'It's very hard to make the argument that the person who was directed and was coordinated should go to jail, but the person who did the directing and did the coordinating should not.
'So I think that militates very strongly in favor of indicting the president when he is out of office if the southern District of NY has the evidence to prove the case against Individual 1 [who] Michael Cohen identified as the president.
"It's our job to protect the rule of law", he said.
Current Justice Department orthodoxy is that a sitting president can not be indicted, but Schiff believes this needs to be reevaluated. But Schiff believes that the department should reconsider this position, or indict Trump if he loses re-election in 2020.
After months of expressing certainty over a Trump impeachment-and even an indictment that would land the ex-president in prison-Schiff's softening of his stance could be the latest indicator that Democrats are expecting the findings of Special Counselor Robert Mueller to be underwhelming and anticlimactic. I don't think that's a supportable position, ' Schiff said. "The public gets to see this report".
Democrats have been careful not to close the door entirely, however.
Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler told ABC's "This Week" the panel wanted to get documents from the Department of Justice, the president's son Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization chief financial officer Alan Weisselberg, among others.
Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has said he wouldn't let the president be interviewed by Mueller because the special counsel would set a perjury trap.
When quizzed by MSNBC's Kaise Hunt on whether or not a lack of "compelling information" in the Mueller report would end the "conversation about Russia", Schiff said it would not.
Schiff has placed great store in the past on the revelations that he said could be gleaned from phone records in the Russian Federation investigation.
"Well, if there's insufficient evidence in the Mueller report and we're not able to produce sufficient evidence in our own investigation, that ends the inquiry", he said. More than that, we have access in Congress to the supporting evidence.
"If the Justice Department either attempts to hide the Mueller report or the underlying evidence, then requiring Mueller to testify may very well be necessary", Schiff said.