California Democrat Adam Schiff Is in Full Anti-Trump Mode
With a new Congress convening soon, liberal lawmaker said he wants to question president's acting attorney general
“The American people need to know … whether [President Donald Trump’s] appointment of [Acting Attorney General Matthew] Whitaker was designed to obstruct justice,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) declared on Sunday morning to CNN’s “State of the Union” guest host Dana Bash.
It was clear from the moment the liberal lawmaker began speaking on Sunday morning, in fact, that his entire agenda is now full-on anti-Trump.
Schiff will chair the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence when the next session of Congress begins on Jan. 3, 2019.
He added of Whitaker, “We will do everything necessary to find out.”
Trump temporarily appointed Whitaker recently when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned his position as head of the Department of Justice at the White House’s request; the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, despite fierce criticisms, endorsed the Whitaker appointment, so he did not need Senate confirmation to hold the position.
Whitaker, before his appointment, had been critical of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged Russian collusion in the Trump 2016 presidential campaign; but there’s nothing to indicate he’s done anything to stand in the way of the investigation, which has been going on for some 18 months now.
Schiff, who was just getting warmed up on Sunday, also noted — rather suddenly — that if it’s found Russians laundered money through Trump’s personal businesses, then that could explain the president’s “bewildering conduct … in Helsinki [regarding his] pro-Putin comments.”
“We do need to get an answer … The American people deserve to know that the president has their interests in mind, not his pecuniary interests.”
Schiff also declared that he plans to bring Whitaker before Congress — whether Whitaker is still in his position as acting attorney general or not at that point.
“He [Whitaker] is not telegraphing what he’s doing [with regard to the Mueller investigation] … We simply don’t know. But we’re going to find out … [whether Whitaker] is obstructing justice.”
“We will do everything necessary to find out,” he said.
Even before he got to the Whitaker matter, though, the segment began with a discussion of the Democrats’ plan to investigate the president’s reluctance to discuss the CIA’s findings about the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi — and the possible involvement of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince in the killing.
Democrats are accusing Trump of lying about those findings.
Schiff said it was false for Trump to claim the CIA “did not come to a conclusion” on whether Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of the journalist.
“I think the president is not being honest with the country about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” said Schiff.
“It means our allies don’t respect us. Our enemies don’t fear us,” he added, saying the president believes his approach makes him appear “strong” but that it actually makes him appear “weak,” in Schiff’s estimation.
The liberal lawmaker said he does not know what is driving the president’s approach — but suggested that an “affinity for autocrats” on Trump’s part or his personal “financial motivation” could be to blame.
“He has openly bragged about how many millions he makes from Saudi Arabia,” Schiff declared.
“Is [his] personal financial interest driving” the policy toward Saudi Arabia? Schiff wondered aloud. “We don’t know. But it would be irresponsible not to find out.”
He also described the job of the House Intel Committee as being to “truth tell” to the American people if the president is “misrepresenting” matters to the public or not.
Schiff said he plans to look into possible “financial entanglements” or “financial inducements” that the president might have in the Gulf that could inappropriately fuel his policy toward Saudi Arabia — saying such entanglements “cannot be allowed” to drive U.S. policy.
He said he had been briefed by the CIA about the Khashoggi matter and said he “cannot discuss” it, but added, “The president has been dishonest with the country about a great many things.”
Schiff said he had been briefed by the CIA about the Khashoggi matter and said he “cannot discuss” it.
“We need to speak up for our Democrat values,” he added.
“It telegraphs to despots around the world they can murder people with impunity and that this president will have their back as long as they praise him, as long as they do business with him potentially,” said Schiff.
“And that cannot be the guiding principle behind our foreign policy.”
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.