According to several reports, President Trump sent his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to dig up dirt on his 2020 competitor, former Vice President Joe Biden. As IJR previously reported, there are questions swirling about Biden’s role in the termination of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was allegedly investigating Hunter Biden, the vice president’s son.
Giuliani visited Ukraine to try to find evidence that ties the vice president to corrupt dealings from when he was leading U.S. policy in Ukraine for former President Barack Obama. However, new reports from a whistleblower claim that President Trump may be withholding foreign aid to Ukraine over his desire for an investigation into Biden.
During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Schiff told host Jake Tapper that withholding aid from an allied nation in order to allegedly get dirt on a political opponent may be an impeachable offense.
Watch Schiff’s comments:
“I have been very reluctant to go down the path of impeachment for the reason that I think the Founders contemplated in a country that has elections every four years, that this would be an extraordinary remedy, a remedy of last resort, not first resort. But if the president is essentially withholding military aid at the same time that he is trying to browbeat a foreign leader into doing something illicit — that is providing dirt on his opponent during a presidential campaign — then that may be the only remedy that is only co-equal to the evil that that conduct represents.”
Schiff noted that he believes this behavior is more damaging to the president’s future than any of the actions he was accused of doing as a candidate because he currently has the “power of the presidency” behind his talks with international groups. While Schiff claims Senate Republicans will never back impeachment, he did note that he believes his colleagues in the House may find this series of events worth impeachment.
“There’s no chance of us persuading the Senate — the Senate Republicans — in an impeachment trial. They have shown their willingness to carry the president’s baggage no matter how soiled its contents. But I want to make sure before we go down this road that we could persuade the public this was the right thing to do and part of persuading the public that impeachment is the right thing to do is making sure the country understands that this was a last resort. […] 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. 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.”
As Schiff noted, he will be holding a hearing with the director of national intelligence on Thursday to try to get answers surrounding the whistleblower’s report on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. As IJR previously reported, former Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) claimed that the intelligence community has been hesitant to work with Schiff over alleged leaks from his office.