Donald Trump will be looking at the prospect of impeachment if the allegations that he tried to force Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political opponent are true, a top congressional Democrat said on Sunday.
Congressman Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union that Congress will have no option but to start impeachment if the reports turn out to be true. Schiff has led the House investigation into allegations that Trump colluded with Russia, and warned that another investigation could be on its way.
“The president is pushing us down this road and if in particular — after having sought foreign assistance and welcomed foreign assistant in the last presidential campaign as a candidate, he is now doing the same thing again but now using the power of the presidency — then he may force us to go down this road,” Schiff said, via Axios. “I’ve spoken with a number of colleagues over the last week and this seems different in kind and we may very well have crossed the Rubicon here.”
Trump was reportedly at the center of an urgent whistleblower complaint from a member of the U.S. intelligence community for his actions to try to strong-arm Ukraine into investigating the business dealings of Joe Biden’s son in Ukraine. Reports indicated that Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a July 25 phone call, asking eight times over the course of the call for him to lead an investigation into Hunter Biden.
Around the time of the call, Trump was withholding $250 in military aid that Congress had authorized for Ukraine, which led to bipartisan criticism that eventually caused Trump to relent and authorize the funding.
Schiff has been leading the charge in Congress to have the whistleblower complaint released, which critics say has been illegally withheld.
Schiff’s statement comes amid growing tension within the Democratic Party on how to proceed on impeachment. Though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has advocated a slow and deliberate strategy, and pushed off calls to immediately start impeachment proceedings, a growing number of Democrats have demanded that this process start. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of the frontrunners for the party’s presidential nomination in 2020, demanded that Congress fulfill its duty to start the impeachment process.
Donald Trump has said that nothing in the July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian leader was inappropriate, and repeatedly demanded that reporters look into claims that Biden created “corruption” in Ukraine.