Schiff: Impeachment not a failure if Senate acquits Trump
The impeachment process won’t be a failure if President Donald Trump is acquitted by the Senate, as seems almost certain, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said Sunday.
“No, it isn’t a failure. At least it’s not a failure in the sense of our constitutional duty in the House,” Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on ABC’s “This Week.”
On the same program, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, continued to press the Democrats’ case, saying Trump “poses a continuing threat” to U.S. national security and democracy.
The judiciary committee on Friday recommended Trump’s impeachment in a party-line vote. The panel acted on two counts, one charging Trump with abuse of power and the other with obstruction of Congress. The investigation followed Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president.
Bitter partisan disagreement continues over whether the ultimate constitutional punishment fits the nature of the president’s alleged misconduct. Across the country, polls show about half of Americans support impeaching Trump, with responses falling along party lines.
The votes to advance the articles of impeachment for consideration by the full House this week will almost inevitably lead to Trump becoming only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.
Schiff said he was “confident” there will be a majority in the House to impeach the president, even as Republicans target 31 Democratic lawmakers from districts that Trump won in 2016.
The process would then move to a trial in the Senate, where Republicans hold a majority.
No ‘fair juror’
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a top Trump ally, on Saturday rejected the idea that he must be a “fair juror” in the Senate. “I think impeachment is going to end quickly in the Senate,” Graham told CNN from Qatar, where he was attending the Doha Forum. “I want to end this matter quickly and move on to other things.”
A handful of Democrats are likely to vote against impeachment in the House, Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, predicted Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He indicted that he would vote to acquit Trump.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, said on CNN that he would withhold judgement “until I see the evidence and hear the prosecution.”
Brown criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for vowing, in an interview on Fox News on Thursday, “total coordination with the White House” on impeachment strategy.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware said that if Trump is exonerated, “he will be unbounded. I’m gravely concerned about what else he might do between now and the 2020 election, when there are no restrictions on his behavior.”
Graham also told CBS, in an interview to air in full Sunday on “Face the Nation,” that he would welcome a meeting with Rudy Giuliani to discuss the Trump lawyer’s just-ended trip to Ukraine to dig up political dirt for Trump.
“I don’t know what Rudy found. I don’t know what he was up to when he was in the Ukraine,” Graham said. “We can look at what Rudy’s got and Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and anything else you want to look at, after impeachment. But if Rudy wants to come to the Judiciary Committee and testify about what he found, he’s welcome to do so.”
The impeachment process threatens to create peril for Democratic lawmakers in moderate districts, including several elected in November’s midterm election and others who serve in districts won by Trump in 2016.
On Saturday, Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey reportedly was on the verge of changing his party affiliation to Republican after a personal intervention by Trump.