Rep. Adam Schiff has the lion share of control regarding what appears to be the single most consequential scandal facing Donald Trump’s presidency. The Democratic opponent of the president, for the moment, is driving a narrative that could lead to Trump’s impeachment.
It was Schiff’s news release earlier this month that first revealed a whistleblower had filed an “urgent” and credible complaint against someone in the executive branch. It was Schiff who issued a subpoena and secured testimony from the intelligence community’s top watchdog. It was Schiff who confirmed he had been blocked from providing details to Congress, in apparent violation of the law.
And it was Schiff, a top ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who jarred the Capitol when he said on Sunday that Trump may have “crossed the Rubicon” of impeachable conduct by pressuring Ukrainian officials into investigating Joe Biden.
Schiff maintains that it is Trump who is “pushing” us down this road.
Some moderate Democrats have floated the possibility of Schiff leading a special committee to handle an investigation that could lead to Trump’s impeachment, which they see as a more cautious route to a possible floor vote. These lawmakers believe Schiff could move the focus toward national security, which they say is a more persuasive argument to make for Trump’s impeachment.
The Intelligence Committee is getting to work on gathering information about the whistleblower complaint. On Tuesday, Schiff said the whistleblower wants to speak with his panel “and has requested guidance” from the Trump administration.” He said the whistleblower could testify as soon as this week.
Trump, who has denied improper conduct, seems aware of Schiff’s centrality to the new allegations against him.
“[W]ho is this so-called “whistleblower” who doesn’t know the correct facts. Is he on our Country’s side. Where does he come from,” Trump tweeted Monday. “Is this all about Schiff & the Democrats again after years of being wrong?”
Schiff hinted last week that the House could sue the Trump administration to obtain the whistleblower complaint.