Schiff warned Sunday that a Senate trial without additional witnesses won’t translate to an exoneration of the president.
Speaking two days after the House impeachment managers wrapped up their opening arguments, and the day after Trump’s legal team began their defense arguments, Schiff accused the president’s team of trying to convince senators “you don’t need a fair trial” that calls witnesses who had first-hand knowledge of the accusations against the president.
“If they are successful in depriving the country of a fair trial, there is no exoneration,” Schiff said during an exclusive interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“Americans will recognize that the country did not get what the founders intended.”
Trump on Sunday suggested Schiff will pay a "price" for his role in the impeachment saga.
The president posted those comments after writing earlier Sunday that his impeachment "is a massive election interference the likes of which has never been seen before."
Speaking with NBC's "Meet the Press," Schiff, the lead House impeachment manager, said he thought Trump's tweet is "intended to be" a threat to him.
Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and several Democratic colleagues criticized Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday over his attack on the integrity of an NPR reporter who said he berated and cursed at her after she pressed him on why he hasn't defended former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
“At a time when journalists around the world are being jailed for their reporting — and as in the case of Jamal Khashoggi, killed — your insulting and contemptuous comments are beneath the office of the secretary of state,” the senators wrote in a letter to Pompeo. “Instead of calling journalists ‘liars’ and insulting their intelligence when they ask you hard questions you would rather not answer, your oath of office places on you a duty and obligation to engage respectfully and transparently.”
Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., joined Menendez on the letter.
President Donald Trump appears to have asked donors for their assessment of how long Ukraine could survive against Russia and called for ousting the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine without even knowing her name, according to a recording obtained Saturday by NBC News.
The recording is from an April 2018 dinner attended by indicted Rudy Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, according to Parnas’ attorney. NBC News has not confirmed that the voices on the tape are of Trump, Parnas and Fruman, but Trump can be seen in early parts of the video. Neither he nor the White House have disputed that the recording is authentic.
Trump, who has asserted publicly he doesn’t know Parnas and Fruman, appears to have spoken at length about Ukraine and Russia with them during the dinner, along with other topics, including cannabis legalization and their natural gas venture.
In the recording, a voice that appears to be Parnas' tells Trump during a conversation on Ukraine that “where we need to start is we got to get rid of the ambassador, she’s still left over from the Clinton administration.” He says the ambassador has been” basically walking around telling everybody 'Wait, he's gonna get impeached, just wait.'"
Trump asks for the ambassador’s name, but both Parnas and another person at the table say they don’t have her name at the front of their memory. Trump says to “get rid of her.”
President Donald Trump’s lawyers provided opening arguments on the first official day of his defense that sounded at times like a public reading of their client’s Twitter feed — a sign of what’s to come as their case moves forward next week.
While Trump has technically turned over his defense to his lawyers, his voice could clearly be heard on the Senate floor this week as they offered the start of their opening arguments, in Trumpian arguments involving many of the same discredited accusations, confusing conspiracy theories, and unrelated events that have been hallmarks of the president's personal defense.
It was a strategy that appeared to be tailored more at pleasing Trump’s base and giving Republican senators in the room help justifying their vote for acquittal — whether the arguments had a factual basis or not — than swaying an undecided audience at home.
Multiple elements of the presentation seemed aimed squarely at the man sitting at the White House, with attacks on Trump’s favorite villains, such as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and former special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigators.
A Democratic aide working on the Senate trial provided a multi-part rebuttal to the defense team's arguments on Saturday afternoon, some of which follows:
Claim: Zelenskiy and other Ukrainians publicly said they never felt pressured to open investigations.
Claim: Ukraine did not know Trump was withholding security assistance until it was disclosed publicly in late August 2019.
Claim: No witnesses said security assistance was conditioned on the investigations.
Several Republican senators were laughing during the whistleblower portion of the defense's presentation, including Cramer, Cotton and Barrasso, who looked at each other and nodded. Schiff was silent during this moment and looked serious, while the rest of the legal team took copious notes. Overall, senators seemed to be paying attention.
Minority Leader Schumer had a binder open on his lap, its open pages showing what appeared to be photos and bios of the White House defense team, when Philbin, the soft-spoken deputy White House counsel, took over the presentation from Sekulow.
To the left of the press gallery, columnist Connie Schultz, who is Sherrod Brown’s wife, sat with Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff.
As White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrapped up his remarks at just after noon, the sounds of senators shuffling papers and closing binders filled the chamber, which had the energy of a high school class anticipating the last bell of the school day. Before Majority Leader McConnell even rose from his chair to motion to adjourn, several senators had already made their way to the doors.
Senators seemed happier at the end of Saturday's session compared to the last several days days. Many waved to each other as they left the chamber. Cipollone made his way around the room to chat with a few senators on both sides of the aisle, including Kyrsten Sinema and Lisa Murkowski, as the chamber began to clear out.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday attacked an NPR correspondent who reported that he berated and cursed at her following questioning over Ukraine, claiming “she lied to me” and describing her actions as “shameful.”
“NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly lied to me, twice. First, last month, in setting up our interview and, then again yesterday, in agreeing to have our post-interview conversation off the record,” Pompeo said in a statement. “It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency.”
Pompeo did not challenge the details of Kelly's claims about his statements or demeanor during their conversation.
President Donald Trump's legal team began their defense of the president in Trump-ian fashion on Saturday, charging Democrats were the ones who are trying to interfere in the 2020 election and accusing lead House manager Adam Schiff of being dishonest.
Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow also gave an astonishing explanation for why his client turned to outsiders for his dealings with Ukraine — he doesn't trust his own officials.
Here are five takeaways from Saturday's abbreviated opening arguments in the president's Senate trial, which will continue on Monday.