Rep. Adam Schiff: Robert Mueller Making 'Mistake' If he Doesn't Subpoena Donald Trump to Testify Under Oath

Amid ongoing rumors and reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is winding down his investigation into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, it appears less and less likely that investigators will ask President Donald Trump to appear before a grand jury to provide testimony under oath. That would be a big mistake, says one powerful Democratic congressman.

Rep. Adam Schiff, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, appeared Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press and explained why he believe it is important that Mueller not just get Trump's written answers to questions submitted by the special counsel's office, but that the president be forced to testify under oath.

"I’ve said all along that I don’t think Bob Mueller should rely on written answers," the congressman from California told host Chuck Todd. "When you get written answers from the witness it’s really the lawyers’ answers as much as the client’s answer, and here you need to be able to ask follow-up questions in real-time."

As for why Mueller has not yet — and may never — issued a subpoena seeking Trump's information, Schiff offered a couple of theories.

"I think the constraint that Bob Mueller is operating under is he had an acting attorney general who was appointed because he would be hostile to a subpoena on the president and now he has a permanent attorney general who was chosen for the same hostility to this investigation, who would likely oppose that step," he explains referring to now-former Acting Attorney General Mark Whitaker, who had made public statements deriding the Mueller investigation before being named to the temporary post, and current Attorney General William Barr, who was similarly critical of the special counsel prior to being confirmed.

There is also the matter of a ticking clock, added Schiff, explaining, "the special counsel feels some time pressure to conclude his work and, knowing that the White House would drag out a fight over the subpoena, that may be an issue as well."

Schiff concluded by attempting to turn Trump's own words against him, arguing that the "best way to get the truth would be to put the president under oath, because as he’s made plain in the past he feels it’s perfectly fine to lie to the public. After all, he has said, 'It’s not like I’m talking before a magistrate'… Well, maybe he should talk before a magistrate."

Adam Schiff Rep. Adam Schiff, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, appears on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, May 10, 2019. Meet the Press

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