House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said on Sunday that if President Donald Trump is acquitted in the U.S. Senate with regard to the impeachment charges, that it would not necessarily mean the process was a failure.
According to Politico, Schiff made the assertion during an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week. The California lawmaker seems to have changed his position on the matter. In a statement earlier this year, he warned that a failed impeachment process would be bad for America.
“No, it isn’t a failure,” Schiff said when posed with the question Sunday. “At least it’s not a failure in the sense of our constitutional duty in the House.”
Before the anonymous whistleblower from the U.S. intelligence community filed a report about the president’s dealings with Ukraine, Schiff was among some in the Democratic-controlled House who weren’t keen on the idea of impeaching Trump.
While others in the House were already pushing for impeachment well before the Ukraine controversy, Schiff warned at the time that it wasn’t a good idea.
“The only thing worse than putting the country through the trauma of impeachment is putting the country through the trauma of a failed impeachment,” Schiff stated in March.
But he took time during the interview with Stephanopoulos to clarify why he eventually changed his mind on the idea of impeaching the president, citing actions allegedly committed by Trump that he could no longer ignore.
“I will tell you what changed my mind, George, because you’re right; I resisted going down this road toward impeachment,” Schiff said. “But it was two things. It was the discovery of the most egregious conduct to date.”
Schiff went on to explain the difference in mindset over the original calls for Trump’s impeachment, which involved the controversy surrounding foreign election interference when Trump was a candidate and unable to wield the power of the White House to affect the outcome. He compared that to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine as president, in which he allegedly withheld a massive U.S. military aid package from the country in exchange for a political advantage over one of his 2020 opponents.
“That was not something we could turn away from,” Schiff said.
The chairman also ripped the president’s continued conduct, even as the impeachment proceedings advance through the House and eventually are passed over to the Senate. Schiff labeled Trump’s actions as a “clear and present danger” to American democracy.