Senate Republicans must convict and remove President Donald Trump from office because he will continue to cheat and abuse his power to attempt to stay in office, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Monday in his final argument for ousting Trump.
“You can’t trust this president to do the right thing,” said Schiff, the lead House impeachment manager. “Not one minute. Not for one election. Not for the sake of our country. You just can’t. He will not change and you know it.”
“What are the odds if left in office that he will continue trying to cheat?” Schiff added. “I will tell you: 100%. Not 5, not 10, not 50, but 100%. If you have found him guilty and you do not remove him from office, he will continue trying to cheat in the election until he succeeds.”
Schiff’s remarks were clearly directed at Republican senators like Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) who now say that the House impeachment managers proved that Trump abused his office by withholding military aid and a White House head-of-state visit to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, but still say that they won’t vote to remove him from office. Instead, they insist that the voters should decide in November.
Alexander went further on Sunday, telling “Meet the Press” that the fact that Trump has been impeached should chasten him.
“If a call like this gets you an impeachment, I would think he would think twice before he did it again,” Alexander said. “Hopefully, he’ll look at this and say, ‘OK, that was a mistake. I shouldn’t have done that and shouldn’t have done it that way.’ And he’ll focus on the strengths of his presidency, which are considerable.”
Alexander’s suggestion that Trump may change was clearly the target of Schiff’s argument.
To make his point, the congressman ran down the history of Trump’s efforts to encourage foreign governments to interfere to help him win an election and then his maneuvers to obstruct the ensuing investigations.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump called on Russia to hack opponent Hillary Clinton’s private email server. In the last month of the campaign, he made reference to the emails of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, which were hacked by Russians, more than 100 times.
At the same time, Trump told the public that he had no business deals with any Russians. He was, however, involved in negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Had he made the deal, it would have been one of the most lucrative of his life.
In May 2017, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey as an investigation began into whether the Trump campaign had been involved in a conspiracy with Russia to help him win the 2016 election. That firing led the Department of Justice to appoint Robert Mueller as special counsel to continue the investigation. Trump then repeatedly attempted to obstruct Mueller’s efforts, even directing the White House counsel to fire him and then lie about it. (The White House counsel refused.)
Mueller’s report ultimately determined that there was not enough evidence to prove a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. The special counsel’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on July 24, 2019, was a dud. And Trump declared it “a great day for me.”
The very next day Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations into Biden and a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the Democratic National Committee in 2016.
After a whistleblower raised concerns about that call, the Justice Department refused to investigate whether Trump broke any laws by asking a foreign head of state for help in his reelection campaign or by dangling the release of congressionally approved aid to Ukraine and the grant of a White House visit as bribes to entice Zelensky into doing his bidding.
It was left to the House of Representatives to launch an impeachment inquiry to investigate. Trump directed the executive branch to not comply with the lawmakers’ requests for documents and testimony. “I have the right to do whatever I want as president,” he said.
Before television cameras and reporters on the White House lawn, Trump repeated his call for Ukraine to investigate Biden. He then called on China to investigate Biden as well.
“He has not changed,” Schiff said on Monday. “He will not change. He has made that clear himself without self-awareness or hesitation. A man without character or ethical compass will never find his way. Even as the most recent and most egregious conduct was uncovered, he was unapologetic, unrepentant and, more dangerous, undeterred.”
“You will not change him,” Schiff added. “You cannot constrain him. He is who he is.”