The Slatest

Rep. Schiff: Trump May “Face the Real Prospect of Jail Time”

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) arrives for a Democratic caucus meeting in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center November 14, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) arrives for a Democratic caucus meeting in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center November 14, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democrat from California who is likely to be the next chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that President Trump could very well face jail time following the latest disclosure that laid out how prosecutors believe he orchestrated illegal payments during his presidential campaign. “There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him,” Schiff said on CBS’ Face the Nation. “That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.”

Schiff noted that while there has long been talk about Trump offering to pardon people to motivate them to keep silent, the real question may be whether the next president will pardon Trump. “We have been discussing the issue of pardons the president may offer to people or dangle in front of people,” Schiff said. “The bigger pardon question may come down the road, as the next president has to determine whether to pardon Donald Trump.”

Schiff wasn’t the only Democrat to highlight the seriousness of the allegations that were laid out in Friday’s court filings. Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York said that if the claims that Trump directed his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to make illegal payments to women during the presidential campaign “they would be impeachable offenses.” A different matter though is whether the payments were so important that they justify taking such a strong action. “Whether they’re important enough to justify an impeachment is a different question,” Nadler, who will likely be the next chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said on CNN. “Certainly, they’re impeachable offenses, because, even though they were committed before the president became president, they were committed in the service of fraudulently obtaining the office.” Nadler made sure to emphasize that “you don’t necessarily launch an impeachment against the President because he committed an impeachable offense,”