(WASHINGTON) — As House Democrats weigh imposing fines on members of the Trump administration figures to try to force officials to obey subpoenas, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., stressed the importance of having special counsel Robert Mueller testify before Congress.
“The American people have a right to hear what the man who did the investigation has to say and we now know we certainly can’t rely on the attorney general who misrepresented his conclusions,” Schiff said on “This Week” Sunday. “So he is going to testify.”
Schiff also defended potential contempt charges against members of the administration, which he acknowledged would lead to a battle in the courts.
“We’re are going have to use that device if necessary, we’re going to have to use the power of the purse if necessary,” he said. “We’re going to have to enforce our ability to do oversight.”
Speaking later on the show with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said that the investigations have all been “politically motivated.”
“One of the things that Adam Schiff and the other partisans don’t understand is that if you’re accused of a crime by a grand jury and they don’t indict you, the prosecutor doesn’t go all over town saying we thought he did this, we thought he did this, this is all the evidence,” he said.
Paul went on to say that he thinks “most Americans would disagree,” with the hundreds of federal prosecutors who say that President Donald Trump would be prosecuted if he weren’t president. “People are horrified by the idea that you could put someone in jail for obstructing justice on something where you didn’t commit the crime.”
Days after Trump asserted executive privilege over the Mueller report, both Schiff and Paul were asked to defend past comments on former President Barack Obama’s use of executive privilege.
“There are categorical differences,” Schiff said. “So, first, the Obama administration made dozens of witnesses available to the Congress, provided numerous thousands of documents. … But here, the Trump administration has decided to say a blanket no; no to any kind of oversight whatsoever, no witnesses, no documents, no nothing, claiming executive privilege over things that it knows there is no basis for.”
Paul was asked to reconcile past comments calling Obama “a king” for asserting executive privilege with his support of Trump’s move.
“I opposed the president when he unconstitutionally — Obama tried to make DACA or immigration law without Congress, I also opposed President Trump when he tried to spend money that wasn’t appropriated,” he said. “So I think I’m entirely consistent in saying no president should be king, that includes my president.”
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