Schiff Out on a Limb: Insists Trump May ‘Face the Real Prospect of Jail Time’

Democrat thinks Justice Dept. 'may indict' the president on final day in office

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, told host Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation” on CBS on Sunday that President Donald Trump may “face the real prospect of jail time.”

“There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him,” said Schiff.

“He may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time,” he added.

Schiff was referring to a filing by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York this past Friday. In the filing, President Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, is accused of violating campaign finance laws at the direction of “Individual-1.”

“Individual-1” — presumably President Donald Trump — is frequently referenced in the filing, though it does not specifically accuse Trump of any wrongdoing.

Schiff noted that though much pardon-related discussion has been focused on whether it is appropriate or advisable for President Trump to “dangle” the possibility of pardoning his former campaign chair Paul Manafort, a more pivotal pardon-related question may face the next president of the United States — about whether or not to pardon Donald Trump.

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The president’s current attorney, unlike Schiff, does not seem overly concerned with Friday’s filings on Cohen.

“The president is not implicated in campaign finance violations based on Edwards case and others the payments are not campaign contributions. No responsible prosecutor would premise a criminal case on a questionable interpretation of the law,” Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, tweeted on Saturday.

The “Edwards case” to which Giuliani refers is former vice presidential candidate John Edwards, a Democrat, who used campaign funds to cover up an affair.

Earlier on Saturday, Giuliani tweeted that special counsel Mueller’s “late Friday dump” shows no evidence of wrongdoing, yet again, on the part of the president.

“No collusion, no obstruction now campaign finance but payments to settle lawsuits are not clearly a proper campaign contribution or expenditure. No responsible lawyer would  charge a debatable  campaign finance violation as a crime … well maybe those suffering from TDD,” he tweeted on Sunday morning.

“TDD” is a colloquialism that means “Trump Derangement Disorder.”

In challenging the assertion that the Edwards case sets a precedent that is favorable to the president, Schiff claimed that the distinction between Edwards’ and Trump’s hush payment cases was that Trump’s was meant to affect the election, adding that there were also “problems of proof” with the Edwards case.

“It’s clear the Justice Department here is making the argument that the principal purpose of these payments was to affect the election, and [Michael] Cohen has admitted as much.”

Schiff said he found it “breathtaking” that the Cohen filing indicates the “president of the United States not only coordinated but directed an illegal campaign scheme that may have had an election-altering impact.”

Schiff also said he found it “breathtaking” that before Trump became the Republicans’ presidential nominee, the real estate mogul had “private conversations” in which he was “seeking the Kremlin’s help” in building a project in Russia.

The project was never built.

Schiff — unlike his colleague Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) on CNN earlier on Sunday morning — was reluctant to say that Trump’s actions, according to the information they’ve obtained so far, rises to the level of an impeachable offense.

“I think we need to wait until we see the full picture,” said Schiff.

“I think we also need to see this as part of a broader pattern of potential misconduct by the president,” he added.

“It’s clear from the filing that Michael Cohen, in the preparation of his false testimony to Congress, circulated that among people affiliated with the administration at the White House. That may go to the obstruction of justice issue.”

Schiff said that when he gets the gavel of the House Intelligence Committee, he will call Cohen to testify.

“We are already in touch with his counsel,” said Schiff, adding that he — Schiff — was particularly intrigued by a portion of the sentencing memo that indicated Cohen had evidence on officials within the Trump organization on the core issue of collusion or conspiracy.

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.

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