House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff pushed back against Meet the Press host Chuck Todd’s claim the impeachment inquiry appears to be letting President Donald Trump and his alleged co-conspirators off the hook.
Schiff rebuked the NBC News host’s suggestion Sunday that “it seems odd” the House Democrat-led impeachment investigation is “stopping,” despite overwhelming evidence and leads pointing to the guilt of Trump administration officials in the Ukraine quid pro quo allegations. The California Democrat said he won’t “foreclose the possibility” of more public hearings and explained why he and other House Intelligence committee members didn’t ask for the Ukraine whistleblower to testify, despite previously making such requests.
Schiff also noted that attorney Rudy Giuliani associate and frequent Ukraine visitor Lev Parnas has been subpoenaed and the House wants to review documents before asking him to testify.
“It’s certainly not for show, but we’ve already accumulated overwhelmingly evidence that the president once again sought foreign interference in an election,” Schiff said, after a skeptical-sounding Todd pressed him with the question, “Do you have some evidence that more investigation is going to take place next week?”
Schiff continued: “[Trump] conditioned official acts, a White House meeting that Ukraine desperately wanted, as well as $400 million of bipartisan taxpayer funding to get these political investigations that he thought would help his reelection.”
Todd continued to challenge Schiff on what he characterized as a slowing investigation despite so many “open leads,” which are damning to Trump, Giuliani and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, NPR reported. The NBC News producers flashed up a graphic that laid out about a half-dozen “open leads in impeachment,” which the incredulous Todd appeared to be in want of more information.
“So there’s more documents, there’s more evidence, I mean, you have all these open leads, it just seems odd that you’re stopping,” Todd again pressed.
“it’s important to know we’re not stopping…We view this as urgent, we have another election where the president is threatening more foreign interference. At the same time, there are still other witnesses and documents we would like to obtain, but we’re not willing to go the months and months of rope-a-dope in the courts, which the Trump administration would more than love for us to do,” Schiff replied.
“Well you have somebody right now,” Todd shot back, referencing Lev Parnas.
“We’ve already subpoenaed documents and are in discussion with the Southern District of New York and we’ve subpoenaed Pompeo and others,” Schiff replied.
Among the “open leads in impeachment inquiry” the Meet the Press program listed were: “John Bolton; Mike Pompeo & State Department documents; Mick Mulvaney, Rick Perry energy deal; SDNY probe of Rudy Giuliani; Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash; and Devin Nunes meeting on Biden.”
Todd and Schiff then turned to the whistleblower not testifying and the reasoning behind the inquiry changing its mind on having that person appear before the hearings. Schiff argued that the personal safety of the Ukraine whistleblower was threatened by Trump and his associates.
“We had a deep interest in having the whistleblower testify until two things happened. Number one, we were able to prove everything in the whistleblower complaint with witnesses who had first-hand information. And second, the president and his allies effectively put that whistleblower’s life in danger,” Schiff explained.
“The president said the whistleblower and others should be treated as a spy and we ought to use the penalty we used to use for traitors and spies that is the death penalty,” he continued. “We don’t need the whistleblower’s second-hand information anymore. It would only seek to endanger this person and gratify the president’s desire for retribution, and that is not a good enough reason to bring in the whistleblower.”