Tag Archives: Adam Schiff

Trump undermines IG’s authority, ability to serve the public

U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff — to no one’s surprise — has condemned Donald Trump’s decision to fire the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson.

Why did the president can the IG? Because, in my view, Atkinson was doing the job to which he was assigned, which was to root out allegations of government fraud and abuse of power.

Trump, though, sees it differently.

Atkinson had revealed to Congress a report from a whistleblower who had reported that Trump had placed a phone call to the president of Ukraine in which he sought a political favor in exchange for weapons that Congress had approved for Ukraine’s fight against Russia-backed rebels.

The phone call led ultimately to Trump’s impeachment by the House and a Senate trial that acquitted him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Trump this week called Atkinson’s report “fake news.” He said Atkinson did a “terrible job” as inspector general and that the report of alleged abuse of power was discredited by his acquittal in the Senate.

Indeed, the report was not “fake.” It was credible. The acquittal in the Senate trial came about only because insufficient numbers of senators voted to convict Trump.

So, for Trump to fire an inspector general simply for doing his job amounts to one more example of presidential bullying.

As for Schiff’s criticism, the congressman said that Trump is trying to undermine the independence of the IG. As Newsweek reported: The congressman warned that the president was “retaliating” against perceived enemies and placing “cronies” to lead oversight, all while the nation is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

Retaliation against “perceived enemies” sounds completely believable to me.

Schiff delivers sensational closing argument

I know I am about to engage in a bit of wishful thinking, but humor me for just a moment.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, the lead House manager in the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, delivered one of the more stirring political speeches I’ve heard since, oh, I can’t remember.

He made the case — to my admittedly biased ears — for the conviction and removal of the current president of the United States, whom the House impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Those two allegations are enough to kick the president out of office. Furthermore, he said that Trump cannot be trusted to do the right thing, that he has no moral compass that guides him toward the light. He’ll never change, Schiff said.

I couldn’t help but think what some of the senators who listened to him might be thinking, particularly those who are known to be ready to acquit Trump of the charges leveled against him.

I had to wonder: Are any of them moved to at least reconsider their decision?

Here is Schiff’s closing argument. He speaks with absolute clarity.

I know that he was preaching to the proverbial choir when he spoke to me. I just want to share this historic example of statesmanship.

House managers might as well talk to the furniture

I cannot shake the belief that House of Representatives managers seeking to persuade U.S. senators to allow additional witnesses in the trial of Donald John Trump must be feeling an unbearable sense of frustration.

Surely they know that the Republican-led Senate has dug in to oppose any witness testimony and to likely acquit the president of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Yet the managers, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, are slogging forward with their arguments to allow “fact witnesses” to tell senators what they know about Trump’s soliciting a foreign government for political help.

They are better men and women than I would be were I put into that position.

These individuals might as well be talking to the furniture arrayed before them in the Senate chamber. Most of the individuals who are sitting in their chairs are conducting a shameful sham that they are presenting to us as a trial.

What do you mean, Mr. POTUS, about Schiff paying ‘a price’?

Donald John Trump’s Twitter digits are working overtime. Indeed, they have been doing so for, oh, the past three-plus years!

Now he says U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who is serving as lead manager in the Senate impeachment trial of Trump, will “pay a price” for damaging the country.

Many folks are concerned about the chilling implication. “Pay a price?” What does that mean, Mr. President?

I guess he means voters in Schiff’s California congressional district will boot him out of office later this year. But he didn’t say what he meant specifically.

Others have suggested a potential “death threat.” Trump’s allies are defending him, saying no one should ascribe such dire consequence in something the president fires off on Twitter.

I am just one American who wishes — but long ago quit expecting — Donald Trump to cease the Twitter tantrums/tirades/tempests.

He is on trial in the Senate on allegations that he abused his power and obstructed Congress’s effort to get to the bottom of his abuse of power. It’s all about the Ukraine thing, asking that government for a political favor and withholding military aid until it delivered on the favor, which was an investigation into Joe Biden, a potential 2020 foe of Trump.

Schiff’s committee took the lead in investigating the allegation. Now he is leading the House managers in prosecuting that case in the Senate.

It’s all being done constitutionally, legally, according to custom.

However, Donald Trump is issuing a veiled threat? Via Twitter?

Knock … it … off!

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?