Tag Archives: Adam Schiff

Let the trial begin … with witnesses!

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

It looks as though the U.S. Senate is going to convene a trial next week. The president of the United States is going to stand trial on charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress.

The trial of Donald Trump isn’t a purely legal proceeding. It’s damn close to one, though. It’s close enough to a courtroom trial that there needs to be witnesses called who have something important to add to the issue at hand.

That issue is: What happened precisely during that “perfect phone call” that Trump had with the president of Ukraine? Then-national security adviser John Bolton was present when Trump talked to his Ukrainian colleague; so was acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. The Senate needs to hear from them. What they did hear? Did the president ask a foreign government to interfere in our 2020 election? Did he withhold military aid to Ukraine until it announced an investigation into Joe Biden, a potential Trump foe?

The nation does not know what they know. We have not heard it from them directly. I am one American who wants to know what they heard. I want to hear ’em say it out loud, in public, under oath.

Will that occur? Will the Senate summon them? We don’t know.

In return, of course, Trump wants the Senate to call Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, who worked for the energy company for a handsome sum of money. There are allegations of “corruption” involving Hunter Biden. Except that prosecutors have said time and again that the younger Biden did nothing illegal.

The president also wants to call House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. Why? Beats the livin’ malarkey out of me!

Let’s not turn this trial into a sideshow. It is serious. It is a sober event. It should be conducted with utmost decorum and dignity.

I am awaiting the start of this trial. I hope we get to hear from Bolton and others with direct knowledge of what happened … allegedly!

We need a serious trial. Not a circus.

Trump makes a hash of another NATO gathering

Well now, that didn’t go too well.

Donald Trump was one of several heads of state and government attending a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Then he decided he had enough of the treatment he was getting from his fellow world leaders gathered in London. So he left early, canceling an anticipated press conference.

Oh, my.

He started out by having a testy press availability with French President Emanuel Macron, who snapped back at Trump’s assertion that many Islamic State fighters come from France.

He called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “two-faced.”

Trump said France needs NATO more than the United States and chided the French for not paying more for their defense against potential enemies in Europe.

Other world leaders were heard on a “hot microphone” poking fun at the U.S. president … which I guess was too much for Trump to handle.

He left the meeting early and headed for home.

Goodness, gracious.

Is this how the president of the United States represents us on the world stage? Must we tolerate this kind of petulance? Must this nation be held up as an international laughingstock only because its president doesn’t know how to behave and act like the head of state of the world’s most indispensable nation?

He talks about impeachment constantly during his press sessions. He blasts House Speaker Nancy Pelosi openly while he’s overseas. Trump ridicules the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, hurling a variety of epithets at the man who is performing his constitutionally prescribed duties.

So, another foreign visit has gone badly.

Get to work, Mr. President, on whatever it is you do.

So, that’s why Chairman Schiff managed to keep his cool

It occurred to my wife and me this evening as news broke about the House Intelligence Committee’s report on its impeachment findings just why Chairman Adam Schiff was able to keep his cool while ranking member Devin Nunes kept ranting during the public hearings about so-called Democratic games.

Schiff knew what was coming, that the Intel Committee’s evidence would implicate Nunes as a key player in the impeachment drama involving Donald Trump, his lawyer Rudolf Giuliani, Ukraine and the sordid other characters.

It appears that Nunes had plenty of contact with Ukraine government officials, seeking Ukrainian help in digging up dirt on Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

So, while Nunes was preening and posturing about alleged nefarious Democratic motives in seeking to impeach Trump, he well might be involved in his own nefarious activity.

Schiff, experienced prosecutor that he is, kept his cool. He knew what would be revealed.

Well played, Mr. Chairman.

‘Treason’ becomes a vastly misused term

Donald Trump has accused U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of committing an act of “treason” as he leads the House probe into whether to impeach the president of the United States.

With that, I turned to my handy-dandy, dog-eared American Heritage Dictionary, which describes “treason” thusly:

“The betrayal of one’s country, esp. by aiding an enemy.”

Why look it up? Why question yet again the wisdom of the president’s unhinged rhetoric?

For starters, Chairman Schiff has performed a duty that the law prescribes. He chairs a House committee and has embarked on a task set forth in the U.S. Constitution. His conduct is the exact opposite of treasonous. He is a patriot who is doing his duty under the law.

Now, what about the president? Has he committed a treasonous act? I do subscribe to that notion, either.

Donald Trump has violated the oath of office he took by soliciting help from a foreign government on his re-election effort and in digging up dirt on a political opponent. However, I want to make this point abundantly clear: The president has committed an act of treason. He hasn’t “aided an enemy” state. It’s not as if the United States is in a state of war with Russia, or with Ukraine, or with any nation on Earth for that matter. I include North Korea in that last point, given that Congress never declared war against North Korea when we sent troops to fight the communist nation during the Korean War in 1950.

Of all the major political figures misusing the “treason” epithet, Donald Trump is by far the most egregious offender. He hurls it at foes with zero regard to the immense consequence of what the term entails and the punishment that falls on those who commit such an act.

He won’t stop misusing the term. He cannot stop.

Donald Trump is scaring the daylights out of many millions of his fellow Americans. I happen to be one of them.

Chairman Schiff: master of the obvious

I am left with a simple response to U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s assertion that an impeachment of Donald Trump could result in his acquittal.

My response? Well … duh!

I think Chairman Schiff is on the right side of this dispute with the president. I want him removed from office as much as Schiff does. Maybe more so.

However, the prospect of a Senate acquittal is precisely the deterrent that prevents House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from charging full speed toward impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.

To that end, Schiff didn’t provide much insight into what I believe is patently obvious. The House impeachment means the Senate would put the president on trial. Democrats control the House; Republicans run the Senate. Congressional Democrats despise the president and stand solidly behind the idea that he has committed impeachable offenses; Congressional Republicans stand just as solidly behind the president.

A Senate conviction requires 67 votes among senators. The GOP occupies 53 out of 100 Senate seats. Do the math. Do you believe there’s a hope — at this moment, at least — of getting any Senate Republicans to convict the president?

That circles me back to Schiff’s comment on “Meet the Press.”

An acquittal could strengthen Donald Trump’s political hand. Pelosi is an astute politician who knows the stakes involved in handing Trump a political victory. She can blather all she wants about doing her “constitutional duty,” but she also is weighing the political component. For the House to impeach this president and then hand this matter over to another legislative body that adheres to a form of slovenly fealty to the president would be disastrous.

Congressional Republicans do not care about the mountain of evidence that tells them Donald Trump has obstructed justice multiple times during special counsel Robert Mueller’s quest for the truth behind the Russian hacking of our election in 2016.

It boils down to that undeniable fact of political life.

Nothing close to ‘rare form’ for POTUS

I had thought it would be good to lead this post with a declaration that Donald J. Trump was in “rare form” Thursday night at his campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Then it occurred to me: The rant he delivered to an adoring crowd was an all-too-common occurrence from the 45th president of the United States.

The particularly shameful part of Trump’s tirade was his disgraceful, despicable denigration of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. It’s not enough for Trump to challenge someone’s policy positions, or their public votes, or their philosophical leanings.

Ohhh, no! This president employs fifth-grade-style language to criticize his foe’s appearance, which he did Thursday in Grand Rapids. He called Schiff “little pencil neck,” which quite naturally drew raucous laughter from the packed house full of Trumpsters. They just loved hearing the president of the United States of America denigrate the physical appearance of a former federal prosecutor who happens to chair a key House committee. Schiff has been highly critical of the president and his conduct during the 2016 campaign. I do not believe he ever has said anything publicly about Donald Trump’s physical appearance.

This is the rhetoric of an individual who vowed to “make America great again.” He said he would be an “unconventional” president. He promised to restore dignity to the nation’s highest office. Trump pledged to “put America first.”

None of that kind of schoolyard bullying is going to accomplish any of it. But . . . none of that will dissuade this president from continuing his hideous insult campaign against his foes.

Oh, I truly wonder how in the name of decency, dignity and decorum those who comprise Trump’s political base can continue to support this individual’s moronic public behavior.

Someone will have to explain it to me.

I’m all ears. Anyone? Hello?

Chairman Schiff lays it on the line

I have watched this soliloquy a couple of times. I consider it quite compelling.

The speaker is House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who Donald Trump has ridiculed with a tasteless nickname. He also has bastardized his name.

Schiff responds in this video to his nine Republican committee colleagues who have signed a letter demanding his resignation from the committee chairmanship.

Schiff responded with a controlled sense of seething at the gall of his GOP colleagues, one of whom happens to be Devin Nunes, who chaired the committee until this year.

Schiff stands by his belief that there was “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russians who interfered with our electoral system. He recites chapter and verse the events of that campaign that has caused so much angst.

Hey, it’s only a little more than 5 minutes long. I found it fascinating. You might, too.

Congressional toxicity is flaring to dangerous level

So . . . just how toxic is the atmosphere in Congress, if not in all of Washington, D.C.?

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff provided a critical example.

Committee Republicans today demanded that Schiff resign as chairman of the committee. Donald Trump has called on Schiff to quit Congress altogether. GOP Intelligence Committee member Mike Conaway of Midland said Schiff no longer has the standing to lead the committee and said he should resign immediately.

Schiff has been a stern critic of Donald Trump. He maintains that the president’s campaign did collude with Russians despite special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings to the contrary.

Schiff then took the microphone after Conaway’s lecture and gave it right back to his GOP colleagues. He held firm on his assertion that there was collusion. “You might say that’s all OK,” Schiff said. “You might say that’s just what you need to do to win. But I don’t think it’s OK. I think it is immoral, I think it is unethical, I think it’s unpatriotic and, yes, I think it’s corrupt.”

Yes, it is highly toxic on Capitol Hill. The mood between Congress and the White House is equally toxic.

Why mention it? Because it seems different now than any era I can recall. President Bush 43 managed to maintain working relationships with the likes of Sen. Ted Kennedy; President Reagan famously befriended House Speaker Tip O’Neill, his after-hours drinking buddy; President Bush 41 also maintained strong friendships with House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski; President Clinton managed to work with House Speaker Newt Gingrich to craft a balanced federal budget.

These days we hear Donald Trump calling Adam Schiff “pencil neck.” He is throwing out “traitorous” and “treasonous” terms to describe Democrats behavior during the special counsel’s probe into alleged collusion; and, yes, Democrats have tossed those terms at the White House, too.

Good government requires leaders of both political parties to find common ground. Dear reader, there ain’t a bit of commonality to be found these days. Anywhere!

It is going to get more divisive, more toxic the deeper we plow into the 2020 election season. After that remains anyone’s guess.

It is no fun — none at all — watching these men and women tear each others’ lungs out. Too many important matters are going unresolved because of the outright hatred one senses among politicians across the aisle that divides them.

Oops! Or so it should go for Rep. Schiff

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff needs to invoke a four-letter utterance made famous by a Trump Cabinet official who once ran for president of the United States.

Oops! That’s what Energy Secretary Rick Perry said when he couldn’t think of the third agency he would shut down were he elected president in 2012.

Well, Chairman Schiff is now eating his words in an “oops” moment.

Stand down, Mr. Chairman

He said that he knew of “more than circumstantial evidence” that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

Except that special counsel Robert Mueller disagreed with Schiff. He filed his report over the weekend and concluded that he didn’t have enough to charge the Trump team with collusion.

House and Senate Republicans are steamed at Schiff. They say he owes Trump and apology. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has demanded that his fellow Californian resign from his Intel Committee chairmanship, if not from the House altogether.

That is an overreach. Perhaps he could apologize whenever the president says he’s sorry for fomenting lies about Barack Obama’s birth, or for mocking the New York Times reporter’s disability, or for saying the late John McCain was a “war hero only because he was captured” during the Vietnam War.

Schiff is standing behind his belief that there’s more to learn about collusion, although he said he accepts Mueller’s judgment.

The Intelligence Committee chairman needs to stand down on this collusion matter. Robert Mueller looked high and low for criminal behavior. He didn’t find it. I get that Schiff is unhappy with the result; so are many millions of other Americans . . . me included.

But that’s what we got.

As for the obstruction of justice matter, Mueller was decidedly non-committal.

Perhaps, though, Chairman Schiff ought to just say “oops!” and go on to the next thing, whatever it is.

Time for Schiff and others to put up ‘direct evidence’

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said today he has seen “direct evidence” that the Donald Trump campaign “colluded” with Russians who sought to intervene in our 2016 presidential election.

Hmm. Direct evidence. Well, I believe there is a mountain of circumstantial evidence piling up all around the president and his campaign operatives.

The California Democratic chairman, though, keeps teasing us with sound bites alluding to direct evidence that the Trump team worked hand in glove with Russian goons who sought to bring dirt on Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee in 2016.

I am still awaiting special counsel Robert Mueller to deliver his report. It needs to be made public. Mueller’s lengthy and thorough investigation needs lay out clear evidence. I no longer want to hear from Schiff who makes statements about direct evidence but then cannot divulge the details of how he knows about such matters.

All this rhetorical teasing does is give Donald Trump ammo to fire back at his political foes.