Adam Schiff: GOP "deathly afraid" of impeachment trial witnesses

Elias Hubbard
January 29, 2020

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser says Trump wanted to maintain a freeze on military assistance to Ukraine until it launched political investigations into his Democratic rivals.

Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, the head of the prosecution, told Senators this week that the campaign of pressure on Ukraine was a "corrupt scheme" in which Trump also temporarily froze nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine.

Markey said Trump's attorneys omitted facts in their two-hour presentation Saturday and included misinformation, such as the claim that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

"Do you take that as a threat?" asked Chuck Todd, the show's host.

"I think it's meant to be", Schiff answered.

That point has been disputed by legal scholars and Dershowitz himself argued the opposite view during the 1998 impeachment trial of Democratic President Bill Clinton.

After a two-hour opening argument Saturday, Trump's defense team will lay out its case in depth beginning Monday.

Several of those GOP senators - including Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of ME - have criticised Schiff for referencing the report, maintaining that the White House has not threatened them to vote against calling witnesses.

At least two Republican senators - Susan Collins of ME, who is running for re-election this year, and Mitt Romney of Utah, elected in 2018 - appear to be leaning toward calling witnesses.

Schiff on Sunday said he has no issue with Republicans calling witnesses as long as they are not "irrelevant".

"I think they're definitely afraid of what witnesses will have to say, and so their whole strategy has been deprive the public of a fair trial", Schiff, a California Democrat, said on ABC's "This Week".

"I would like to be able to hear from John Bolton".

Republican Senator Mitt Romney, an occasional critic of Mr Trump, said he was "likely" to support the Democrats' demand but other Republicans indicated that their minds were all but made up.

"They don't really contest the president's scheme".

Trump had previously rebuffed senior US officials who had called for the aid to be restored, the newspaper said, airing his long-standing grievances about Ukraine, which mixed legitimate efforts by some Ukrainians to back his Democratic 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, with unsupported accusations and outright conspiracy theories about the country.

Chief Justice John Roberts will read the questions aloud.

Allowing a president to thumb his nose by refusing to cooperate with a congressional investigation would set a unsafe precedent, giving the president power to operate without congressional oversight, King said.

The House impeached Trump on charges of abusing the powers of his office by asking Ukraine to investigate Biden and of obstructing a congressional inquiry into his conduct. "That's what the president's defense team is trying to do". "Even if true, they did not allege impeachable offenses", Dershowitz told "Fox News Sunday". Mr. Trump's team has argued that he can not be convicted or removed because he is not accused of violating a law - an argument Mr. Dershowitz said he now agreed with because he had done more research.

Dershowitz replied that he has done extensive research since then and has concluded that "no, it has to be a crime". "That's what scholars do, that's what academics do". Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito said "it was pretty solemn, too, which I appreciated".

On Meet the Press, Schiff also appeared to play down the significance of a potential Senate vote to acquit Trump, arguing that such a vote would be meaningless if no witnesses are allowed to be called. "When your client is guilty or your client is dead to rights, you don't want to talk about your client's guilt", said Mr Schiff, a former prosecutor.

"They are asking you to do something very, very consequential and, I would submit to you ... very, very unsafe", he said.

Democrats on Sunday came to Mr. Schiff's defense. I don't think there's any doubt about it.

Chris Cameron contributed reporting.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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