House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) blew up Trump claims that his phone call with Ukraine’s president is privileged and can’t be released.”
TAPPER: Well, I said that to Secretary Mnuchin just two minutes ago, why not just release this to settle the issue? And he said, because it would set a horrible precedent, because world leaders should be able to talk to President Trump without having those conversations shared. Your response to that?
SCHIFF: Well, not if those conversations involve potential corruption or criminality or leverage being used for political advantage against our nation’s interest. And that’s what’s at stake here. This would be, I think, the most profound violation of the presidential oath of office, certainly during this presidency, which says a lot, but perhaps during just about any presidency. There is no privilege that covers corruption. There is no privilege to engage in underhanded discussions. And, again, I don’t know if this is the subject of the whistle-blower complaint. But if it is, it needs to be exposed.
And we know the inspector general found that complaint urgent. We also know the inspector general found this did not involve a policy disagreement. It’s one thing if you’re talking about a presidential communication that involves a policy issue. That is not a valid whistle-blower complaint. But, here, the inspector general said, this is not what is at issue. We’re talking about serious or flagrant abuse, impropriety, potential violation of law.
And there’s no privilege that protects that. And the reason I think that, if these two issues are, in fact, one issue, if there is a relationship between this complaint and this issue, you have not only this illicit conduct by the president of the United States, but you also have the added element of a cover-up.
Chairman Schiff was right. If Trump’s behavior was criminal, there is no privilege covering that phone call. Executive privilege does not extend to cover potentially criminal activity by the president. Trump knows this at some level, which is why he keeps saying that he did nothing wrong during the phone call. However, Chairman Schiff also pointed out during the same CNN interview that if Trump did nothing wrong, there is no reason for him not to release the transcript of the call.
Trump can’t hide his potentially criminal efforts to rope Ukraine into a conspiracy against Joe Biden.
The Democratic House is proving to be a valuable check against Trump’s efforts to smear his way into a second term.