Adam Schiff Is Running Out Of Patience
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who spent years investigating Donald Trump and all his accomplices in the House Intelligence Committee's Russia investigations and who sits on the House's January 6 committee that voted last night to hold Steve Bannon in contempt, is expressing some of the same frustration we expressed in our last blog post. He is very damn ready for there to be some damn accountability for Trump and everybody who surrounds him, and he sounds like he's running out of patience.
Michael Isikoff reports that on the "Skullduggery" podcast Tuesday, Schiff specifically called out Attorney General Merrick Garland for his apparent reluctance to investigate Trump too deeply for literally trying to overthrow America in front of all of our faces.
"I think there's a real desire on the part of the attorney general, for the most part, not to look backward," Schiff said in response. "Do I disagree with that? I do disagree with that, and I disagree with it most vehemently when it comes to what I consider even more serious offenses. For example, a taped conversation of Donald J. Trump on the phone with Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state from Georgia, trying to coerce him into fraudulently finding 11,780 votes."
"Because I think if you or I did that, we'd be under indictment by now," Schiff added. "In my view, you don't ignore the crimes that have been committed by a president of the United States. They need to be investigated. You may reach the judgment once you've investigated something that the public interest in not prosecuting a former president outweighs the interests of justice. But I don't think you could ignore the crimes."
There's a lot of talk about norms, how they've all been violated and destroyed the past several years, and how to get them back, if such a thing is possible. And there are a lot of people who, in our personal view, have been rushing to condemn Attorney General Merrick Garland for doing nothing, when the truth of the matter is that we don't really know what he's been doing. However, we do feel a need to be very clear that you don't get normalcy back by spinelessly giving deference to a former president who committed crimes against the country brazenly and repeatedly and out in the open, out of some misguided desire not to set a precedent where new presidents always end up investigating their predecessors. (As if the modern-day fascist Republican Party would give Democrats the same consideration.)
There has to be a clear message that this shit will not fly. So if Garland is doing what his critics claim, he needs to get over it.
Schiff said maybe he's wrong, and maybe Garland's DOJ is doing a whole lot, specifically investigating what Trump did to overturn the election in Georgia. But he's clearly worried they're just relying on Fulton County, Georgia, DA Fani Willis to do their homework for them, and also their jobs:
He said that "maybe I'm wrong" and that Justice is secretly collecting evidence from a grand jury into Trump's efforts to pressure state officials in Georgia to overturn the election results in that state, which favored Biden. But he fears Garland and his top aides are relying on Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis, who has publicly confirmed her own investigation into the matter.
"I suspect that they're counting on the Fulton County DA to do justice, and I don't think that is how we ought to view the magnitude of that effort to overturn the election."
We hope he's wrong.
Schiff would also like to know what the Southern District of New York is doing, because remember that time Donald Trump was an unindicted co-conspirator who directed Michael Cohen to commit porn peener payoff crimes for which Michael Cohen had to go to prison but nobody else did?
"There's also an indictment in the Southern District of New York, in which individual No. 1 directed and coordinated a campaign fraud scheme in which the Justice Department argued that the guy who ... coordinated and directed, Michael Cohen, needed to go to jail," Schiff said.
"So, what's the argument that the guy that did the coordinating and did the directing gets a pass? My view in light of Nixon being pardoned, the Justice Department taking a position you can't prosecute a sitting president, which I also disagree with — to say now that as a practical matter you can't prosecute a former president would make the president above the law.
"And that's a dangerous proposition in the abstract. Given that Trump is, I think, already running for president again, it's an even more dangerous prospect for the future."
One gets the sense Schiff has fucking had it.
Schiff is optimistic that the Justice Department won't ignore Congress's criminal referral of Steve Bannon for contempt, though:
"I think the indications are strong that the Justice Department will take this seriously, as they should," he added. "There's not even a colorable claim of privilege in Bannon's case. He was long gone from the administration by the time of the events that we're talking about. And what's more, he can't just say, 'I'm gonna refuse to appear.'"
That would be a start.
Again, we [by we, Evan means Evan — Editrix] haven't been down with the reflexive condemnations of Merrick Garland. But the clock is ticking, and when somebody like Adam Schiff is starting to talk about it out loud, we start paying attention.
LOCK THEM UP, LOCK THEM ALL UP.
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