Congress is back in session, and House Democrats are stepping up their investigations of President Trump and his associates.
Burbank Democrat Adam Schiff is a key player in those probes. As head of the House Intelligence Committee, he’s overseeing ongoing investigations into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, and Trump’s financial ties to Deutsche Bank and Capital One.
Now there's a new look into the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and his dealings with Ukraine.
Schiff tells Press Play that Giuliani has been transparent about trying to get the Ukranian government to help Trump in the 2020 election by investigating Joe Biden and his son’s dealings in the country.
As vice president, Biden sought the ouster of the Ukranian prosecutor general who had opened an investigation into a private gas company. Biden’s son, Hunter, sat on that gas company’s board.
Biden said he called for that prosecutor’s ouster because he wasn’t doing enough to investigate corruption. Ukranian officials have also said they found no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden or his son.
Schiff adds that meanwhile, Giuliani and Trump are withholding military assistance to Ukraine to fight off the Russians. "That's something that was approved on a bipartisan basis. And the idea that they would withhold that support, even while they're improperly and potentially illegally seeking Ukraine's assistance in the next election is the subject of our investigation."
Is Schiff still pursuing leads that could lead to impeachment?
Schiff says yes -- what he's looking at (with the House Intelligence, Judiciary, Oversight, and Financial Services Committees) could lead to an impeachment.
"The president with his violations of the Emoluments Clause, with the illegal receipt of assistance during the last campaign, not just in terms of Russia, but also in terms of prohibited corporate contributions, these hush money payments to try to influence the election by keeping damaging material from from the public -- all of these things and many more could become the grounds for impeachment," Schiff says. "And that is something we are certainly weighing, in addition to the president's obstruction of Congress...because we have, I think, the most comprehensive stonewalling of congressional oversight in history."
What does Schiff make of the Trump firing National Security Adviser John Bolton? Trump said he had “disagreed strongly” with many of Bolton’s suggestions on Iran, North Korea, and Afghanistan.
"John Bolton was always a terrible choice as national security advisor, someone who had a very bombastic reputation, even before the job, and I think proved all of his demerits in the job" Schiff says. "But of course with the Trump administration, it's always an issue of replacing 'bad' often with 'worse.' So I'm not sure who will follow, or whether it will be even worse than Bolton."
--Written by Amy Ta and Michell Eloy