The Democrat expected to chair the Intelligence Committee in January suggested that President Donald Trump may have committed an impeachable offense.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a former federal prosecutor, joined MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Tuesday to discuss the New York Times bombshell news that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s lawyer was coordinating with Trump’s legal team after his plea agreement.
“What’s your reaction to that news?” Maddow asked. “Do you see this as a serious matter?”
“It represents an effort to essentially double-deal by Paul Manafort — to pretend that he is cooperating with prosecutors but at the same time betray the government, betray the prosecution, by sharing information with the president’s legal defense team.”
“Certainly I would have to think that the Mueller prosecutors would feel that as a complete betrayal of a cooperation agreement,” he predicted.
“Not only it is going to infuriate the special counsel’s office, but it will also infuriate the judge,” he noted. “I mean, judges don’t like having defendants that are lying to the government, because they’re also through the government — through that lying to the government, they’re lying to the court.”
Without directly mentioning impeachment, Schiff explained how the actions could rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” constitutionally required to remove a president from office.
“It would add to a growing body of evidence that the president is involved in trying to obstruct justice,” he noted. “That might mean the special counsel in his report makes those findings or recommends prosecution — either during the presidency or when the president leaves office.”
“It obviously would be something the House would have to consider in terms of whether it rose to the level of a high crime or misdemeanor,” he added.