Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) says he’s planning a new round of impeachment hearings amid claims from Democrats and the media that House Democrats did not make their case for impeachment.
Over the weekend, The Daily Wire reported that vulnerable Democrats — and even left-leaning media stalwart, The New York Times — were questioning whether Democratic leadership should move forward on an impeachment vote, given that the House Intelligence Committee, led by Schiff, failed to do much more than establish circumstantial evidence of a possible quid pro quo agreement between the president and Ukrainian officials.
Vulnerable and moderate Democrats say the hearings, which produced little in the way of first-person testimony of President Donald Trump’s alleged “high crimes and misdemeanors,” and featured few big-name witnesses, are costing them support and could cost them key races. Independents are fleeing from the impeachment inquiry in droves and, for the first time since the hearings started, fewer than 50% of Americans believe the President should be impeached.
Furthermore, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who has been suspiciously absent these last two weeks, has refused to provide air support in toss-up races, and the Democratic National Committee isn’t matching the millions of dollars in advertising that Republicans plan to air over Thanksgiving and the holiday season, pushing against the Democrats’ message of presidential malfeasance.
To top it off, The New York Times questioned Schiff’s handling of the impeachment inquiry on Saturday, suggesting that the absence of major players from the witness stand shows Schiff is nervous about his own case.
The Times is being astute: Schiff hasn’t put any of the big names, mentioned often in other witnesses’ testimony, on the stand for cross-examination. Rudy Giuliani isn’t slated to appear. Neither is John Bolton, or Mick Mulvaney. Vice President Mike Pence sent his own statement to the committee but wasn’t asked to testify. Even the president offered to submit himself to interrogatories but was ignored.
The whistleblower wasn’t asked to give his or her account of the alleged incident — even in a closed session, and even though the whistleblower’s account was referenced repeatedly as being the core basis for Schiff’s impeachment case.
Part of the problem is, of course, that Schiff doesn’t want the White House to mount a defense, and certainly doesn’t want House Republicans to poke holes in witness testimony. But as a result, he’s managed to “make a case for impeachment” that hinges entirely on the word of low-level — and often anonymous — Federal employees.
That seems to be needling at Schiff. On Monday, he told CNN that he’s reconsidering wrapping up his report before Thanksgiving and may now call additional witnesses, including, potentially, John Bolton.
“We don’t foreclose the possibility of more depositions, more hearings,” Schiff told the network Sunday. “We are in the process of getting more documents all the time. So that investigative work is being done.”
“We’ve certainly been in touch with [John Bolton’s] lawyer and what we’ve been informed by his lawyer because we invited him and he did not choose to come in and testify is if we subpoena him, they will sue us in court,” Schiff said. “Now, he will have to explain one day if he maintains that position why he wanted to wait to put it in a book instead of telling the American people what he knew when it really mattered to the country.”
But he won’t have to respond to a subpoena, Schiff said, cutting off the House’s ability to get the details of Bolton’s story.