Schiff: McCarthy 'will do whatever Trump tells him' if GOP wins back House

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffJan. 6 panel releases contempt report on Trump DOJ official ahead of censure vote The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to update Americans on omicron; Congress back Sunday shows - Spotlight shifts to omicron variant MORE (D-Calif.) is warning that if Republicans win the lower chamber in next year's midterms, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyDemocratic caucus chairs call for Boebert committee assignment removal War of words escalates in House The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud MORE (R-Calif.) will “do whatever Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE tells him.”

“I worry for the country's future if someone as unethical as Kevin McCarthy were ever to hold the reins of power, because at the end of the day if someone that unscrupulous is running the GOP and the House of Representatives, he will do whatever Donald Trump tells him,” Schiff says during an interview with Showtime’s “The Circus,” provided in advance exclusively to The Hill.

Schiff’s comments came during a conversation about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The California Democrat sits on the House select committee probing the deadly riot, which has already sent out a number of subpoenas requesting testimony and documents related to the incident, including to individuals close to the former president.


One such subpoena recipient is ex-Trump White House strategist Stephen Bannon, who refused to comply with the panel’s request for documents and testimony ahead of a Thursday deadline, pointing to a yet-to-be filed lawsuit from Trump contending that the documents and testimony requested are protected by executive privilege.

As a result, the committee on Thursday said it plans to refer Bannon to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.

When asked by “The Circus” host and co-executive producer John Heilemann in the interview set to air at 8 p.m. Eastern on Sunday if aggressively seeking Bannon’s compliance on the subpoena could set a dangerous precedent, Schiff stressed the importance of the committee’s work and said it will do whatever it can to get answers regarding the assault.

“We need to get answers to how this attack on the Capitol took place, why it took place, what we need to do to protect the country going forward. And frankly, what was the president's role before, during and after that insurrection,” Schiff said.

“Do we need to use every tool to get answers, and I think the answer is yes,” he added.


Asked if he worries that if the panel decides to “go all the way” to secure Bannon’s testimony that Republicans may use it against Democrats and the administration when they are back in power, Schiff warned against McCarthy ever serving as Speaker before emphasizing the importance of getting to the bottom of what happened.

“Exposing what took place and the role of the former president, members of Congress of necessary, insurrectionist, organizations, white nationalist groups — the public is going to find out,” he said. “We're going to make sure they know.”

The Hill has reached out to McCarthy's office for a response.

The minority leader has acknowledged speaking to Trump during the Capitol breach, but he has yet to confirm reports that the then-president suggested the mob of his supporters were "more upset about the election than you are."


After the riot, McCarthy has repeatedly defended Trump, who became the first U.S. president impeached twice.

The Jan. 6 committee is now tasked with writing a report outlining the efforts the panel took to get Bannon to agree to the subpoena, and his refusal to do so. That report will then go to the House for a vote.

If approved, authority will then be shifted to the Justice Department to determine how aggressively it wants to pursue Bannon. That decision would likely be made by the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., in addition to top lawyers at the main Justice Department.