House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff says special counsel Robert Mueller made a “mistake” by not interviewing Donald Trump personally but instead agreeing to accept his response through writing, according to TPM.
Speaking to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Schiff said that it was clear why Donald Trump’s attorneys didn’t want the president to have a sit-down with Mueller. Schiff said that Trump is “pathologically incapable of telling the truth for long periods of time,” meaning the special counsel would have done better than to trust his written words.
Making his own assessment about the report, Schiff maintained that Trump’s responses were more on the lines of what an attorney would say.
“It was a mistake to rely on written responses by the President,” Schiff said. “[Those answers reflect] generally more what the lawyer has to say than what the individual has to say.”
He said the only means to make Trump speak the truth was to grill him under oath.
“The President is someone who seems pathologically incapable of telling the truth for long periods of time. If you really do want the truth, you need to put people under oath, and that should have been done.”
But while Schiff lamented the fact that Mueller was not more assertive about having an interview, he maintained that “significant evidence of collusion” still existed, according to Politico.
— The Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 24, 2019
He said that just because Mueller didn’t indict the president doesn’t mean that the special counsel didn’t find “compelling evidence” of collusion. Added to the fact that Trump cannot be indicted, Schiff added, it could also mean that Mueller realized that it was difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the president indulged in a criminal conspiracy with the Russians.
“There’s a difference between compelling evidence of collusion and whether the special counsel concludes that he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the criminal charge of conspiracy,” Schiff said.
He added that although it was a “mistake” for Robert Mueller not to have interviewed Trump, he had full faith in his prosecutorial judgment. Schiff said it was time for the report to be made public because only American people could decide if the president is culpable or not.
It is not yet clear if Mueller’s report will see the light of day. Attorney General William Barr has so far stalled releasing the report even to Congress, but increasing pressure from all sides — and especially from the House Democrats — could mean that he won’t be able to do for much longer.
Schiff: "It was a mistake to rely on written responses by the President" rather than interviewing him in person. pic.twitter.com/sVFoD5gwfm
— Matt Shuham (@mattshuham) March 24, 2019