again, Donald Trump took the cowardly way out unlike other presidents that have fulfilled their duty even after office and testified before Congress. Very not surprising with the former president. It was disappointing with the former vice president.” Schiff noted Pence’s decision to write a book despite his resistance to answering Congressional questions. The committee looks set to wrap up its work with this Congress, when several of its members (not including Schiff) will be leaving Congressional service altogether.

Chairperson Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) recently signaled reporters should expect the committee’s final report at some point next month. On ABC, Schiff also expressed support for the recent decision by Attorney General Merrick Garland to name a special counsel to oversee investigations into Trump, a move that helps with the independence and duly established longevity of those probes. Check out the Congressman’s comments below: