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Pro Tip For Reporters: Don't Ask Adam Schiff A Stupid Question

At today's joint press conference, a reporter wondered if Dems were making too much of the Zelensky phone call. The Chairman of the Intelligence Committee set him straight.

This morning, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff held a joint press conference to update the public on three of the most pressing issues taking up space in the nation's psyche: the cost of prescription drugs, trade, and oh, have we mentioned Trump is being impeached?

Before launching into the substance of the presser, they thanked people for coming to work over what, for some, is the High Holiday season, and even more movingly, paid solemn tribute to Jamal Khashoggi on the one-year anniversary of his brutal murder by Trump's besties, the Saudis. It was a poignant reminder to a roomful of journalists of the importance and seriousness of their work, should they choose to approach it that way.

After masterfully controlling the content and pace of the presser by insisting the first questions be about the first two topics, (to a reporter who tried to ask about impeachment: "Excuse me, dear, I'm first doing HR-3. Anyone on HR-3? Does anybody in this room care about the cost of prescription drugs?") Speaker Pelosi turned to the topic of impeachment.

A reporter then asked about Trump's phone call to Ukrainian president Zelensky, actually wondering if the Democrats might be making too much of it.

Astonished, Speaker Pelosi said, "Absolutely not."

She immediately yielded to Chairman Schiff, who proceeded to hit his answer out of the park.

REP ADAM SCHIFF, CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, if you think about what the framers were concerned about at the time of the drafting of the Constitution, they were paramountly concerned about foreign interference in American affairs. They wanted to ensure that the president of the United States was defending the interest and national security of the United States and not corruptly, secretly advancing some private agenda with a foreign power. It's hard to imagine a set of circumstances that would have alarmed the founders more than what's on that call, where you have a president using the full power of his office to try to effectively coerce a foreign leader that is completely dependent on our country for military, economic, diplomatic and other support, to intervene in our election, to help his campaign, it's hard to imagine a more corrupt course of conduct.

To my Republican colleagues that say there's nothing to see here or, yeah, it's bad but is it really something you'd remove the president from office for, they're going to have to answer, if this conduct doesn't rise to the level of the concern the founders had, what conduct does? We only know some of the facts at this point. The call record seems to be pretty indisputed. The suspension of military assistance is undisputed now. The sequestration of this call record and maybe others into a file in which they were never supposed to be placed, a file that is for classified information of the highest order, covert action, for example, those facts are not contested. But all the facts around that we need to flesh out. What was the State Department's role, what was the Secretary's role, what was the role of the Attorney General? There's a great more that we need to know to understand the full depth of the president's misconduct. Maybe when that comes out, it will persuade some of those Republicans to recognize the gravity of the situation, but I think we have to be realistic here. There seems to be no floor below which this president can drop that some of the GOP members, and maybe even many of the GOP members would not be willing to endorse, look away from, avoid comment on, let alone rise to condemn as incompatible with the duties of his office.

Chairman Schiff's assessment is spot-on, both in terms of the framers' concept of what should trigger impeachment, and of the GOP's bottomless limit for corruption, murder, and other inflicted trauma merely to retain their stranglehold on power.

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