On impeachment day, Schiff condemns Trump's 'lack of morality'

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee spoke out after the president attacked him in a rambling six-page letter to Pelosi.
Image: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff speaks at a press conference on impeachment on Dec. 3, 2019.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff speaks at a press conference on impeachment on Dec. 3, 2019.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images file

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By Allan Smith

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., joked Wednesday that the passage of President Donald Trump's scorched-earth letter focused on Schiff was "probably the nicest thing" Trump "had to say about me in quite some time," adding that the president was merely projecting his own misdeeds onto others.

"This president does nothing but project onto others his own lack of morality," Schiff told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" of Trump's Tuesday letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "This is someone who mocks others constantly, but can't stand to be mocked himself."

Schiff said the White House summary of the president's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy "speaks for itself, and it's damning."

"Anyone willing to stand up to him, he's going to go after," Schiff said. The criticism from Trump is just "a part of my job," he added.

In his rambling six-page letter to Pelosi, in which he said the effort to impeach him amounted to a declaration of "open war on American Democracy” where he had less due process than "those accused in the Salem Witch Trials," Trump accused Schiff of "shameless lies and deceptions."

"Congressman Adam Schiff cheated and lied all the way up to the present day, even going so far as to fraudulently make up, out of thin air, my conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine and read this fantasy language to Congress as though it were said by me," Trump wrote. "His shameless lies and deceptions, dating all the way back to the Russia Hoax, is one of the main reasons we are here today."

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Trump was referencing September comments Schiff made during a hearing in which the chairman parodied Trump’s rhetoric from his July 25th phone call and exaggerated some of the president's language, though some of Schiff's phrasing matched that of the White House summary of what Trump said.

The House is set to vote Wednesday on two articles of impeachment against the president. One article charges Trump with abusing his power for pushing Ukraine to announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden and Democrats and for withholding nearly $400 million in military aid to the country as well as an official White House meeting with Zelenskiy as he pursued the probes. The other article charges Trump with obstruction of Congress for stonewalling impeachment investigators examining his conduct.