Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) clearly has no remorse and no regrets when it comes to his conduct over the past several months.
The Democrats handled the impeachment perfectly, Schiff told Face the Nation on Sunday in a display of the same brand of hubris that undermined his party’s entire effort to oust Trump. Schiff added that he and his colleagues “proved their case,” according to The Hill, and that they could not have done anything differently — such as subpoenaing John Bolton — to better prepare for Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, the Washington Examiner reported.
Schiff has no regrets
The trial is wrapping up after senators rejected a push from Democrats for more witnesses on Friday, and Democrats are now attempting to deny Trump any sort of vindication as an expected vote to acquit him on Wednesday draws near. They have focused on accusing Trump of having benefited from a “rigged” trial with “no witnesses,” even though Democrats heard testimony from 17 individuals during the House phase of the impeachment inquiry and obtained thousands of documents.
Republicans have continually fired back that Democrats rushed to impeach Trump based on an incomplete record of evidence and testimony, pointing especially to Schiff’s failure to subpoena John Bolton. But Schiff insisted that Democrats proved their case and could not have handled anything better than they did, saying: “Look, there’s nothing that I can see that we could have done differently because as the senators have already admitted, we proved our case. We proved our case.”
But it was exactly that arrogance that made their arguments especially unsympathetic to key GOP lawmakers. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) slammed the “rushed and flawed” nature of Schiff’s House inquiry in justifying her decision to vote against calling additional witnesses, NBC News noted.
No second-guessing on Bolton
Schiff’s claim that Democrats “proved their case” highlights a contradiction that the GOP wasted no time in exploiting. Republicans have argued that Democrats are essentially admitting the weakness of their case by claiming to have proven Trump’s guilt beyond any reasonable doubt — while simultaneously insisting that Trump’s trial will be a sham proceeding if more evidence and testimony is not permitted.
Democrats pressed for Bolton to testify during the last full week of the impeachment trial, citing a last-minute leak of his upcoming memoir. But it wasn’t enough to get more than two Republican senators, Susan Collins (ME) and Mitt Romney (UT), on their side.
Asked by host Margaret Brennan if failing to subpoena Bolton was a mistake, Schiff said that Democrats had not taken that step because Trump would have been able to “cheat” in the 2020 election while Democrats became bogged down in a protracted court battle.
“No, it wasn’t [a misstep] at all,” he said. “It would probably be one to two years before we would have had a decision on John Bolton. That means the president would have been able to cheat in the next election with impunity because they could have simply delayed and played out the clock.”
Witch hunt to continue
Republicans have pointed to Schiff’s role in spreading false Russian collusion claims, as well as his prominent role in the impeachment process, to underscore what they see as the partisan nature of the Ukraine drama. The president and his allies have said that Schiff denied Trump due process in the House, but the Democrat insisted that “the president had the same due process rights” afforded in previous impeachments but, declined to take advantage of them.
Schiff returned to the Senate on Monday to finish closing arguments in the trial, where he made the strange warning that Trump would sell Alaska to Russia unless Republicans vote to convict him. His ravings were overshadowed by speculation over the Iowa caucuses on Monday evening, as well as anticipation of the president’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Democrats have vowed to continue investigating Trump no matter what, on everything from Robert Mueller’s investigation to his tax returns. Schiff will cry “cover-up,” but Republicans can just as well cry “witch hunt.”