“For some of our members who are defending the Constitution, it is their finest hour,” Schiff said in a Thursday interview on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” “But for others who are willfully blinding themselves to this president’s misconduct, it is the most shameful hour.”
The California Democrat, a frequent target of Trump’s, then lowered his head and laid out what the years ahead might look like for Republicans united in supporting a president who faces the prospect of the House Judiciary Committee voting Friday morning to send the two articles of impeachment against him — “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” for his dealings with Ukraine — to the House floor next week.
“I wonder how they are going to explain one day when their grandchild comes to them and says, ‘Granddad, Grandmom, please tell me what you did when that unethical man, that terrible man, that man that was putting people in cages, dividing our country, extorting our allies — please tell me what you did to stand up to that man,’ ” Schiff said of Republicans to Colbert. “What will their answer be? For all too many, it will be nothing. It will be nothing, except shame.”
Schiff’s late-night appearance aired shortly after the House Judiciary Committee adjourned its Thursday hearing after more than 14 hours in a markup session described by The Washington Post as “rancorous and contentious,” with Republicans calling the process “Stalinesque” and comparing the proceedings to a “kangaroo court.” It was a day that also featured lawmakers engaged in a seemingly endless flurry of irate exchanges, personal insults and past scandals, including Hunter Biden’s struggles with drug addiction and a past DUI arrest of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).
In New York, Schiff sat in amazement over Thursday’s hearing, saying that the raw emotions on display by Republicans in their defense of Trump during the hearings were “things I never would have imagined I would ever hear either party say.” For much of the interview, Schiff reiterated how the impeachment proceedings are, at its core, about the country’s national security and whether Trump was able to place the needs of Americans above his reelection.
“The founders, I have to say, there were three things they were concerned about and they’re all present here,” he said to Colbert. “They were concerned that an unethical person would become president and abuse their power. They were concerned that that unethical president would seek to have a foreign power interfere in our affairs. And they were concerned that they would do so in the context of an election, try to prejudice an election.”
When Colbert referenced Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, traveling to Ukraine in the middle of the impeachment hearings focused on the president’s dealings with that very country, the Democratic congressman could only slightly smile as began to describe Trump soliciting foreign help in elections as “a continuing risk to our democracy.”
“This is not just about prior conduct,” Schiff said. “It’s not just about — although it would be more than enough — the president inviting Russia to interfere and then inviting Ukraine to interfere. It is about what is going on today as the president and his allies continue to try to invite foreign interference in our election.”
He added: “It never stopped. It never will stop unless we put an end to it.”