Schiff says Giuliani may have broken the law

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff on Thursday said Rudy Giuliani’s involvement in the escalating Ukraine controversy may have broken the law but doesn’t think the Justice Department will investigate him.

When asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” if he believed Giuliani was potentially criminally liable, Schiff said that “If Mr. Giuliani was involved in a scheme to coerce a foreign government into giving dirt, manufacturing dirt, on President Trump’s political opponent, then yes, that certainly can violate the law — violate the criminal laws.”

“Do I have any confidence, hope or what not, that the Justice Department would be willing to investigate?” he added. “No.”

The Justice Department, Schiff said, “made it clear they’re not going to investigate this and they don’t want anyone else to. The fact that they would so cavalierly dismiss this credible evidence and say it is not even worthy of us looking into is yet another affirmation that Attorney General Bill Barr believes that he exists to serve the will and interest of the President, not the presidency, and that’s exactly what he’s doing.”

Schiff’s comments come the same day acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified before the Intelligence Committee about his handling of a whistleblower complaint that has set off a politically explosive week in Washington.

The document — which was released publicly Thursday — alleges Trump abused his official powers “to solicit interference” from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the upcoming 2020 election, and the White House took steps to cover it up. A transcript of July phone conversation released by the White House on Wednesday shows Trump repeatedly pushed Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.

Even before the whistleblower complaint was made available to lawmakers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday declared Trump had betrayed his oath of office and announced she was opening a formal impeachment inquiry into the President.

The whistleblower complaint labels Giuliani as “central figure” in the controversy.

US officials were concerned, the whistleblower said, with Giuliani and his contacts with Ukrainian officials. The whistleblower alleges that US officials believed Giuliani was a conduit for messages between the President and officials in Kyiv and that he was at the helm of a problematic “circumvention of national security decision making processes.”

Speaking to CNN Thursday, Giuliani said he has “no knowledge of any of that crap” in the complaint. Earlier this month, Giuliani denied asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden moments before admitting that he had done just that.

Schiff wouldn’t say Thursday if Giuliani would be called to testify but stressed the former New York City Mayor was “clearly at the center of a lot of this.”

“I don’t want to get into specific witnesses at this point but Mr. Giuliani is clearly at the center of a lot of this. The spadework for this phone call may very well have been done by Rudy Giuliani. It appears to me from reading the transcript that the Ukraine President had a pretty good idea of what might happen on this call. And so, why that’s the case and how that was communicated to him, we need to find out,” he said.

“And I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Rudy Giuliani is a part that have answer.”

CNN’s Michael Warren