House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA) said Wednesday that prosecutors’ non-prosecution agreement with American Media, Inc., which was announced earlier in the day, was “more significant” than Michael Cohen’s three-year prison sentence.
“Because what that means is, this is not simply Michael Cohen’s word against Donald Trump’s, it is now Donald Trump’s word against everyone else,” Schiff told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said Wednesday in its announcement of the non-prosecution deal: “As a part of the agreement, AMI admitted that it made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate’s presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman [Karen McDougal] did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election. AMI further admitted that its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.”
Schiff also told CNN that he believed the Justice Department should “reexamine” its current rule against indicting sitting presidents — “under circumstances in which the failure to do so may mean that person escapes justice.”
“There ought to be a mechanism to make sure that that is not the case,” Schiff added, “whether that means revisiting the [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion and allowing the indictment of a sitting president, and staying the prosecution, or allowing both the indictment and prosecution.”
Schiff said near the end of the interview that he was “very pleased” a lawyer for Cohen said the former Trump fixer was willing to speak to the Intelligence Committee.
“We certainly intend to take him up on that,” Schiff said.
Schiff: American Media's non-prosecution agreement means "it is now Donald Trump’s word against everyone else." pic.twitter.com/GqGEMMOjcw
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) December 12, 2018