House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday that Democrats may take up impeachment against President Donald Trump.
‘It may be that we undertake an impeachment,’ he told ABC’s ‘This Week.’
‘I think what we’re going to have to decide as a caucus is what is the best thing for the country. Is the best thing for the country to take up an impeachment proceeding because to do otherwise sends a message that this conduct is somehow compatible with office or is it in the best interest of the country not to take up an impeachment that we know will not be successful in the Senate because the Republican leadership will not do its duty?,’ he added.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said Democrats may take up impeachment against President Donald Trump
Schiff said it would be difficult for impeachment against President Donald Trump to be successful given Republicans’ control of the Senate.
Schiff noted it’s a difficult decision.
‘I think it’s a very difficult decision and we’re going to have a caucus about this over the next couple of weeks to try to figure out what the best course is, not for the party, but what’s the best course for the country,’ he said on ‘Fox News Sunday.
The California Democrat did say he thinks the president is guilty of ‘impeachable offenses.’
‘I think without question within the realm of impeachable offenses,’ he noted on ABC.
But, he added, Trump has Republicans in Congress – like House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – to defend him, making it unlikely impeachment will be successful.
‘We are, unfortunately, in an environment today where the GOP leadership, people like Kevin McCarthy, are willing to carry the president’s water no matter how corrupt or unethical or dishonest the president’s conduct may be. And in those kind of circumstances, when Mitch McConnell will not stand up to the president either, it means that an impeachment is likely to be unsuccessful,’ he said.
Impeachment proceedings is a two-step process in the United States. The House undertakes the investigation and then votes on passing articles of impeachment. Should those pass the official in question is ‘impeached’ and the matter moves to the Senate.
The Senate tries the accused. If it is the president, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over the trial.
Two thirds of the Senate must find the person guilty of impeachable offenses for the official to be convicted.
Given Republican control of the Senate it is unlikely Trump would be convicted should it reach that stage.
Several liberal lawmakers, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar, are calling for an impeachment investigation.
Schiff said the obstruction of justice information against Trump in the Mueller report is far worse than it was against former President Richard Nixon, who resigned rather than face impeachment proceedings.
‘The obstruction of justice in particular in this case is far worse than anything that Richard Nixon did. The break in by the Russians of the democratic institutions, a foreign adversary far more significant than the plumbers breaking into the democratic headquarters. So yes, I would say in every way this is more significant than Watergate,’ he said on ABC.
He added he thinks Trump did obstruct justice with his actions.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his wife Ann Cabell Standish arrive for Easter services at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington D.C.
‘I do believe that he obstructed justice and did so in many ways. And I think that the Mueller report points out how the elements of obstruction are met in several instances, several courses of the president’s conduct,’ he noted.
He praised Robert Mueller for his work and said the special counsel preserved evidence and laid it out for Congress to take the next steps.
‘He came as close to saying that the evidence of obstruction was evidence of a crime as he could within the Department of Justice regulations. And that’s, I think, the point that he was trying to get across, that he preserved the evidence for when the president was out of office and that he also laid out the evidence so that Congress could understand and undertake its own responsibility,’ Schiff said.
Mueller’s report found no evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
The special counsel, however, left it up to Attorney General William Barr to determine if obstruction charges should be pressed against President Trump.
Barr, working with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said there was no obstruction.
Democrats, however, have latched on to this line from Mueller’s 448-page report: ‘If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would state so. Based on the facts and applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.’
Mueller also noted in his report that Congress can still prosecute Trump for obstruction.
‘The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law,’ he wrote.