September 27, 2019


Adam Schiff's Last Laugh (For Now) (Todd S. Purdum, 9/27/19, The Atlantic)

Trump promptly tweeted that "Adam Schiff has zero credibility. Another fantasy to hurt the Republican Party." But Schiff, whose demeanor is as low-key and unruffled as his convictions are fierce, merely smiled at reporters outside the House hearing room and replied, "I'm always flattered when I'm attacked by someone of the president's character."

All along, first as the committee's ranking member and then as chairman since the Democrats won control of the House in last year's midterm elections, Schiff's paramount goal has been simple, as he told me just before Mueller testified to his committee about his final special counsel's report in July.

"It is our hope that we can inform the American people of the full facts, that they can appreciate the degree to which the Russians interfered in a presidential election to help Donald Trump, the degree to which the president welcomed that help, knew it was going on, welcomed it, and then lied about it and covered it up. And the degree to which those actions and his actions since continue to put us at risk, because it encourages the Russians to get involved again."

That Trump himself is now on record as asking for just such sort of help--albeit from Russia's bitter adversary, Ukraine--is a plot line almost too perfect to have been made up. "It's hard to imagine a more serious set of allegations than those contained in the complaint," Schiff told reporters after the hearing, noting that the president's actions involved numerous potential offenses, criminal or otherwise.

Schiff noted a "deep irony" in the contrast between Maguire's initial refusal to forward the whistle-blower's complaint to Congress, as generally required by law, on the grounds that it did not involve actions by the intelligence community, and the whistle-blower's accusation that the record of Trump's call with Zelensky had been stored in a special White House computer system designed to protect the most sensitive intelligence secrets.

He vowed to continue the committee's investigation through the upcoming congressional recess, calling witnesses, including the whistle-blower, as needed. "There is a whole host of people, apparently, who have knowledge of these events," he said, adding that "this whistle-blower has given us a roadmap for our investigation."

"We know what we have to do and, of course, we'll be guided by the evidence that we find along the way," he said.

Posted by at September 27, 2019 1:54 PM