Rep. Adam Schiff on Mueller Probe: If There Is Any Innocent Explanation, Why All The Lies?

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), joined George Stephanopoulos on ABC's 'This Week' to discuss the indictment of Roger Stone, the latest in Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, and the border wall.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... You -- you laid out the bigger, broader picture. But as we said, so far Robert Mueller's -- he's not charged anyone with directly conspiring with the Russians. Based on everything you've just laid out, that charge still isn't there, is it?

SCHIFF: Well, you know, Bob Mueller has the advantage of a lot of evidence that we don't. We were really circumscribed at what we could look at. For example, we wanted to try to compel some of the witnesses that Mr. Stone alluded to, to come in and testify. We wanted to try to test what Don Jr. and others were telling us. We wanted to get phone records.



We couldn't do that but Bob Mueller has been able to do that. And I would expect, George, that if there is a conspiracy to defraud the United States, a collusion indictment, it would be the last indictment that Bob Mueller would seek, not the first. So we'll have to wait to see what evidence he produces.

But you certainly do have to ask the question over and over again, if there were innocent explanations for all of this, why all the lies? Why all the repeated efforts to get Russian help? And of course, you have this symmetry of interests here, where Donald Trump wants help from the Russians with his campaign, he wants help from the Russians to build this lucrative Moscow Tower, and the Russians want help from Donald Trump -- they want sanctions relief -- and all of this is going on at the same time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your -- your -- your colleague on the committee, Jackie Speier -- Congresswoman Jackie Speier, told CNN that she believes that Don Jr. -- Donald Trump Jr. lied to your committee on at least two occasions. Do you agree?

SCHIFF: Well, I'd like the special counsel to have access to Don Jr.'s testimony and determine whether it is evidence of -- of false statements. I -- I think and I greatly appreciate the seriousness with which the special counsel takes lying to Congress. So I'll let Bob Mueller be the judge of that.

But one of the first acts, if not the first act, of our committee will be to send all of these transcripts of all the witnesses to Bob Mueller so that he can consider whether additional perjury charges are warranted.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So are you confident that Robert Mueller and this team have not yet seen any of those transcripts?

SCHIFF: No, I believe the special counsel has had access to the transcripts but not for the purpose of use in a perjury prosecution. So that's what we want to make sure that the special counsel has access to these transcripts and can use them for whatever purpose including perjury prosecution or witness intimidation or obstruction of justice.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You mentioned that conspiracy to defraud the United States would be - likely be the last indictment that Robert Mueller would issue. There's been some speculation out there that he - that Roger Stone may have been the last indictment for Robert Mueller, that he doesn't have enough evidence to charge anyone in Trump's orbit for conspiring with Russia. If Robert Mueller concludes there was a coverup, there was a lot of lying, as you just said, but no direct conspiracy, what is the appropriate next step?

Should he just tell the attorney general "no more criminal - we've concluded there is no more - nothing else we can prosecute, that's it, end of story?" Or does the public need to know more?

SCHIFF: Well, first of all, I think it's clear that Mueller's work is not yet done. And we can see clues of that in the grand jury activity and the fact that with the Supreme Court case of this mystery estate-owned firm reaching resolution that there are additional documents that Bob Mueller wants to get. So I think there's more work that he has to do. But when he is finished, finished returning or seeking indictments, then he makes, I hope, an extensive report to the attorney general. And that report is going to have to be made public.

And I think there is significant agreement among Democrats and Republicans, even if there isn't among the nominee for attorney general, that that is too big to be buried. And we're going to use every device and compulsion we can to make sure that it's made public. I have to tell you, George, over the last two years, as the Justice Department has been providing thousands and thousands of documents - tens of thousands of documents in the Clinton e-mail investigation to the Congress, acting on a subpoena - or many subpoenas, I have made it clear to them that they're not going to be in a position once the Mueller investigation's concluded, to say "No, Congress, we're not going to share with you any of the evidence that's produced ..."

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me - let me just - that chairman (ph) - let me press you on - on that point, though, because when James Comey came forward after declining to prosecute Hillary Clinton, Democrats and others were quite critical of him for having that press conference for laying out his reasoning in public. Why shouldn't that same standard apply to Robert Mueller?

SCHIFF: You know, this is the point that I was raising the Justice Department, which is, when the Justice Department started sending FBI interview reports or 302s, and then started to send text messages and other documents to the Congress by the thousands, that was in contradiction of the Department of Justice policy. And I warned them as they were doing it that they were violating their own policy, but they were setting a precedent that they were going to have to live by.

It simply wouldn't be acceptable for the country that they would provide discovery in one investigation but not the other and that's the position they put themselves in. But at the end of the day, the most important discovery is that report. But given that it's not guaranteed and it may be that Bill Barr fights the release of that, we have to continue our own investigations in Congress.

Because one way or another, we are determined the public is going to know exactly what Donald Trump did, what his family did, what his campaign did, what the Russians did, and what we need to do to protect the country.

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