Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, gave Donald Trump a reality check on Tuesday night and ripped his impeachment defense strategy to shreds before the White House has even been able to fully implement it.
During an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, the powerful Democratic lawmaker said Trump and his protectors are trying to shape the narrative surrounding his Ukraine extortion scheme, but the cake is already baked.
“You don’t need an explicit quid pro quo. You don’t need an implicit quid pro quo,” Schiff said, referring to Trump’s new attempts to frame this scandal in his favor.
The congressman added, “It’s enough [Trump] withheld this military support even as he’s browbeating this president and his personal lawyer is browbeating Ukraine for help in their political campaign.”
In other words, no amount of political spin by Trump or Bill Barr can change what the president has already admitted to doing.
Adam Schiff (D-CA) says no amount of political spin from the White House will change the fact that Trump’s Ukraine extortion scheme – which he has already admitted to – is an impeachable offense. #ctl #p2 #impeach pic.twitter.com/sfNyOlF0Ad
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) September 25, 2019
First, I think the administration realizes this is going to come out. Ultimately, the public is going to know about the president’s misconduct, and they want to try to get ahead of it. And they also want to try to shape it in the same way Bill Barr misled the country about what was involved. So you can already see the president trying to suggest to the country that, ‘Hey, if I didn’t specifically ask for a quid pro quo, then there’s no problem here.’ You don’t need an explicit quid pro quo. You don’t need an implicit quid pro quo. Ukraine understands how it is entirely dependent on the United States, how it’s entirely dependent on the goodwill of president of the United States for military support, financial support, for support among the international community. And when the president of the United States tells that country, ‘This is what I want you to do for me’, much like when James Comey said when the president said I’d like you to see if you can make this Flynn matter go away, that country understands that not as a request but as in this will be done or there are repercussions. He doesn’t have to make it explicit. It’s enough he withheld this military support even as he’s browbeating this president and his personal lawyer is browbeating Ukraine for help in their political campaign.
Democrats learned their lesson from the Mueller report debacle
What Schiff’s remarks on Tuesday night seem to suggest is that Democrats have learned their lesson from the Mueller report debacle.
Even though the Mueller laid out damning evidence against Trump in his report, Trump and Bill Barr were able to craft a narrative early. It turned the debate over the Mueller report into another left-versus-right debate, which only benefitted Trump.
By announcing a formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday and remaining on message and on offense about Trump’s criminal behavior, Democrats aren’t letting the White House release a sequel to their Mueller report whitewash.
Democrats are making this very simple: We already know Donald Trump broke the law and he must be held accountable.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.