House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who is in charge of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, said the inquiry is worth it even if the House impeaches Trump but the Senate doesn’t convict him.
“I’ve always thought that the strongest argument for impeachment was also the strongest argument against it, which is if you don’t impeach a president who commits conduct of this kind, what does that say to the next president about what they can do, and to the next Congress? At the same time, if you do impeach but the president is acquitted, what does that say to the next president, to the next Congress? There’s no good or simple answer to that conundrum,” Schiff told NPR late Nov. 12, a day before the public impeachment hearings started.
“But what compelled me to go down this road is the fact that no sooner had one investigation come to a close, no sooner had Bob Mueller testified about the president’s first effort to solicit foreign help, but the president was at it again. And impeachment is not only a remedy to remove a president, it’s also the most powerful sanction the House has,” Schiff continued.
“And if that deters further presidential misconduct, then it may provide some remedy even in the absence of a conviction in the Senate. But again, I have to hope that my Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle will keep an open mind, will do their constitutional duty, will set aside the party of the president. Because otherwise, why are they even there, and what does their oath of office really mean?”
Asked what the House plans to charge Trump with, Schiff said, “On the basis of what the witnesses have had to say so far, there are any number of potentially impeachable offenses including bribery, including high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Trump’s contact with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been the focus of House Democrats, who insist his request to Zelensky to “look into” allegations of corruption against former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, amount to interference in the 2020 election.
Joe Biden last year said that in 2016, he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko over $1 billion in aid unless Poroshenko ousted Viktor Shokin, a top prosecutor who was probing the Burisma energy company.
Hunter Biden worked for Burisma from 2014 to 2019.
Because Joe Biden is running for president, Democrats say Trump was effectively asking Zelensky to interfere in the 2020 election.
The Bidens have denied wrongdoing, as has Trump. Just hours before the first public hearings on Wednesday, the president urged people to “read the transcript” of his phone call with Zelensky.
The president also said that he will release a transcript of the first phone call he had with Zelensky soon.