Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, hammered Trump for trying to destroy checks and balances while mentioning the potential Trump crime of money laundering for Putin.
In a statement provided to PoliticusUSA, Rep. Schiff said:
In recent interviews, President Trump and his legal team have demonstrated their continuing disdain for the independence of the FBI and Department of Justice. Trump appeared to threaten Special Counsel Bob Mueller, accused Jim Comey of attempting to blackmail him and lying about his conversations with Trump in the Oval Office, and complained about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the Russia investigation. Reportedly, his legal team has disturbingly begun to explore to use of presidential pardons for Trump family members and aides to undercut the Special Counsel’s probe, something Trump should rule out categorically.
There is no doubt that Mueller has the authority to investigate anything that arises from his investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, including financial links, and this is spelled out in the order from the Deputy Attorney General and the law that governs the powers of the Special Counsel. Indeed, this is a very important part of Mueller’s responsibility given that any financial impropriety between Russia and the Trump organization, such as money laundering, could represent just the kind of ‘Kompromat’ that Russia could utilize to influence Administration policy. I have every confidence that Mueller will not respond to the President and his team’s less-than-subtle effort to constrain his probe, and it will be up to Congress to ensure that he has the necessary resources and independence to carry out his investigation.
Trump, also in a recent interview, suggested that the FBI should report directly to the President, a view which is contrary to the long established tradition and policy ensuring the independence of our law enforcement agencies. The FBI Director does not report to the President on specific cases, and someone in the White House needs to counsel the President on the paramount importance of a truly independent Justice Department and Bureau. The decision by Attorney General Sessions to recuse himself was dictated by DOJ policy and the result of his intimate role in Trump’s campaign and his subsequent misleading statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee about his contacts with Russian officials. This is not about being ‘fair’ to the President; it is about being true to the system of checks and balances and following the law.
The point of Schiff’s statement is that our democratic system of governance is under attack from Trump. The President is trying to destroy any check on his power. Rep. Schiff’s specific mention of money laundering was intriguing because it is the second time in two days that Trump, his family, his businesses, and his associates have been mentioned in the same sentence as a serious crime.
Trump pointed his investigators towards his finances when he declared them off limits to the investigation.
Schiff was correct. This investigation isn’t about fairness. It is about potential Trump campaign collusion with Russia, and money goes straight to the root of the relationship and the motive.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association