Adam Schiff: Republicans In Congress (Ryan, Gowdy, Nunes, Meadows, Jordan) Are Complicit In Trump's Lies

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ABC's Martha Raddatz interviews Rep. Adam Schiff, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, about the investigations into President Trump and Republicans in Congress who support the president:

"At the end of the day, there's only one remedy for that and that is you need to throw the bums out," Schiff said about Congress. "As long as there's a majority in Congress that is willing to do this president's will and as long as we have a deeply unethical president, there's only one remedy."


REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Good morning.



RADDATZ: I want your reaction, just a short time ago, Rudy Giuliani said on Fox News that all of this is like Watergate.

SCHIFF: Well it is like Watergate in the sense that you had a break in at the democratic headquarters, in this case a virtual one, not a physical break in, and you had a president as part of a cover up and here you have a president doing a different kind of cover up.

You have a president peddling these falsehoods and you have essentially people putting out propaganda like Rudy Giuliani to further that fiction. It is, I think, of a size and scope probably beyond Watergate, just not the Watergate the president is referring to.

RADDATZ: Or not -- or not the one Rudy Giuliani is referring to, certainly. And I know you can't reveal classified information, but you were in that briefing this week. Can you give us a sense of what it was like in room, were the democrats on one side, the republicans on the other?

SCHIFF: Well there were two meetings, the first was this kind of rogue meeting with Gowdy and Nunes, and of course the thing that struck me immediately was the president said then that flood along with Chief of Staff Kelly, neither one should be there, but it was all the more glaring when you had the president's lawyer, the guy hired to fight this so-called witch hunt.

This was supposed to be ostensibly about congressional oversight. But of course, the meeting was always intended for something very different, and that is the Trump defense team's effort to get information in an investigation implicating the president.

Now that is completely improper, it's a violation of all the safeguards we've put in place after Watergate. But if it wasn't made clear enough by Emmet Flood's presence at that meeting, the defense lawyer for the president, it was made abundantly clear by Rudy Giuliani afterwards when he said our whole purpose is to get information we shouldn't have for our defense -- to guide our defense team.

And what makes this possible --

RADDATZ: He was -- he said -- he told Politico we want to see how the briefing went today and how much we learned from it, if we learned a good deal from it, it will shorten that whole process considerably.

I want to go back to Emmet Flood and John Kelly. Tell me if it was at all contentious when they were in there, just a little bit more about what it was like in that room and -- and both sides in that room.

SCHIFF: Well, I told Mr. Flood that I there was -- that he had no business being there, that he was the president's defense lawyer. He took issue, he said I'm White House counsel and I said I don't care what you call yourself, you're the president's defense lawyer when it comes to this investigation and you have no business being here. Now, look, he's a good enough lawyer to know he had no business being there, which means --

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: -- Let's make perfectly clear, though, they weren't there for the classified briefing. They came in at the beginning and said, what? They talked about openness? According to the White House.

SCHIFF: Well, they came at the beginning I think to send a message from the president that the president expected the Justice Department, essentially, to give these allies of the president's, these aider and abettors of the president in Congress what they wanted, because the president wanted for his defense team.

But as -- as I was saying, Flood's a good enough lawyer to know he had no business being there. But Giuliani made it so abundantly clear that the whole purpose of this meeting had nothing to do with Congressional oversight. It was to help the president's defense by getting information improperly from the Justice Department to feed to the president's lawyers.

Now, the only thing that makes this possible is a Congress that is complicit, is members of Congress like Gowdy and Nunes and Meadows and Jordan and a weak speaker that will not stand up for the independence of the Justice Department. And that means that the rule of law is now on shaky ground.

RADDATZ: Do you think there's absolutely -- again, I know you can't reveal classified material. But is there absolutely no case the Republicans could make that there was a spy in the president's campaign?

SCHIFF: There is no evidence to support that spy theory. This is just a -- a piece of propaganda the president wants to put out and repeat. And certainly we've seen this pattern before. The president will suggest something, he prefaces by saying people are saying or we are being told --

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: -- they use James Clapper, who we -- who we listened to a little earlier, James Clapper this week said they were spying on -- a term I don't particularly like, but on what the Russians were doing. So we're back to that word, spy.

SCHIFF: Yes. Well, they put this out there and then they say well now that it's out there, we need to investigate it. Even Senator Rubio this morning saying well, we should look in and find out if this is true. But this is part of the propaganda machine, let's spread a completely fallacious story and then let's say that it needs to be investigated and give it a life of it's own. And --

RADDATZ: But it is resonating. Just quickly, how do you counter that?

SCHIFF: Well, the broad question is how do you counter a president who repeats falsehood after falsehood after falsehood, that has the bully pulpit of the presidency to do it and has allies in Congress who are willing to support that. And Martha, at the end of the day, there's only one remedy for that and that is you need to throw the bums out. As long as there's a majority in Congress that is willing to do this president's will and as long as we have a deeply unethical president, there's only one remedy.

And that is to change the Congress and to let the investigation go on. And that's what we need to try to fight to do.

RADDATZ: OK. The view from Congressman Adam Schiff. Thanks very much for coming in this morning.

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