Impeachment will still be a success even if it fails, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) insisted Sunday.
The House Intelligence Committee chairman appears to be grappling with the reality of President Donald Trump’s likely acquittal in the Senate by grasping at straws, telling ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that a failure to convict Trump would still be a win — not for Democrats, but for the Constitution, Breitbart reported.
“No, it isn’t a failure. At least, it’s not a failure in the sense of our constitutional duty in the House,” Schiff said.
Schiff tries to save face
Democrats are moving forward with a full House vote to impeach Trump this week, a dramatic step that they insist they are taking with the utmost reluctance and solemnity. But before Democrats were “prayerfully” seeking Trump’s ouster, they were warning of deepened divisions in the event of a partisan impeachment.
Stephanopoulos reminded Schiff on Sunday of his warning in March that a failed impeachment would traumatize the country, prompting Schiff to backtrack by saying that he was reluctant to impeach at first — but changed his mind when Trump’s temporary hold on military support for Ukraine was discovered.
Schiff said that Trump’s actions undermined “national security” and threatened to corrupt the outcome of the 2020 election, making Trump’s impeachment necessary.
“And I will tell you what changed my mind, George, because you’re right. I resisted going down this road towards impeachment,” Schiff said on the latest episode of This Week, according to Breitbart. He went on:
But it was two things. It was the discovery of the most egregious conduct to date. It was one thing when the president invited foreign interference as a candidate, when he couldn’t use the power of his office to make it so. It was another when…he withheld hundreds of millions of dollars to coerce an ally, betray our national security, and try to cheat in the next election. That was not something we could turn away from.
When Trump asked Ukraine’s president to investigate Joe Biden just one day after Robert Mueller’s testimony killed off “Russiagate,” it proved that Trump felt himself to be “above the law,” Schiff said. The Democrat added that Trump’s actions are “far worse” than Richard Nixon’s and suggested that if Barack Obama had done what Democrats accuse Trump of doing, he would have voted to impeach Obama.
A prayerful duty, or a pathetic sham?
Schiff’s spin is convincing if one takes at face value the claim that Democrats are impeaching Trump out of disinterested constitutional duty, rather than partisan motive. But Republicans have laughed off the suggestion, pointing to the fact that Democrats and members of the mainstream media have been discussing Trump’s impeachment practically from the day he was inaugurated.
There is no exception for Schiff, who, despite measured, occasional warnings about impeachment, repeatedly claimed that Trump colluded with Russia, a claim that was disproven by Robert Mueller. The Democrat has since played a leading and controversial role in the impeachment process, with Republicans holding up his involvement as proof-positive that the proceeding is a partisan “sham.”
Republicans have pointed to several moves by Schiff that undercut the Democrats’ mawkish, “prayerful” seriousness, including his false statements about his staff’s contacts with the long-forgotten “whistleblower” and his use of impeachment power to obtain phone records belonging to his Republican counterpart, Devin Nunes (R-CA), which Republicans have called an unprecedented abuse of power, according to The Hill.
Republicans say that Schiff and his fellow Democrats simply don’t like Trump and that they’re afraid of letting voters choose the next president.
Schiff’s declaration of victory comes as one House Democrat, Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ), has said he will vote no on impeachment and switch to the Republican Party, according to USA Today — hardly a sign that Democrats are poised for a moral or political victory. The Democrats can’t back out now, but with 20 Republican defections needed to convict Trump, they have few options left outside playing word games and recasting a political misplay as a constitutional duty.