March 10 (UPI) — House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday that it would be a “mistake” for special counsel Robert Mueller not to get in-person testimony from President Donald Trump as part of his Russia probe.
Schiff, D-Calif., told NBC News’ Meet the Press that he believes a face-to-face interview with Trump would be the most effective method to get information regarding any potential collusion with Russia by Trump or his campaign during the election or possible obstruction of justice into the probe.
“I do think ultimately it’s a mistake because probably the best way to get the truth would be to put the president under oath,” said Schiff. “As he’s made plain in the past, he feels it’s perfectly fine to lie to the public. After all, he has said, ‘It’s not like I’m talking before a magistrate.’ Well, maybe he should talk before a magistrate.”
Trump submitted written answers to questions posed by Mueller and his team in November, but Schiff said such forms of testimony often don’t provide the full story.
“I’ve said all along that I don’t think Bob Mueller should rely on written answers,” he said. “When you get written answers from a witness, it’s really the lawyers’ answers as much as the client’s answer. And here you need to be able to ask follow-up questions in real time.”
The written answers didn’t provide clarity on questions surrounding possible obstruction of justice into the Russia investigation and Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, later said his legal team wouldn’t provide additional answers.
Schiff also said he believes Mueller was constrained by former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who he said was “appointed because he would be hostile to a subpoena on the president” and current Attorney General William Barr “who was chosen for the same hostility to his investigation.”
“I also think that the special counsel feels some time pressure to conclude his work,” he said. “And knowing that the White House would drag out a fight over the subpoena, that may be an issue as well.”