Congressman Adam Schiff of California made the bizarre claim Sunday on CBS News’ Face The Nation that impeachment is “an additional tool” at the Democrats’ disposal for exposing alleged crimes of Donald Trump when other attempts at “oversight” fail to uncover them.
“If we conclude that there is no other way to do our jobs, no other way to do the oversight, no other way to show the American people what this president has done — his unethical and illegal acts as outlined in the Mueller report — then we may get [impeachment] … It provides an additional tool.”
Schiff did not specify what illegal acts were revealed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Mueller’s findings showed no evidence to prove the Russian collusion conspiracy theory that insisted the Trump campaign was working with the Russians before the 2016 election.
Of course, Schiff has the whole process backward. Impeachment is done in response to provable criminal acts, which the Mueller report found none. If there had been anything impeachable in the Mueller report, Democrats would have moved on impeachment already, and they likely would have public support for it. However, as I previously reported, American voters overwhelmingly oppose impeaching President Trump.
The hypocrisy of Schiff and other Democrats is really astounding considering the number of impeachable offenses committed by Barack Obama that they ignored for their own political gain. Schiff thinks that obstruction of justice is the ticket to impeachment, yet the Mueller investigation, the target of the alleged corruption, could not conclude that they were obstructed. Yet, actual, provable obstruction by Obama was ignored or defended by Democrats for eight years.
Bill Clinton was impeached after the Starr report determined and made a solid case that he was guilty of perjury, obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and witness-tampering. The Mueller report determined there was no collusion/conspiracy with Russia, and could not prove obstruction. Impeachment isn’t about looking for the crime. Schiff is basically saying that as long as Democrats believe there was a crime then they are justified in holding impeachment hearings.
Democrats responded to the impeachment of Bill Clinton by turning impeachment into a political tool to target Republican presidents—essentially over policy disputes and conspiracy theories. In 2008, Congressmen Dennis Kucinich and Robert Wexler introduced thirty-five articles of impeachment against President Bush over, amongst other things, not addressing global warming, attempting to destroy Medicare, alleged tampering with the 2004 elections, and the Iraq war. Despite many predictions that Republicans would respond in kind with Barack Obama, no articles of impeachment were ever written or proposed—and that’s not for a lack of legitimately impeachable offenses.
The politicization of impeachment is doing a major disservice to the American people, as Congress seems more focused on gotcha politics than doing the business of the American people. Adam Schiff is a huge part of the problem. He repeatedly lied to the American people about having evidence of Russian collusion in order to undermine President Trump, and now he’s saying impeachment is an investigative weapon, rather than a process for removing a president whose criminal acts have already been investigated.
Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published in July 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis