Rep. Schiff: Actions Described in Mueller Report 'Far Worse Than Anything That Richard Nixon Did'

By Susan Jones | April 22, 2019 | 5:02am EDT
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) doubles down on "collusion." (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

( - Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the head of the House intelligence committee, says the Mueller report describes acts that go "well beyond anything Richard Nixon did."

The obstruction of justice in particular in this case is far worse than anything that Richard Nixon did. The -- the break-in by the Russians of the democratic institutions, a foreign adversary far more significant than the plumbers breaking into the democratic headquarters.

So yes, I would say in every way this is more significant than Watergate. And the fact that a candidate for president and now president of the United States would not only not stand up and resist Russian interference in our election but would welcome it goes well beyond anything Nixon did.

The fact that the president of the United States would take Putin's side over his own intelligence agencies go well beyond anything Richard Nixon did. So yes, I think it is far more serious than Watergate.


Schiff, appearing on ABC's "This Week," also said the Mueller report validates his long-held belief in "collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia.

"In fact, every act that I've pointed to as evidence of collusion has now been borne out by the report," Schiff said. "And I will also say that, with respect to most of those acts involving the meeting at Trump Tower, involving the provision of polling data, involving the discussions between the national security advisor and the Russian ambassador; all these and so many more, Kellyanne Conway and the president of the United States call this fake news, disputed that these facts were even facts.

"We now know from Bob Mueller, they were fact."

Host Martha Raddatz asked Schiff if he believes the president obstructed justice:

"I do believe that he obstructed justice, and did so in many ways," Schiff responded. "And I think that the Mueller report points out how the elements of obstruction are met in several instances, several courses of the president's conduct.

"What Bob Mueller said -- and this is obviously directly contrary to what Bill Barr represented to the country -- is that he felt bound by the Office of Legal Counsel opinion that he could not indict a sitting president. Now Kellyanne Conway points to that as proof of innocence, but it's not. Bob Mueller made it abundantly clear, he felt he could not indict the president. The most that he could do was say that the evidence did not exonerate the president."

Schiff said although Mueller felt he could not indict the president, he did come as close as he could to laying out the evidence of obstruction.

"And that's, I think, the point that he was trying to get across, that he preserved the evidence for when the president was out of office and that he also laid out the evidence so that Congress could understand and undertake its own responsibility."

Schiff said the evidence included in the Mueller report is "serious and damning, and in a normal circumstance would be, I think, without question, within the realm of impeachable offenses."

He complained that Republican congressional leaders (he singled out House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy) as being "willing to carry the president's water no matter how corrupt or unethical or dishonest the president's conduct may be."

"And in those kind of circumstances, when (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell will not stand up to the president either, it means that an impeachment is likely to be unsuccessful," Schiff said.

"Now it may be that we undertake an impeachment nonetheless. I think what we're going to have to decide as a caucus is what is the best thing for the country. Is the best thing for the country to take up an impeachment proceeding because to do otherwise sends a message that this conduct is somehow compatible with office or is it in the best interest of the country not to take up an impeachment that we know will not be successful in the Senate because the Republican leadership will not do its duty?

"That's a very tough question and I think is one we ought not to make overnight."

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