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 SchiffSchiff blasts DOJ over memo on withholding Trump tax returns Schiff blasts DOJ over memo on withholding Trump tax returns Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data MORE (D-Calif.) suggested in an interview that aired Sunday that impeachment proceeding against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' 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 MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump 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 BarrTrump's Justice Department should change its tune on antitrust policy Schiff blasts DOJ over memo on withholding Trump tax returns Trump remarks deepen distrust with intelligence community 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.