Schiff calls Meadows testimony ‘Hail Mary to escape a potential conviction’

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Sunday he was surprised Mark Meadows, former President Trump’s White House chief of staff, decided to take the stand in the Georgia 2020 election case, calling his testimony a “Hail Mary to escape a potential conviction.” 

In an interview on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki,” Schiff underscored the tremendous risk involved in taking the stand and said such a bold move suggests Meadows is desperately trying to find a way to avoid conviction.

On whether he was surprised by Meadows’s testimony last Monday, Schiff said he was “not surprised so much by what he had to say, as the fact that he said it all, that he felt the need to take that gamble, that big gamble, by taking the stand.” 

“I think it’s an indication both of the fact that he feels he needs to some kind of a Hail Mary to escape a potential conviction, but also that if he were successful in moving the case to federal court, he has the potential to knock it out completely by arguing immunity,” Schiff added. 

“But I think he feels it necessary to take such a profound risk with this testimony,” he said 

Meadows was charged alongside Trump and 17 other co-defendants in a sprawling Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act case alleging they were all involved in a scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 election to keep Trump in power. All of the defendants face a racketeering charge, as well as at least one additional charge. 

Meadows has sought to have his case removed to federal court, in order to argue immunity and get the counts dismissed. Meadows’s case rests on the notion that he was acting in his capacity as a federal officer and that the steps he took were taken “under color of such office.” 

He reportedly testified Monday that he doesn’t “know that I did anything that was outside my scope as chief of staff.”

Schiff, in the interview that aired Sunday, said that was a weak argument. 

“Listening to that testimony, reading what he had to say, I think it’s a very weak case both for removal but also for immunity,” Schiff said.

“If actions of a chief of staff to try to subvert an election, to try to overturn election, try to defraud and violate the laws of a particular state are somehow within the job description of a federal chief of staff, then the Constitution becomes, in Justice [Robert Jackson’s] words, a suicide pact,” Schiff continued. ”And as he wrote in that dissent, that famous dissent, the Constitution is not a suicide pact. It shouldn’t be interpreted in such a way as it would negate itself.”

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