With President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial finally underway in the Senate, some familiar characters are taking the stage yet again — including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA). But Nancy Pelosi’s lead impeachment manager won’t be making his case in the Senate without pushback.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) mocked Schiff in a scathing tweet on Thursday that highlighted no less than three of the California congressman’s most embarrassing impeachment blunders, the Washington Examiner reports.
Pointing to Schiff’s ties to the infamous Ukraine “whistleblower” and his history of publicizing private phone records, Sen. Paul tweeted out a photo of a piece of stationery from the Ritz–Carlton hotel with a handwritten note scribbled across the page: “Things to do: 1) Remember to tap Devin Nunes’ phone!”
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 16, 2020
Schiff’s many mistakes
Paul’s Thursday tweet came just as the Senate officially opened its trial on Thursday, according to USA Today, with Chief Justice John Roberts and the senators in attendance all swearing to “do impartial justice, according to the Constitution and laws,” as they move forward to decide whether Trump abused his power with regard to Ukraine and later, obstructed a congressional investigation into such abuses. But while the real meat of the proceedings won’t begin until Tuesday afternoon, there’s no sign that the highly partisan battle in Washington will be taking a pause in the meantime.
Paul’s Thursday tweet slammed Schiff over his alleged contact with the Ukraine “whistleblower” whose anonymous complaint about President Trump’s now-infamous July 25, 2019, phone call with Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky apparently prompted the Dems’ inquiry. Schiff, for his part, denied having any communications with the whistleblower when Pelosi first launched her impeachment inquiry into Trump last fall, but it didn’t take long for The New York Times to call Schiff’s bluff.
“The [whistleblower] gave an early account of allegations against President Trump to a House aide who outlined it to Rep. Adam Schiff, who is now leading the impeachment inquiry,” the Times tweeted in early October.
Paul’s tweet also touched on Schiff’s decision to include the private phone records of American citizens and elected officials like Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) in his committee’s report on their findings with regard to Trump’s approach to Ukraine. The Intel chairman faced sharp criticism in December over the move, according to The Hill, and Nunes, the ranking member on Schiff’s panel, even promised legal action.
“I believe I am the first member of Congress, and I believe my staff and former staff are the first ones ever to have their phone records exposed like this,” Nunes told Fox last year, according to The Washington Times.
Down to the wire
But Paul wasn’t done yet. His tweet also castigated Schiff and his fellow Democrats for attempting to play up dubious “evidence” that was only recently obtained from one not-so-reputable individual: Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s who is facing multiple felony charges on unrelated matters.
According to CBS News, House Dems “released a trove of documents” from Parnas earlier this week, “including previously undisclosed handwritten notes.”
One such note, which was undated and reportedly etched on Ritz–Carlton stationery, read in part: “get Zalensky to announce that the Biden case will be investigated [sic].” Schiff has touted the note as proof of a conspiracy between Trump’s administration and Ukraine.
Of course, the Democrats are severely lacking on the evidence front, so it’s no surprise that they’re grasping at straws as their impeachment gambit winds to a close. But according to Paul, Schiff and his comrades’ partisan hackery won’t make much of a difference at this point anyway.
“I think the votes have been decided,” the senator told The Hill on Thursday. “As much as anybody will be pretending to be judicious about this, I don’t think that there’s one senator who hasn’t decided how they’re going to vote.”