Schiff: Trump 'daring the courts' to strike down national emergency

'It is going to be a real test'

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House Intelligence Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks at the Council On Foreign Relations with Andrea Mitchell, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent at NBC News on February 16, 2018 in Washington, DC.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday the national emergency President Donald Trump announced is unconstitutional because he declared the emergency when "Congress explicitly rejected" the money for the wall on the southern border in the funding package.

"This is the first time a president has tried to declare an emergency when Congress explicitly rejected funding for the particular project that the President is advocating," Schiff said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"He's pretty much daring the court to strike this down," the California Democrat said. "It is going to be a real test for my GOP colleagues in Congress and their devotion to the institution."

Schiff, in his role on the House Intelligence Committee, has been a vocal critic of the President's decisions both on immigration and his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Since Democrats became the majority in the House of Representatives, Schiff has announced sweeping new investigations into the President's finances and business interests.

When asked by CNN's Dana Bash about any plans to limit the President's authority to declare national emergencies, Schiff expressed hesitation.

"The risk that the President takes, the risk to future Presidencies, is that we limit the President's power to act when it really is necessary," Schiff said. "But this president doesn't care about future presidents, he only cares about himself."

Schiff also said the news that the special counsel has evidence former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone communicated with WikiLeaks indicates "it is very possible that the best evidence is yet to come."

In response to a question asking if he will accept the special counsel's findings if the investigation does not find evidence of collusion, Schiff said he has "great confidence" in the special counsel, but the House Intelligence Committee will have to conduct their own investigation.

"And if the special counsel represents that he has investigated, and not been interfered with, and not been able to make a criminal case, then I will believe that he is operating in good faith," Schiff said.

Schiff added that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who has allegedly lied to investigators about authorizing leaks to the media, should be held to the same standard as the five other Trump associates charged with lying to investigators.

"Well, the Justice Department received a referral from the inspector general. I think they need to study that and the evidence, and they need to make an objective determination about it," Schiff said of McCabe. "I think he should be held to the same standard as anyone else that the Justice Department has looked at in this investigation or any other."

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