Adam Schiff, the Democratic representative from California, is up in arms again as a member of the House select committee that is investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Schiff lashed out at the Justice Department for their decision not to prosecute two top aides of former President Donald Trump.
These aides defied congressional subpoenas, and Schiff said that their actions were “deeply troubling.”
Schiff did an interview on Sunday with “Face the Nation,” in which he said it was “puzzling” that the Department of Justice declined to charge former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino. He said that they refused to cooperate with House investigators.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) did choose to indict former White House adviser Peter Navarro and Trump ally Steve Bannon.
Schiff said, “There is no absolute immunity. These witnesses have very relevant testimony to offer in terms of what went into the violence of Jan. 6, the propagation of the big lie. The idea that witnesses could simply fail to show up, and when the statute requires the Justice Department to present those cases to the grand jury, they don’t, is deeply troubling.”
Rep. Schiff indicated that the House select committee hopes to learn more from the DOJ about Meadows and Scavino. He also said that it was a “grave disappointment” and it could impede the committee’s work if witnesses believe that can just refuse to show up without any implications.
All four witnesses, Meadows, Scavino, Navarro, and Bannon, were asked to appear before the House investigators regarding the events on January 6. All four of them refused to comply with the subpoenas for testimony. Because they did not cooperate, the full House voted to hold them in criminal contempt of Congress.
Meadows and Scavino did engage in negotiations with committee lawyers, while Navarro and Bannon refused any cooperation. Meadows turned over 9,000 pages of emails and text messages to the panel before he stopped cooperating.
Schiff believes that Meadows and Scavino worked closely with Trump and were involved in his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 elections. He wants them to testify before the committee and not be able to use executive privilege as a reason not to testify.
Schiff said, “None of this is protected by privilege, and the idea that you can simply refuse to show up rather than show up and say, ‘As to this question, I’m going to exert a privilege,’ that just invites others to be in contempt of Congress or be in contempt of judges around the country, in other courtrooms, and I think it’s a very dangerous precedent to set.”
The whole country will get to hear what the House select committee has found in their investigation surrounding the Capitol attack on January 6. Public hearings will begin on June 9 as the panel describes the timeline in the alleged attempt to stop the transfer of power after the 2020 election.
The panel is preparing to present previously unseen material and provide the American people with a summary of findings in what they believe was a multi-step effort to overturn the presidential election results and stop the transfer of power.
Schiff said that the goal of the committee members is to “present the narrative of what happened in this country, how close we came to losing our democracy, what led to that violent attack on the 6th.”
He said that although the American people have heard some of the bombshells around the insurrection, they have not seen a detailed timeline that shows how one line of effort led to the next and so on. All of these actions led to what Schiff called “terrible violence, the first non-peaceful transfer of power in our history.