Schiff: Impeachment proceedings could be 'tool' to get information, evidence

Schiff: Impeachment proceedings could be 'tool' to get information, evidence
© House Intelligence Committee

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse erupts in anger over Jan. 6 and Trump's role Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections Lobbying world MORE (D-Calif.) suggested in an interview that aired Sunday that impeachment proceeding against President TrumpDonald TrumpPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Has Trump beaten the system? MORE could be used as an oversight tool to gain information that the House has been seeking. 

Schiff said on CBS's Face the Nation that what could drive impeachment is not the president's conduct in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's report, but rather how the administration "is engaging in a maximum obstructionism campaign against Congress."

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"I think that we are seeing more members that recognize that the administration is acting in a lawless fashion, essentially having obstructed justice, is now obstructing Congress and our lawful function.," he said. "And if we conclude that there's no other way to do our jobs, no other way to do the oversight, no other way to show the American people what this president has done, his- his unethical and illegal acts as outlined in the Mueller Report, then we may get there."

Host Margaret Brennan asked Schiff if he was saying that opening up impeachment proceedings would allow him to get necessary information and evidence, even if it ultimately fails to remove the president. 

"It provides an additional tool," Schiff said. "We have been gradually escalating the tactics we need to use to get information for the American people."

"If the only way that we can do our oversight is through an impeachment proceeding then maybe we have to go down that road," he added. "But I think it'll be important to show the American people this was a decision made reluctantly."

The White House last week defied a House Judiciary Committee subpoena for records related to its oversight. The Treasury Department also rejected a congressional subpoena for Trump's tax returns, with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin saying in a letter that the demand "lacks a legitimate legislative purpose."

Earlier this month, the Judiciary panel voted to hold Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump: Washington/Lincoln ticket would have had hard time beating me before pandemic Trump says Barr 'never' told him he thought he'd lose election Speeches aren't enough: Biden must ditch bipartisanship, endorse ending filibuster MORE in contempt of court after he did not comply with a subpoena for an unredacted version of the Mueller report and its underlying evidence.