President Donald Trump is back in Washington today following a two-day NATO Summit in London. But what he said in London may not stay in London. Comments he made about Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, may overshadow his trip abroad.
“I think he’s a maniac,” Trump said.
“Adam Schiff is a deranged human being. I think he grew up with a complex for lots of reasons that are obvious. I think he is a very sick man. And he lies. Adam Schiff made up my conversation with the president of Ukraine.”
It was Trump’s latest salvo against Schiff, the leading Democrat of an impeachment report released Tuesday outlining allegations of malfeasance by the President. The report was based on testimony from witnesses at hearings held last month looking into a phone call Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
During the call Trump asked Zelensky if he was going to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden. The younger Biden was a board member for a Ukrainian energy company and his father is running in the Democrat primaries to become the party’s nominee for the 2020 election. Democrats argue Trump used his office in an attempt to attack a political rival.
In their impeachment report they wrote that the President “placed his own personal and political interests above national interests of the United States,” something Schiff has also suggested.
Trump released a transcript of his phone call with the Ukrainian President shortly after Schiff re-enacted the conversation between the two world leaders in Congress. What Schiff called a parody had followed a whistleblower complaint about the phone call. Zelensky has said on several occasions that Trump did not pressure him to investigate Hunter Biden.
The impeachment inquiry hearings have now moved from the Intelligence Committee to the House Judiciary Committee. In Washington on Wednesday, four law professors testified about the legal grounds for impeachment before the committee.
Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan said the president’s conduct was “so egregious it merits the drastic remedy of impeachment.” Two other law professors called by the Democrats also said Trump’s conduct met the standard for impeachment. The sole professor called by Republicans said the threshold for impeachment has not been met.
George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley noted everyone seems to be mad – even his dog. He added that anger is not enough to merit impeachment.
“If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president,” he said in his opening statement.
“That does not bode well for future presidents who are working in a country often sharply, and at times, bitterly divided.”
The Judiciary Committee will continue the hearings next week. House Democrats could vote on impeachment before their holiday recess on Dec. 20. If they vote to impeach Trump, the President would face a trial in the Senate.