Adam Schiff responded Wednesday to the potential third round of charges former President Donald Trump faces in relation to the 2021 insurrection on the Capitol, predicting that Special Counsel Jack Smith “will be conservative in the charging around Jan. 6” because he wants the “most provable, strongest case.”
The comments came on Wednesday evening’s “All In With Chris Hayes,” with MSNBC’s Ali Velshi stepping in to host for Hayes this week.
Noting that as a member of the House select committee investigating the insurrection, Schiff recommended the charge of aiding an insurrection, Velshi explained that “our reporting at the moment does not indicate that that’s being included” in the Justice Department’s charges.
Similar findings were determined by the New York Times, which instead predicted potential charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States government and obstruction of an official proceeding, both of which were also recommended by the committee.
“Tell me what your thoughts are on that being left out of these potential charges,” Velshi posed of the outlying charge.
“We thought there was certainly a strong body of evidence the department should consider,” Schiff said, citing Trump’s response of “take down the effing mags” to the haphazard use of Capitol metal detectors for armed insurrectionists as an example of his aid. “This is powerful evidence of his involvement and the incitement, his knowledge that these people were armed and dangerous.”
“But having been a federal prosecutor myself,” Schiff continued, “they are going to look for what is the most provable, strongest case. [Smith has] been very conservative in the charging at Mar-a-Lago, I think he’ll be conservative in the charging around Jan. 6, if indeed he brings charges against the former president.”
Velshi then probed for Schiff’s opinion on whether or not the potential charges as they currently stand effectively hold Trump and his actions surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection to account.
“Again, we don’t know — this is some reporting we’ve got, but we don’t know until we see that target letter,” Velshi began, teeing up his final question. “What’s your sense of these charges as they’re being discussed right now, these potential charges, reflect the gravity of what Donald Trump did? You made the point that Jack Smith might be conservative about this because he needs a case to actually prove and hopefully one that doesn’t drag into 2025. Does it reflect, for the viewer, for the American public, the gravity of what Donald Trump did?”
“Well, I certainly hope that whatever charges are brought does reflect the gravity, but I also completely agree with you, Ali, that this is the most serious set of potential charges,” Schiff concluded. “Mar-a-Lago is very serious. It threatened the nation’s security. The charges in New York are also serious, committing multiple acts of business fraud is no laughing matter. But here, you’re talking about charges going to the heart of our democracy, charges involving the first effort to essentially prevent the peaceful transfer of power in our history, so any charges regarding Jan. 6, I think, by definition are going to be the most serious charges against Donald Trump.”
Watch Schiff’s full “All In” interview in the clip above.