The following is a transcript of an interview with Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California that aired Sunday, July 24, 2022, on “Face the Nation.”
MARGARET BRENNAN: Joining us now is a member of that panel, Congressman Adam Schiff of California, who is also the chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Good to have you here with us.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Thank you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Before I go further on January 6, I do want to quickly just button up what Dr. Jha addressed in regard to that letter you wrote this week in regard to monkeypox. You said the federal response falls short in terms of supply and timeliness, regarding a vaccine. The current supply accounts for only three and a half million residents. Some shipments are not even expected to arrive until 2023. Why do you think the federal response is failing when Dr. Jha says it’s contained and under control?
REP. SCHIFF: I don’t know why there aren’t more vaccines available. I’m hearing from health care providers in my district that there are people lining up to get vaccinated and they don’t have the vaccines for them, and that is a real problem. As I think you indicated, we really don’t know the future course of this virus. But what we do now, early on, just as was the case with the pandemic, will determine just how bad this may get. And so I want to light a fire under the administration and get them to make sure that we up production, that we up distribution and that people that are ready and willing and able to get vaccinated have the ability to protect themselves.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll continue tracking that on this program. But, let me get back to January 6. When you were last on this program, you said you believed that it would be more dangerous for the Justice Department to decide against prosecuting the former president than it would be to go ahead with a prosecution. Here’s how Attorney General Merrick Garland responded when my colleague Jeff Pegues asked him about potential prosecution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ATTORNEY GENERAL MERRICK GARLAND: Look, no person is above the law in this country. Nothing stops us-
JEFF PEGUES: Even a former president?
ATTORNEY GENERAL GARLAND: No- I don’t know how to- maybe say that again. No person is above the law in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARGARET BRENNAN: What do you make of those remarks?
REP. SCHIFF: Well, the Attorney General is committed to following the evidence to wherever it may lead and it has led to Donald Trump. And so I think the president should be investigated. Whether they’ll ultimately conclude they have proved beyond reasonable doubt to- to charge him and to convict him, that’s- that will it be up to the department but when we have demonstrated it, just in the last couple of hearings is that when all else failed, when all these other lines of effort to overturn the election failed, he made the decision to bring a mob to the Capitol. When he learned they were armed, his response was, ‘then take the magnetometers down.’ He wanted to march with that mob, that armed and dangerous mob to the Capitol when he was refused and brought to the safety of the cafeteria or the dining room of the White House, he wouldn’t lift a finger as he watched on TV. Police officers being beaten and gouged and sprayed with chemicals in you know the most supreme dereliction of duty ever, but also, those multiple lines of effort, I think, invoke various criminal laws and his conduct ought to be the subject of investigation.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we’ll see if the Justice Department starts one. On the things that the committee has laid out in this congressional forum, we still haven’t seen a direct link substantiated between the White House officials and the militias like the Proud Boys and the Oathkeepers who were part of the violence that day. Are you still trying to substantiate that?
REP. SCHIFF: That remains an ongoing part of our investigation. We have certainly shown some links between the president, the key advisors like Roger Stone and Mike Flynn, and elements of these white nationalist groups, but that component of our investigation continues. And, as is the case more broadly, witnesses continue to come forward. We’ll be presenting new information in the fall. But, you know, as we continue to ask about additional evidence, I think we really need to think about what we’ve demonstrated already, about the President’s knowledge that the election wasn’t stolen, and his response and his intent, and to me that is most graphically demonstrated, when he told top Justice Department officials basically to say- just say the election was stolen or just say it was corrupt and that he would take care of the rest. Those kind of pieces of testimony; they’re directly on the President’s knowledge and intent. And this gets back to your previous question about the Justice Department. Hope they’re watching; I hope they’re watching carefully, and I hope they understand the implications of what we’re presenting.
MARGARET BRENNAN: When it comes to implications, your colleague Liz Cheney was on two other networks this morning, and she said that you all are discussing a potential subpoena for Ginni Thomas, who is married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Are there lines that shouldn’t be crossed here when it comes to the Supreme Court? Because one of the objections to the premise of a subpoena here is that it- it sets a dangerous precedent by putting the spouse of a justice in this political forum.
REP. SCHIFF: There are lines that shouldn’t be crossed, but those lines involve sitting Supreme Court justices, not presiding or- or appearing or taking action in cases in which their spouse may be implicated. And in this case, for Clarence Thomas to issue a decision, in a case of dissent, in a case where Congress is trying to get documents, and those documents might involve his own wife, that’s the line that’s been crossed. And I think, for Congress to be looking into these issues, looking into conflict of interest issues. But here, looking into issues whether it involves the wife of a Supreme Court justice or anyone else, if they have information or role in an effort to overturn an election. Yes, they’re not excluded from examination.
MARGARET BRENNAN: It sounds like you’re saying you favor that subpoena?
REP. SCHIFF: Well, I- if she has relevant information or investigation, we hope she comes in voluntarily. But if she doesn’t, then we should give that a serious consideration. And, yes, I think those that we decided have important enough information should be subpoenaed.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman Cheney also said the Committee expects to hear again from Tony Ornato, that lead Secret Service agent, and that both he and another have hired private criminal defense counsel. What does that suggest to you?
REP. SCHIFF: Well, you know, I think if they’re hiring criminal defense counsel, then they probably have a concern about their potential criminal liability. We want to hear from these witnesses. Some we want to hear from again. We want to put them under oath if they weren’t previously under oath, so that we can understand exactly what was happening on January 5 and January 6. And we have profound concerns about what’s going on at the Secret Service. We are now, for the first time, getting documents that we had requested long, long ago. There’s one issue about why they weren’t provided earlier, but they’re also showing us some new things. And- and furthermore, we want to obtain those text messages if there’s any way to retrieve them. But either way, we want to get answers as to why those were destroyed.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. We will continue to watch what the committee does when you reconvene in the fall. Thank you very much, Congressman.