A potential acquittal of President Donald Trump in the Senate’s impeachment trial would not be a failure for House Democrats, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday morning.
“No, it isn’t a failure,” the California Democrat told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week.“ “At least it’s not a failure in the sense of our constitutional duty in the House.”
In March, Schiff warned, “The only thing worse than putting the country through the trauma of impeachment is putting the country through the trauma of a failed impeachment.” But despite initially resisting impeachment efforts, Schiff has since changed his tune.
“I will tell you what changed my mind, George, because you’re right; I resisted going down this road toward impeachment,” Schiff said. “But it was two things. It was the discovery of the most egregious conduct to date.”
“It was one thing when the president invited foreign interference as a candidate, when he couldn’t use the power of his office to make it so,” he explained. “It was another when, as president of the United States, he withheld hundreds of millions of dollars to coerce an ally, betray our national security and try to cheat in the next election. That was not something we could turn away from.”
But Schiff said the final straw, in his eyes, was that just one day after former FBI director Robert Mueller testified before Congress in July, Trump made a call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, wherein he sought the foreign leader’s help to take down his political rival, Joe Biden.
“That told me, this president believes he is above the law and accountable to no one, and that this road was necessary. And I think it very much is,” Schiff said.
He also said that the misconduct has not stopped.
“So this misconduct goes on, the threat to our election integrity coming up goes on,” he said. “It’s a clear and present danger, I think, to our democracy, and not something that we can turn away from simply because the Republicans in the House refuse to do their duty.”
Schiff said he is confident the Democrats have the majority to impeach Trump.
“I am confident,” he said. “I’m not whipping this either. I don’t think anyone is. This is a real vote of conscience. The real question is: Why won’t the Republicans do their constitutional duty?”
Schiff added that if the tables were turned and former President Barack Obama had been accused of the same conduct as Trump, Republicans wouldn’t hesitate to seek impeachment — and neither would he.