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 SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial Democrats' impeachment case lands with a thud with GOP — but real audience is voters MORE (D-Calif.) suggested in an interview that aired Sunday that impeachment proceeding against President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial 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) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay 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 BarrWilliam Pelham BarrLawmaker wants Chinese news outlet to register as foreign agent The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Barr wrote 2018 memo contradicting Trump's claim that abuse of power is not impeachable 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.