Schiff: Trump, Barr ‘Can’t Gaslight History’ — Flynn Was a ‘Prime Counterterrorism Risk’

Schiff: Trump, Barr ‘Can’t Gaslight History’ — Flynn Was a ‘Prime Counterterrorism Risk’

Friday on MSNBC’s “The Beat,” House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said Attorney General Bill Barr’s Justice Department doing President Donald Trump’s “dirty work” by dropping the case against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was an attempt to “gaslight history.”

Melber said, “What is your response first to the legal development of the Justice Department taking this unusual step, trying to cancel a guilty plea that already existed?”

Schiff said, “Well, the usual response to so many events within the Trump administration, shock, being aghast, and yet not at all surprised because this is the history of this president and this attorney general who views his job as essentially carrying out the dirty work for the president. Let’s remember what was at stake here. The president of the United States, then Barack Obama, imposes sanctions on Russia for interfering in a U.S. election. One of the chief surrogates of Donald Trump, who the Russians have just helped get elected, has secret conversations with the Russians designed to undermine those sanctions. And then he lies about it. Lies about it to the vice president. The vice president goes out and misleads the country about it, and the FBI becomes concerned that Flynn is compromised because, of course, the Russians know that he’s lied. And those lies have now been amplified by the vice president’s statements. That is a prime counterterrorism risk and the subject of a more than valid counterintelligence investigation.”

He continued, “What Bill Barr said in dismissing this case is no, we shouldn’t look into those things. And what’s more, if you lie to the FBI about those things, it’s perfectly fine. But what he’s really saying is if you are a friend of the president, then justice doesn’t matter anymore in this country. In that respect, I think we have rolled the clock back half a century to the days of Watergate, and we have really invalidated so many of the reforms we have put in place to protect the independence of the Justice Department.”

Melber said, “If this rolls back one of the convictions, one of the legal victories of the Mueller probe, and the president gets away with this and continues, and Bill Barr says out in the open, well, might makes right. The victors write history, not something we are supposed to hear from a nonpartisan Justice Department. What do you say to people who are concerned that the president is basically getting away with it all?”

Schiff said, “First of all, I would say to Bill Barr, you can’t gaslight history. I don’t think the fact that you tried to create this false narrative is ultimately going to succeed. Over much of the obstruction of the administration, we have uncovered a great deal of the president’s misconduct vis-a-vis Russia and Ukraine, and we will uncover the misconduct going forward. So I don’t think he is right about that, as brash as it is and ugly to hear from an attorney general. In terms of the president and his threats of vengeance and whatnot, none of that, Ari, as you know, is new. And we’re going to have to defend the institutions of this democracy until this threat no longer persists. There is reason why this case is being dismissed under the cloak of a pandemic under the cloak of night, and it’s because they don’t want these things to really see the light of day. Even during a pandemic.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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