Jan. 6 panel member Schiff says that if DOJ doesn't investigate Trump it sends message presidents are above the law

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Jan. 6 panel member Schiff says that if DOJ doesn't investigate Trump it sends message presidents are above the law
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Adam Schiff
Rep. Adam Schiff (L) and others are seen during the sixth public hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol, in Washington, DC, USA, 28 June 2022.Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Rep. Adam Schiff said he believes Donald Trump broke the law after losing the 2020 election.

  • He said if the Justice Department doesn't act it'll be sending the message Trump is above the law.

  • The Jan 6 committee presented evidence that Trump sought to lead an armed mob to the Capitol.

Jan. 6 committee member Rep. Adam Schiff called on the Justice Department to investigate former President Donald Trump, saying he believes Trump broke the law trying to cling to power after the 2020 election.

Schiff, a California Democrat, was interviewed on CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, where he discussed new witness testimony from a former White House aide.

The aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, alleged that Trump sought to lead a mob of his supporters to the Capitol on January 6, 2021, knowing some were carrying weapons. She said he was prevented from going by the Secret Service.

Schiff argued that the testimony warrants official action from the DOJ, which he said had to act or risk sending the message that criminality by a president is acceptable.

"I think there's evidence the former president engaged in multiple violations of the law and that should be investigated," Schiff said.

"For four years the Justice Department took the position that you can't indict a sitting president," he added.

"If the department were now to take the position that you can't investigate or indict a former president, then a president becomes above the law. That's a very dangerous idea that the Founders would have never subscribed to."

Schiff argued that not investigating someone because of their political status is "far more dangerous thing to our Constitution than following the evidence wherever it leads, including when it leads to a former president."

Schiff's words reflect those of Rep. Liz Cheney, the ranking Republican on the committee, who has said the committee might make a criminal referral to the DOJ.

A referral would not oblige the DOJ to do anything, but would be a very public prompt.

The DoJ is also pursuing its own, separate investigation into the Capitol riot. It is not clear whether this investigation includes Trump himself in its scope.

Indicting a former president would be a historic move, and Attorney General Merrick Garland is said to be concerned that a prosecution could risk the DOJ's political neutrality.

Legal analysts have said that Trump could face charges over his bid to overturn the election, drawing on evidence from the committee suggesting that he sought to overturn the election despite the fact that he knew, or should have known, that his claims of mass election fraud were false.

Analysts also highlighted as damaging the claims that he and his circle were in close contact with ringleaders of the protests on January 6, 2021, which preceded the riot at the Capitol.

Trump has claimed that he genuinely believes his election fraud claims, and has dismissed Hutchinson's testimony about him as false.

Read the original article on Business Insider