In an interview Monday with Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC, Rep. Adam Schiff said Democrats warned Senators of the damage President Trump could inflict if they did not vote to convict and remove him from office after he was impeached in the House. “Little did we know just how great the casualties would be,” Schiff said. Schiff denounced Trump for “his effort to deflect responsibility on China for many of the administration’s own failings.” “I think what they’re clearly trying to do is deflect attention away from administration’s terrible mishandling of this virus and all of the false narrative that the president was putting out early on about this going away on its own, being no worse than the flu, that we’re going to contain it down to zero. And so, they’ve chosen to go after China,” Schiff said. “Look, there is a lot to criticize China about,” Schiff said. “I don’t want to make any mistakes about that. They should have been far more transparent about the human to human transmission and they did conceal things.”
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Anthony Fauci in this interview today has very little patience for any discussions about what might or might not have happened in Chinese laboratory. He’s saying, look, this was transmitted from bats. We’ve seen this pattern before. We know how to detect it. It’s not a mystery for him. REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, look, the president, as you know, a couple days ago said that he has high confidence that this virus escaped the lab. Secretary Pompeo said there’s enormous evidence of that. If there is anything to have high confidence about in that regard or enormous evidence, they have yet to share it with Congress. And we are told that we are currently informed on the latest intelligence. So I don’t know where they’re getting this, apart from either expressing their desire or their — withholding information from Congress, but I don’t see what’s gained by doing so. I think what they’re clearly trying to do is deflect attention away from administration’s terrible mishandling of this virus and all of the false narrative that the president was putting out early on about this going away on its own, being no worse than the flu, that we’re going to contain it down to zero. And so, they’ve chosen to go after China. Look, there is a lot to criticize China about. I don’t want to make any mistakes about that. They should have been far more transparent about the human to human transmission and they did conceal things. But whether they can get the intelligence agencies to somehow search for the conclusion they want to reach, that’s not how the agencies are supposed to work, and there’s a danger in the administration either putting out theories that cannot be substantiated or deliberately provoking a fight during the middle of a pandemic. O’DONNELL: Dr. Fauci also said today about that point that President Trump made that at a certain point, he said it was just going to disappear. Dr. Fauci said, I don’t think there’s a chance that this virus is just going to disappear. It’s going to be around and if given the opportunity, it will re resurge. We now — we’ll have a few months, May, June, July, August to prepare. We need to not only have tests but make sure the people who need tests get tested so that by the time we get to September, we don’t have this dialogue continually fixated on testing. Shame on us if we don’t have enough tests by the time this so-called return might occur in the fall or winter. These — these kinds of statements that Dr. Fauci is making to “National Geographic” are clearly against what President Trump is saying and the message President Trump is pointing out, and it sounds like the kind of testimony you would get if he was not banned from testifying to Congress. SCHIFF: Well, I think that’s exactly right, and the president does a tremendous disservice to the American people when he precludes some of the foremost experts from testifying before Congress and sharing what they know. And now, it’s clear why the president doesn’t want Fauci to come to Congress even though he’s allowing Dr. Fauci to speak at these White House propaganda sessions for the president. And it’s because a part, you know, and away from the glare of the president, he’s concerned that Dr. Fauci will be even more candid with the country about the dangers of this virus and feel more free to contradict the false claims that the president has been making. That’s a very poor reason to keep someone from Congress during a pandemic. But, look, it is consistent, completely consistent with his efforts to replace inspector generals with his efforts to silence those who disagree with him and now, his effort to deflect responsibility on China for many of the administration’s own failings. So, it’s part and parcel of the president’s modus operandi, but a real disservice, a continuing disservice to the country.