Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff (D-CA) certainly has a creative approach to prosecution.
The Democratic leader admitted that the Senate cannot only “rely on what was investigated in the House” when they decide whether to convict or acquit President Donald Trump of impeachment charges, Breitbart reported Wednesday. Schiff’s argument directly contradicts his party’s own assertion that the case to remove Trump from power is “overwhelming.”
“This will be the first impeachment trial in history that involves no witnesses if you decide you don’t want to hear from any that you simply want to rely on what was investigated in the House,” Schiff said on the Senate floor Wednesday, according to ABC News.
Schiff contradicts himself
The Democrats are certainly sending some mixed messages: at one and the same time, America is witnessing a “cover-up” never seen since Watergate, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has warned, but also, it is a certain fact that Trump “cheated” in the 2020 election. The evidence for Trump’s “crime” is so overwhelming that Americans cannot be trusted to choose the next president, “since we cannot be assured the vote will be fairly won,” in Schiff’s telling.
The cognitive dissonance is reaching a climax as the window for Democrats to call more witnesses slams shut. Democrats have spent the week arguing that Trump’s trial is a “sham” unless John Bolton, Trump’s former National Security adviser, testifies about Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden — but they have also warned that Trump’s “abuse of power” is so dangerous that he must be removed from office nine months before an election.
Notably, Schiff did not subpoena Bolton in the House, fearing an extended court battle, only for his party to hold up impeachment in a month-long stalemate over a demand for witness subpoenas.
The witness question
Schiff also consistently blocked witnesses that Republicans had sought in the House, particularly the Ukraine “whistleblower.” Schiff again denied this week having any contact with the so-called whistleblower, according to Fox News, despite the congressman’s previous admission that his staff did in fact have contact before the whistleblower’s complaint, which sparked the impeachment, emerged.
Some Republicans have used the 16-hour question-and-answer period in the impeachment trial, which took up all of Wednesday and Thursday, to ask about Schiff’s alleged coordination with the whistleblower to take down President Trump. Schiff, for his part, grew angry at the questions and denounced the attacks on his staff and the anonymous whistleblower.
“First of all, there have been a lot of attacks on my staff. As I said when this issue came up earlier, I am appalled at some of the smearing of some of the professional people that work in the intelligence committee,” Schiff said, according to NBC News. “I will not dignify those smears on my staff by giving them any credence whatsoever.”
Dems pump “sham” messaging
Democrats capitalized on the surprise leak of portions of Bolton’s upcoming book, which allegedly mentions a direct tie between aid to Ukraine and Trump’s desire to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, to make a final desperate push for the ex-Trump adviser’s testimony as a Friday vote on witnesses looms. Despite pumping Bolton as a star witness, Schiff has said in the past that the former National Security adviser is a conspiracy theorist who has no credibility, Fox reported.
In any case, the Democrats’ push appeared to falter by Friday as Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — two swing votes — came out against voting for witnesses, Fox reported. It now appears likely that Republicans will reject witnesses and move quickly to acquitting Trump.
But Republicans warned on Friday that Trump’s trial could drag until next Wednesday, after Trump’s Tuesday State of the Union Address. With just days left in the trial, another conveniently timed “bombshell” from The New York Times landed Friday: yet another article based on the Bolton book, claiming that Trump asked Bolton to help him with a pressure campaign against Ukraine in May.
Schiff and co. didn’t hesitate to capitalize on the leak, talking up the idea that the trial is a “sham” and that Trump, therefore, cannot claim exoneration. But Democrats have to make up their minds: either there’s a strong case to remove Trump and failure to do so would destroy the American Republic as we know it, or the case they sent to the Senate is bogus. It can’t be both.