Schiff: Trump's Misconduct Cannot Be Decided At The Ballot Box, For We Cannot Be Assured He Can Fairly Win | Video | RealClearPolitics

Schiff: Trump's Misconduct Cannot Be Decided At The Ballot Box, For We Cannot Be Assured He Can Fairly Win

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In his opening remarks at the Senate impeachment trial today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) argued President Trump believes "he's above the law" and a vote cannot be decided at the 2020 ballot box because we can't be sure that vote will be fairly won.

"The president's misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won," he said.

SCHIFF: On the basis of this egregious misconduct, the House of Representatives returned two articles of impeachment against the president. First charging the president... the power among the, of the presidency to solicit foreign interference in the upcoming presidential election for his personal political benefit. And second, that President Trump obstructed an impeachment inquiry into that abuse of power in order to cover up his misconduct. The House did not take this extraordinary step lightly. As we will discuss, impeachment exists for cases in which the conduct of the president rises beyond mere policies disputes to be decided otherwise and without urgency at the ballot box.

Instead, we are here today to consider a much more grave matter and that is an attempt to use the powers of the presidency to cheat in an election. For precisely this reason, the president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won. In corruptly using his office to gain a political advantage and abusing the powers of that office in such a way to jeopardize our national security and the integrity of our elections, in obstructing the investigation into his own wrongdoing, the president has shown that he believes that he’s above the law and scornful of constraint. As we saw yesterday on the screen that under Article Two, he could do anything he wants.

Moreover, given the seriousness of the conduct at issue and its persistence, this matter cannot and must not be decided by the courts, which apart from the presence of the chief justice here today are given no role in impeachments in either the House or the Senate. Being drawn into litigation, taking many months or years to complete would provide the president with an opportunity to continue his misconduct. He would remain secure in the knowledge that he may tie up the Congress in the courts indefinitely, as he has with Don McGahn rendering the impeachment power effectively meaningless. We also took this step with the knowledge that this was not the first time the president solicited foreign interference in our elections. In 2016 then candidate Trump implored Russia to hack his opponent’s email accounts, something that the Russian military agency did only hours later, only hours later. When the president said, Hey, Russia, if you’re listening, they were listening. Only hours later they hacked his opponent’s campaign. And the president has made it clear, this would also not be the last time. Asking China only recently to join Ukraine in investigating his political opponent.


Watch Schiff's full argument:



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