In a Sunday interview with 'Meet the Press' host Chuck Todd, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) talks about the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
CHUCK TODD: You got it. Joining me now from Los Angeles is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff. Congressman welcome back to Meet the Press sir.
ADAM SCHIFF: Thank you.
CHUCK TODD: Well I want to ask you about -- you heard Roger Stone’s denials when it comes to the specificities and they’re very specific denials. Just curious of your reaction there. You’ve -- your committee did interview him. Do you believe his denials?
ADAM SCHIFF: Well look, Roger Stone is known for a lot of things, candor isn’t really one of them. And either his testimony before our committee was untrue, or his public statements are untrue. Both cannot be fact because they’re inconsistent with each other. We were never allowed to find out which was the case in our committee. We should have used compulsory process to obtain his private text or Twitter messages with WikiLeaks, something that he was forced to disclose when they came to light. And so his public comments that he never had contact with WikiLeaks, that he never had contact with intermediaries of the Russians, are inconsistent with certain facts but we were never allowed to follow the evidentiary trail. I suspect that Bob Mueller is and that’s why so many of Roger Stone’s confederates are being brought in. But someone needs to do that investigation. Unfortunately we were not permitted to.
CHUCK TODD: I gotta ask you about that. I asked Mr. Stone if he was preparing to be indicted. He said he was prepared if that is what it came -- he wasn’t saying whether he expected it soon. You’re a former prosecutor. It is interesting to us. There are four people involved in this investigation that have not been interviewed by Bob Mueller: Michael Cohen, Brad Parscale -- who’s the President’s campaign manager for 2020 by the way --, Roger Stone, and the President’s son Donald Trump Jr. As a former prosecutor, why would Special Counsel Bob Mueller, somebody who -- not interview somebody even though they appear to be so important to the investigation? Explain why that would be the case.
ADAM SCHIFF: Well it could be one of two reasons. It could be that they’re saving those interviews, like the interview with the President, for last after they’ve done all the groundwork. It makes sense to find out all you can before you bring in certain key witnesses. Or it could be that they’re a target of the investigation. It is not something I think that you can breathe easy about that you haven’t been called in. Sometimes that might indicate that you are in fact a target of the investigation and you’re more likely to be charged than interviewed. So it could be I think either of those possibilities.
CHUCK TODD: Let me ask you about this controversy involving the FBI informant. This is something that your Republican counterpart in the House Intelligence Committee -- he wants the Department of Justice to release more information about this informant. We now know who that person is. When did you become aware of this FBI informant?
ADAM SCHIFF: You know I don’t want to characterize what this individual may or may not be but I do want to say the Justice Department, the FBI, even the White House although clearly not the President has said that revealing information about this individual could compromise people’s lives, it could betray a relationship with our allies, it could compromise the investigation. And the President’s response and Chairman Nunes, Jordan, and Gowdy and others is: “bring it on. We don’t care. Whatever is in the service of the President we’re willing to do.” This is a dramatic and new and destructive low I think for the Congress of the United States basically to ignore the warnings of the FBI and Justice Department and potentially risk people’s lives. What they would like this information for is clearly to be of service to the Trump defense team and further any narrative they have. The most I can tell you Chuck is that this claim by the President, the suggestion by Giuliani that there is a political spy embedded in the Trump campaign, is nonsense. And you hear it in the same terms that Trump often speaks which is “people are saying”, or “I’m hearing”, or “we’re being told”. That’s another way of saying this is patently untrue but we would like to spread it anyway and it’s singularly destructive of our institutions but then that’s the point.
CHUCK TODD: Alright but in fairness to the President and his supporters, they look at this history of this informant. They see that he was involved in political campaigns and possibly even political espionage in 1980. And they think -- why shouldn’t they be suspicious of this?
ADAM SCHIFF: Well again I can’t comment on the, the identity of any individual or source but I can say this: this is part of a string of meritless allegations from the very beginning that “I was -- I was wiretapped in Trump Tower. There’s a vast unmasking conspiracy. The investigation began with the Christopher Steele dossier”. All of which was untrue. All of which as you pointed out at the outset is designed to create this alternate reality for Trump supporters to live in.
CHUCK TODD: Very quickly. You’re confident the FBI acted appropriately?
ADAM SCHIFF: I am confident.
CHUCK TODD: Ok.
ADAM SCHIFF: Everything I have seen, it would have been negligent for the FBI not to take steps to protect the country in the midst of information it was receiving.
CHUCK TODD: I want to ask you about the -- what appears to be potentially a bombshell new addition to what we know about the Mueller probe. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, talking about another Trump Tower meeting that may become infamous. Here’s the New York Times’ headline: “Trump Jr. and Other Aides Met With Gulf Emissary Offering Help to Win Election”. How much can you tell us about some of the players in here? You have George Nader as the emissary, of -- claiming he had two princes in Gulf state countries who were willing to help the President. Maybe Erik Prince is tied to this, Betsy DeVos’s brother, also a supporter of the President. What do you know about this? An Israeli firm is included in here. What have you -- what can you tell us about this?
ADAM SCHIFF: Well we sought to bring in George Nader but the Republican members were unwilling to do so. He could have shed obviously a lot of light on this as well as whether Erik Prince’s testimony before our committee was true or untrue. I can say this: if these facts are accurate, it demonstrates yet again just how not only willing but eager the President’s son and the Trump campaign were to solicit to receive foreign help. And I completely disagree with Mr. Giuliani. Receiving, soliciting, using foreign assistance is a crime. You’re not allowed to get the help of a foreign government -- friendly or unfriendly. But clearly if this is accurate it is consistent with the other Trump Tower meeting. With, reaching out to foreign sources for information.
CHUCK TODD: You say if this is -- was this new to you? Was this stuff new to you guys at the House Intel Committee?
ADAM SCHIFF: The specifics of this were certainly new, yes. And of course disturbing as yet another indication of the willingness to accept foreign help.