The incoming chair of the House intelligence committee, Rep. Adam Schiff explained to This Week host George Stephanopoulos why Trump and his businesses are compromised by the Russians and how the problem is "far broader than we thought."
December 2, 2018

Incoming House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff shot down Trump ally Roger Stone's lame attempt at damage control during an interview just prior to his on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, and also explained why the problems with Trump and his business being compromised by the Russians are "broader than we thought" prior to the plea deal Michael Cohen reached with Robert Mueller:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Of course it was Michael Cohen who pled guilty this week to false statements to Congress, that (ph) admission he lied about working on the Trump Tower in Moscow to protect President Trump.

What does that tell you, what does that agreement and what you’ve learned about it tell you about Mueller’s core areas of focus, collusion with Russia, possible obstruction of justice by President Trump?

SCHIFF: Well it tell me a couple things, it tells me that he wanted to lock in Michael Cohen. There was no reason for that plea, for that additional count. It’s not going to materially affect his sentence.

But it does have the benefit of making sure that nothing changes down the road, that there’s no pardon that causes this witness to go south. I think the likelihood of that was very remote, but nonetheless as a prosecutor, you don’t like to take chances.

It also tells me that he wanted to put all this on the record, he wanted this out in the public domain. And that raises a concern for me, why does Bob Mueller feel it necessary to do that?

Is it that he fears that Mr. Whitaker will shut him down or prevent him from telling the country what happened? So that’s some of the – I think the procedural significance, but the very broad significance here, George, is that there is now testimony, there is now a witness who confirms that in the same way Michael Flynn was compromised, that the president and his business are compromised.

And that is the national security – former national security advisor Michael Flynn was compromised because he was saying things – things publicly that were not true about discussions with the Russians over sanctions.

And now we have Michael Cohen saying that what the president was saying, what Michael Cohen was saying and others were saying about when this business deal ended was not true.

And once more, the Russians knew it wasn’t true, that at the same time that Donald Trump was the Presumptive nominee of the GOP, and arguing in favor of doing away with sanctions, he was working on a deal that would require doing away with sanctions for him to make money in Russia.

That is a real problem, it means that the compromise is far broader than we thought.

After playing a clip of Trump trying to explain away the Moscow deal, claiming it was "very legal and very cool," Schiff explained why it was neither:

SCHIFF: Well whether it was legal or not remains to be seen. It certainly wasn’t very cool. More than that, it was very compromising of our country. In order for this Trump Tower deal to go through, sanctions had to be lifted on a Russian state bank.

At the same time, Donald Trump is out there pushing to lift sanctions on Russia and this bank. There’s no way to describe that as cool or ethical or in the national interest. It means that the president, whether he won or lost, was hoping to make money from Russia, was seeking at the same time to enlist the support of the Kremlin to make that money.

And once more, when this came to light, the Kremlin intervened, Mr. Peskov, the spokesman for the Kremlin intervened to help Donald Trump and his business in the cover up.

That is so deeply compromising and we have to remember what the – the Mueller investigation began as the Comey investigation was a counterintelligence investigation. That is an investigation into whether Donald Trump and his organization were compromised.

And now, via Michael Cohen, we find out that yes, there was compromise and that puts our country at risk.

We're all about to find out just how badly once Schiff takes over the Intelligence Committee.

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