Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, on Thursday lashed out at Republicans’ moral character —but said he was “not there yet” on whether impeachment proceedings should begin against President Donald Trump.
In a sit-down with Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, Schiff said GOP lawmakers had come up to him privately to “express their deep concerns and worries” about the Trump administration, and encouraged his panel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“But I’m, frankly, exhausted by the private misgivings,” Schiff said. “People need to speak out.”
He added, however, there is a deeper problem with Republicans, whom Schiff accused of bending their values to adhere to the president’s agenda.
“To me, that’s what has our republic trembling — that one party will not do its duty,” he said.
The lawmaker said he respected Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., who became the first Republican lawmaker to accuse Trump of committing impeachable offenses. He also recalled — and lauded — the late Sen. John McCain’s clashes with the president, calling the Arizona Republican courageous.
“I think what we knew, implicitly, was that courage is contagious,” he said. “But what we didn’t realize is that cowardice is also contagious. I think there’s been an epidemic of cowardice in the GOP. This president doesn’t stand for anything that the Republican Party said it stood for.”
“I think the most powerful argument to be made is regardless of what the Senate will do, regardless of whether an acquittal is inevitable, when the president’s conduct is at such a deleterious level, the House should act nonetheless,” Schiff added. “And damn the consequences.”
But he also said the impeachment proceedings would be an “absorbing and wrenching experience.”
“I’m not there yet,” Schiff said. “Although the president seems to be doing everything in his power to get me there.”
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