U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) continued his demand for President Donald Trump’s tax returns this week.
Following a U.S. Supreme Court decision rebuffing congressional subpoenas for the president’s financial records, he declared that “the country continues to be at jeopardy” because lawmakers do not have the information they need to complete ongoing investigations.
Schiff’s comments came on Thursday during an interview on MSNBC.
“He must comply with the legal process”
House Democrats have attempted to obtain Trump’s taxes since his election, but the high court’s ruling means that their goal will not be successful any time soon. The decision sent the case back to lower courts.
While justices did not agree with Trump’s attorneys who argued he had absolute immunity from congressional probes, they cited the Constitution’s separation of powers in determining that legislators cannot take advantage of the “unique position” of the president.
Schiff held to one aspect of the decision as support of his position that Trump should be subject to subpoenas.
“Thankfully, you know, as I mentioned, we have a, once again, an affirmation even by justices that Donald Trump appointed that, no, as 200 years of jurisprudence demonstrate, this president is not above the law,” he said. “He must comply with the legal process.”
“New tests that the Supreme Court enumerated”
The congressman went on to lash out at U.S. Attorney General William Barr, calling him a “second defense attorney and defense counsel for the president” after he supported the White House’s immunity argument.
“I’m not surprised that Barr finds it a bitter pill to swallow that the president is not above the law,” Schiff said. “He takes the legal view that essentially the president can’t violate the law because he is the law, and Bill Barr is essentially the hand of the president to implement his will. It’s why the Justice Department under Barr doesn’t represent justice. It doesn’t represent the public interest.”
Schiff’s criticism of the attorney general is the latest in a series of such remarks and actions by Democratic lawmakers. A resolution to impeach Barr has attracted 35 co-sponsors in the House.
As for this week’s ruling, he says he does not see it as an impediment to the congressional effort to investigate Trump, vowing that his party is “very confident we can meet these new tests that the Supreme Court enumerated.”
It is still unclear precisely what Democrats hope to find in Trump’s tax returns, but Schiff’s latest comments are sure to fuel ongoing speculation that this is all part of a “witch hunt” against the current administration.