In a wide-ranging interview on Meet the Press Sunday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) addressed the question of witnesses, Trump's threats, their Ukraine conspiracy theory, and more.
January 26, 2020

In a wide-ranging interview on Meet the Press Sunday, Rep. Adam Schiff had thoughts about Trump's threats aimed at him, Republican sensitive feelings, the need to call witnesses and introduce evidence in the trial, and more.

On Trump's tweeted threat:

CHUCK TODD: What do you make of the criticism that some Republican senators, who you might want to see vote for witnesses, didn't like your "head on a pike" comment? Murkowski, Collins, and Ernst. All three Republican senators who are -- might be open to witnesses thought you got too personal.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Well, I don't think it was personal to refer to the CBS story. What may be personal though, and I think I have to be very candid about this, is I made the argument that it's going to require moral courage to stand up to this president. And this is a wrathful and vindictive president. I don't think there's any doubt about it. And if you think there is, look at the president's tweets about me today, saying that I should pay a price.

CHUCK TODD: Do you take that as a threat?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: I think it's intended to be.

Schiff also addressed Chuck Todd's ridiculously framed question about Hunter Biden as a witness, where he asked a former U.S. Attorney and the lead impeachment manager, "What are you afraid of?" As if fear is a driver. Schiff shattered that frame forever:

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, it's not a question of what I'm afraid of. I'm not afraid of anything. The question is: Should the trial be used as a vehicle to smear his opponent? Is that the purpose of a Senate trial? Or is it to get to the truth? Because if it's to get to the truth, Hunter Biden can't tell us anything about the withholding of the military funding. Hunter Biden can't tell us why the president wouldn't let the president of Ukraine into the Oval Office. Hunter Biden can't tell us anything about that. And so, you know, it's a false choice to say, "Well, if the House gets to call the witnesses, doesn't the president?"

Yes, we both get to call witnesses. We both get to call relevant ones. And one other point on this, Chuck, which is important. We have a very capable justice sitting right behind me who can make decisions about the materiality of witnesses. We trust the Supreme Court justice, the chief justice, to make those decisions. And one final thing, if you will … The president's team is pushing out the argument, "We don't have time to call witnesses. We'd really love to have these people testify. We just don't have time to do it. It would be too inconvenient." That's a dodge. We have a justice who can make decisions if there's any legitimate claim of privilege.

Schiff was also surprised Jay Sekulow continued to push Putin's talking points as a credible defense.

CHUCK TODD: The other part of the president's defense is to call into question the investigators, whether it's you or the intelligence community. Jay Sekulow basically said, "The president had every – has every right to question," essentially defending the idea that the president does have suspicions about Ukraine's role in 2016, going after the intelligence community. Were you surprised that the president's counsel did that on the floor of the Senate?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: I was surprised. I think it was a huge mistake. Basically, what he did, and this was really following the presentation we made the day before about the threat the president poses to the country because he continues to choose to believe people like Rudy Giuliani, he continues to believe Russian propaganda over his own intelligence agencies, over his own FBI director and that makes him dangerous to our country. And what do they do? They go and double down on that same crazy conspiracy theory, that Ukraine hacked the DNC server. It's astonishing. And, you know, for -- on the first day of the president's defense to say, "The president should disbelieve his own intelligence agencies. He has every right to believe Vladimir Putin," I wouldn't want to be making that argument.

The best part of this interview was how triggered Dirty Don was:

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