House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) pushed back Wednesday on the claim that the impending election makes any effort to hold President Trump accountable through impeachment unnecessary.
“The president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box. For we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won,” Schiff explained during opening arguments in the impeachment trial, casting Trump’s effort to coerce the opening of a Ukrainian investigation into Joe Biden’s alleged corruption as an act of foreign election interference.
“The President's misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won,” lead impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff says during his opening statement at the Senate impeachment trial. https://t.co/14mXcvjVzh pic.twitter.com/F2OZhLYx7v
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The California Democrat argued that Trump’s “unprecedented” efforts to keep the executive branch from assisting House Democrats in their investigation “represents one of the most blatant efforts at a coverup in history.”
“In corruptly using his office to gain a political advantage, in abusing the powers of that office in such a way to jeopardize our national security and the integrity of our elections, in obstructing the investigation into his own wrongdoing, the president has shown that he believes that he is above the law,” Schiff stated.
The impeachment manager added that Democrats could not wait for court decisions on outstanding subpoenas of White House officials because “being drawn into litigation taking many months or years to complete would provide the president with an opportunity to continue his misconduct.”
During testimony to the House Judiciary Committee in December, Republican-selected legal witness Jonathan Turley criticized Democrats for harping on Trump’s decision to go to the courts for decisions on congressional subpoenas.
“President Trump has gone … to the courts. He’s allowed to do that — we have three branches, not two,” Turley said. “If you impeach a president, if you make a high crime and misdemeanor out of going to the courts, it is an abuse of power. It’s your abuse of power. You are doing precisely what you’re criticizing the president for doing.”