4, October 2019
The rapidly escalating impeachment inquiry against US President Donald Trump is the latest and perhaps most serious threat to his presidency, and the White House is failing to contain the crisis, accoding to US media reports.
US Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, has become the public face of the impeachment investigation about the Republican president, which has has produced an intense partisan fight in Washington.
House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry in September after an unidentified whistleblower alleged Trump had sought to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate former US Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Trump has branded the impeachment probe a “hoax” and has attacked Schiff as a “lowlife” and a “liar.”
“Schiff is a lowlife who should resign (at least!),” Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday. Hours later at a White House news conference, he described Schiff as a “stone-cold liar.”
Trump’s aggressive new strategy to thwart the Democrats’ impeachment offensive is already sinking under the weight of new revelations, CNN reported.
Text messages released on Thursday between US diplomats and a senior Ukrainian aide reveal that Zelensky was told he should open an investigation against Biden if he wanted an invitation to visit Washington.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Schiff accused Trump with “incitement of violence” in his combative response to the whistleblower complaint and inquiry.
“It’s hard to imagine a more corrupt course of conduct,” Schiff said of the phone call and the alleged efforts to keep private its contents.
“We’re not fooling around here,” Schiff said. “We don’t want this to drag on for months and months and months, which appears to be the administration’s strategy.”
Schiff also warned US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who recently admitted to having participated in the call with Zelensky, that “any effort” to keep State Department officials from testifying before the House Intelligence Committee would be “evidence of obstruction.”
During a July 25 call, Trump asked Zelenskiy to speak with the Republican president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani about whether Ukrainian officials improperly dropped an investigation of a company that hired Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
Schiff, who represents a district in Los Angeles, California, was also defender of the investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
A two-year investigation by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller that ended in March concluded that Moscow sought to influence the election in Trump’s favor and that his campaign worked to benefit from those efforts, but did not find evidence to establish a conspiracy.
US Representative Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia, said Schiff was a good choice to lead the impeachment probe because he could withstand the president’s attacks and is “not going to be deterred from doing his job.”