Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who chairs the House intelligence committee and serves on the Jan. 6 select committee, on Sunday said that the committee investigating the events of Jan. 6 will “move quickly” to refer Trump former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for criminal contempt after his refusal to meet with congressional investigators last week.
“I’m confident we’ll move very quickly with respect to Mr. Meadows also, but we want to make sure that we have the strongest possible case to present to the Justice Department and for the Justice Department to present to a grand jury,” Schiff said during an interview on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
Schiff added that means ensuring that the committee “bends over backwards” to reach any agreement it can with witnesses that are willing to engage.
“But when ultimately witnesses decide, as Meadows has, that they’re not even going to bother showing up, that they have that much contempt for the law, then it pretty much forces our hand and we’ll move quickly,” Schiff said.
Schiff also told “Meet the Press” that the two counts of contempt of Congress against Trump adviser Steve Bannon could send a signal to other witnesses who refuse to engage with the committee to reconsider their decision.
“Now that witnesses see that if they don’t cooperate, if they don’t fulfill their lawful duty when subpoenaed, that they, too, may be prosecuted, it will have a very strong focusing effect on their decision making,” Schiff said. “So, it’s very positive. I view this as an early test of whether our democracy was recovering. If our law is to mean anything, it has to be applied equally. And so, I’m very glad the Justice Department has moved forward in this fashion.”
Schiff’s remarks come days after the leaders of the Jan. 6 committee issued a statement rife with threats to Meadows following Bannon’s indictment.
“Mr. Meadows’s actions today — choosing to defy the law — will force the Select Committee to consider pursuing contempt or other proceedings to enforce the subpoena,” chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and vice chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) wrote in a statement on Friday.
“If his defiance persists and that process moves ahead, the record will reveal the wide range of matters the Select Committee wished to discuss with Mr. Meadows until his decision to hide behind the former President’s spurious claims of privilege,” Thompson and Cheney continued. “Many of those matters are not even conceivably subject to any privilege claim, even if there were one.”
Shortly after the release of the statement he issued with Cheney, Thompson told reporters later Friday that he will be recommending a contempt of Congress against Meadows next week much like the committee did for Bannon.
Watch Schiff’s remarks below: