As President Donald Trump’s impeachment heads from the House to the Senate, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is back in the spotlight — and Republicans are making sure he feels the heat.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) compared Schiff to an arsonist trying to put out the fire he started Tuesday, the Washington Examiner reported, after Schiff reprimanded Trump’s lawyers for accusing Democrats of unfairness. Schiff is leading the charge against the president in the Senate trial after playing a prominent role in the House phase.
Graham shreds Schiff
Republicans have said that Schiff denied Trump due process in the House’s phase of the impeachment, during which Schiff read aloud a false version of Trump’s phone call with Ukraine, obtained and published the phone logs of Republican colleague Devin Nunes (CA), and routinely denied Republicans a chance to call witnesses in public hearings. Despite these complaints, Schiff was named the House’s lead impeachment manager by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), ensuring that Americans would hear more of his tedious grandstanding.
According to Fox News, Schiff appeared visibly irritated Tuesday during hours of debate over rules for the trial, as Trump’s legal team singled him out to attack the credibility of his case. Responding to their charges of unfairness, Schiff said that Trump’s lead counsel, Pat Cipollone, was “mistaken” when he said that Democrats denied Republicans an equal opportunity to call witnesses.
“Quite frankly, having Adam Schiff lecture the Senate about fairness and due process is like listening to an arsonist talk about fire prevention,” Sen. Graham tweeted in reply.
Schiff issues warning
Trump is all but assured to be acquitted in the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans. Apparently despairing of removing Trump from office, Schiff and his fellow Democrats have fixated on the narrative that Trump “covered up” his supposed crimes and that Republicans — that is, any of them who refuse to satisfy the Democrats’ demands — are his co-conspirators.
The Senate reconvened for the first full day of opening arguments Wednesday, and Schiff again made himself the star, fuming against the president, whom he accused of trying to “cheat” in the 2020 election before warning that voting cannot be accepted as a remedy for Trump’s “corrupt scheme” — only impeachment will do.
“The president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won,” Schiff said, according to the Examiner.
Trial begins with GOP advantage
A marathon 13 hours of debate concluded early Wednesday morning with a party-line vote to adopt Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) rules resolution, dealing a blow to Democrats who had sought to secure a vote to allow additional witnesses. According to Fox, the resolution gives Democrats and Trump’s lawyers 24 hours, spread across three days, to make their respective arguments.
The Senate also rejected, one at a time, amendments from Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to have more witnesses appear. Another vote on witnesses will come later, after opening arguments and a 16-hour period that allows senators to ask questions. For now, the big question appears to be whether the trial will move quickly, with no witnesses, or turn into a protracted partisan parade.
Some Republican senators — including Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mitt Romney (R-UT), who both opposed voting on witnesses before opening arguments — have signaled they would likely support calling additional witnesses when that vote comes. Amid speculation that Republicans may yet seek to compel Hunter Biden’s testimony, Schiff and Schumer have pushed back against suggestions they may “trade” it for testimony from John Bolton, Trump’s former National Security adviser, USA Today noted.
Trump slams Dem “sleazebags”
Meanwhile, President Trump has said that he is open to hearing from witnesses like Bolton, according to The Hill, but that he would defer to Republicans in the Senate.
From Davos, Trump was more colorful than Graham when asked about Schiff and Jerry Nadler (D-NY).
“These are major sleazebags,” Trump told reporters, according to Fox. “It’s a total hoax.”