The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee argued that former FBI director James Comey’s statements ahead of his congressional testimony support President Donald Trump’s impeachment for obstruction of justice.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) appeared Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” where he broke down the timeline of Comey’s claims in relation to what is already known about Trump’s actions.
“When you see it in black and white, it’s quite shocking,” Schiff said. “When you look at the chronology — that the president dismisses people from the room, asking the director whether he wants to keep his job, demands loyalty — this is happening, you know, right after Sally Yates has gone to the White House to tell them that the president’s national security adviser may be compromised, so this is right after that.”
“The next day the president is asking for this loyalty,” he continued. “You then have subsequent one-on-one interactions orchestrated by the president. You also have, the day after (national security adviser Mike) Flynn is fired, this other private conversation where he asks the director to essentially lay off the Flynn case. And then you have the final result, the director doesn’t comply with these requests and he’s fired.”
Host Joe Scarborough took it even further, and reminded viewers of Trump’s own justification for firing Comey.
“(Comey) was told to drop the investigation, he didn’t, he got fired and Trump admitted he got fired because he didn’t lay off the investigation,” Scarborough said.
Schiff said Trump appeared to be attempting to obstruct the FBI probe of his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.
“I think it’s hard to reach any other conclusion but that this is evidence of interference and obstruction,” Schiff said. “If you’re prosecuting a case you would seek to admit all of this, and there’s not a judge in the land that would exclude any of it. The question is, is it sufficient evidence? Can it be corroborated? Is there other evidence in addition that goes to the president’s intent?”
The lawmaker said Congress must hear testimony from national intelligence director Dan Coats, NSA director Mike Rogers and CIA director Mike Pompeo — who have refused to publicly describe their conversations with the president about the Russia probe.
“We’re not going to be able to accept them saying, ‘We’d rather not answer those questions,'” Schiff said. “If there were similar conversations that corroborate what director Comey is going to say, if there are further indications he was seeking others to intervene to make part of this Russia investigation go away, then it is even more evidence of an intent to interfere or obstruct. So absolutely I believe it’s evidence, but whether it’s sufficient I think is yet to be determined.”