House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) has emerged as a bulwark of the efforts to ensure that whenever Special Counsel Robert Mueller issues his report on his extensive investigations into the Trump campaign’s conspiracy with the Kremlin and the administration’s attempts at obstructing justice by interfering in those investigations, the report won’t be suppressed or hidden from public scrutiny.
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Appearing on ABC‘s This Week with George Stephanopoulos this morning, Congressman Schiff reassured the American public today that he was prepared to do whatever it takes to guarantee that Trump administration staffers and Republican loyalists won’t be able to prevent Mueller’s findings from being revealed — including issuing subpoenas and taking the executive branch to court if the report is not made public.
“We will obviously subpoena the report. We will bring Bob Mueller in to testify before Congress. We will take it to court if necessary,” Schiff told Stephanopoulos. “In the end I think the [Justice] Department understands they’re going to have to make this public. I think [Attorney General William] Barr will ultimately understand that as well.”
Representative Schiff was resolute and determined in his commitment to see that the fruits of the many months of labor by the Special Counsel and his team are made available for all the public to see.
We are going to get to the bottom of this. We are going to share this information with the public,” Schiff said. “And if the president is serious about all his claims of exoneration, then he should welcome the publication of this report.”
While rumors were rife last week that Mueller was wrapping up his investigation and would be issuing his report momentarily, a Justice Department insider told ABC News Friday that the report is not actually imminent.
Congressman Schiff appealed to the desire of newly confirmed Attorney General William Barr — who, having previously served in the same role in the George H. W. Bush White House, has a legacy to uphold — to preserve his reputation as a standard bearer for the rule of law by providing transparency for Mueller’s eventual report.
“Bill Barr has committed in his testimony to making as much of the report public as he can. And the regulations allow him to make it all [public]. We’re going to insist on it becoming public,” Schiff said.
“[If Barr] were to try to withhold, to try to bury any part of this report, that will be his legacy, and it will be a tarnished legacy, so I think there will be immense pressure not only on the department, but on the attorney general to be forthcoming,” Schiff explained.
Saying that he wanted not only the report to made public but also the evidence that underlies it, Schiff was challenged by Stephanopoulos.
“Under Justice Department regulations, officials have said that if you decline to prosecute someone, then the underlying evidence should not be released,” Stephanopoulos pointed out.
The Intel Committee chairman shot back by telling the news anchor that the Justice Department violated those regulations and established a new precedent when in a naked display of partisan rancor they “turned over thousands and thousands of pages of discovery in the Clinton email investigation, and there was no indictment in that investigation.”
“There is certain evidence [that] is only in the hands of the Department of Justice that we can’t get any other way. There were searches conducted, for example, of Roger Stone and Paul Manafort,” he said. “There’s no other way to get the information that was seized except through the department and we can’t tell the country fully what happened without it.”
In the end, however, it’s not just the precedent that Schiff cited as the reason the full Mueller report must be made public. He said that the “intense public need to know” what Mueller has uncovered “overrides any other consideration.”
You can watch a video of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff on ABC‘s This Week in the clip below.
.@GStephanopoulos: Are you prepared to take the administration to court if the Mueller report is not released to the public?
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) February 24, 2019
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Original reporting by Quinn Scanlan at ABC News.