The House Democrats’ impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump along party lines last month is “helping to slow” America’s “momentum away” from its “democratic values,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) said Sunday.
Schiff, the House Democrats’ impeachment lead manager arguing to remove Trump from office in the ongoing Senate trial, made those comments in an interview with CBS News’s Face the Nation.
While arguing that Trump’s impeachment and removal from office would arrest the “progress away from democracy” in the United States, Schiff declared that senators, not voters, should decide Trump’s fate.
Schiff, who also served as the chief inquisitor in the House’s partisan impeachment probe, stressed that Trump must be removed from office before voters get a chance to reelect him, echoing other Democrats.
Conversely, Trump’s defense team has argued that senators should acquit the president and let voters decide whether or not he deserves to serve as commander-in-chief.
Schiff, however, has repeatedly argued that the Senate must remove Trump before the upcoming November 2020 presidential elections, claiming that not doing so will allow the president to cheat.
In other words, Schiff wants lawmakers, not voters, to decide whether Trump will be reelected.
Trump’s acquittal appears guaranteed. The GOP-controlled Senate is expected to vote to exonerate Trump on Wednesday. The House impeachment team and Trump’s defense team, will nevertheless make their closing arguments on Tuesday.
Despite expectations that the senators will exonerate Trump, Schiff defended the House Democrats’ partisan impeachment effort during his interview with CBS News, claiming that it worked and vowing that the “truth will come out” regardless of whether senators remove the president from office.
Along party lines, without a single Republican vote, House Democrats impeached Trump on December 18 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Democrats in the House ensured that Trump become the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.
Premising her question on the notion that Trump is “getting away” with misconduct acknowledged as “inappropriate” by lawmakers from both parties, Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan asked Schiff, “What are Democrats going to do? What do you do next?”
Schiff noted in his response:
[I]f the senators still won’t act [and vote to remove Trump], even though they know the truth now, even though they’ve acknowledged what the president did — look, I still think it’s enormously important that the president was impeached because the country is moving away from its democratic ideals. And I think by standing up to this president as we have, by making the case to the American people, by exposing his wrongdoing, we are helping to slow the momentum away from our democratic values until that progress away from democracy can be arrested. And we can return to some sense of normalcy and support for the founders’ ideal.
During the interview, Schiff stressed that the upcoming presidential election in November is not the “remedy” for Trump’s misconduct, suggesting that senators should remove him from office before voters get a chance to reelect him.
“They [senators] need to remove him from office because he is threatening to still cheat in the next election by soliciting foreign interference,” Schiff said. “And so the normal remedy for a president’s misconduct isn’t available here because the elections, he is already trying to prejudice and compromise with further foreign interference.”
Schiff did not elaborate on how Trump is trying to sabotage the upcoming elections.
At the heart of the impeachment is a “whistleblower” complaint that accuses Trump of engaging in a quid pro quo during a July 25 call with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The “whistleblower” claimed that Trump tried to coerce the Ukrainian president into investigating potential 2016 U.S. election interference as well as corruption allegations against Joe Biden and his son Hunter by withholding millions of dollars in much-needed aid.
Trump and Zelensky have denied the “whistleblower’s” allegations. The complaint about the July 25 call, nevertheless, triggered the impeachment probe.
Individuals from inside and outside the Obama administration have indicated that corruption allegations against the Bidens have merit. The U.S. ultimately released the American aid without Ukraine having to do anything in return.
After the Senate voted not to allow new witnesses last week, a decision that rendered Trump’s acquittal all but guaranteed, some Republican lawmakers have said Trump’s Ukraine-linked activities were inappropriate but not impeachable.