Schiff: Congress ‘Will Need To Consider’ Whether Trump Obstructed Justice

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks at a press conference discussing today's release of the redacted Mueller report on April 18, 2019. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
April 18, 2019 4:41 p.m.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) said Thursday that Congress “will need to consider” whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice in light of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted final report.

“If the special counsel, as he made clear, had found evidence exonerating the President, he would have said so. He did not. He left that issue to the Congress of the United States, and we will need to consider it,” Schiff told reporters in California a few hours after the redacted report’s release.

Schiff, like House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) earlier in the day, hammered Attorney General Bill Barr for the discrepancies between the attorney general’s characterizations of the report and the report itself.

“The attorney general did a grave disservice to the country by misrepresenting significant parts of the Mueller report by attempting to put a positive spin for the President on the special counsel’s findings,” Schiff said, adding later: “When the attorney general represents on the obstruction case or suggests that the special counsel desired him to make that decision” — as Barr implied earlier Thursday — “[and] that the special counsel wasn’t mindful of the office of legal counsel opinion that a special counsel cannot indict a sitting president, when the attorney general mischaracterizes the report in that way, he does a disservice to the country.”

Schiff went on to say, regarding the report’s treatment of obstruction of justice, that Mueller outlined Trump’s attempts to “mislead the country,” “interfere with the investigations” and “urge those of his staff to take actions to further obstruct the investigation.”

These actions affected the investigation and affected Mueller’s access to information, Schiff said.

“Those acts of obstruction of justice, whether they are criminal or not, are deeply alarming in the President of the United Staes, and it’s clear that special counsel Mueller wanted the Congress to consider the repercussions and the consequences.”

On allegations of a collusion with Russia, Schiff said, the report “gives us more information than the public knew about these illicit contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians, whether they rise to the level of a criminal conspiracy or not.”

Whether or not the report outlines actions that constitute criminal conduct, Schiff said, “they are unquestionably dishonest, unethical, immoral and unpatriotic and should be condemned by every American.”

Schiff also noted that large sections of the report — including pages detailing the Trump campaign’s relationship to stolen Democratic emails posted to Wikileaks — “have been largely redacted, and we need to know that information, so we will be seeking the complete and un-redacted report, again so we can do our proper oversight.”

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