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House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that if the allegations that President Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden are true, then Democrats may have no other choice than to impeach him.

"The president is pushing us down this road and if in particular — after having sought foreign assistance and welcomed foreign assistant in the last presidential campaign as a candidate, he is now doing the same thing again but now using the power of the presidency — then he may force us to go down this road. I've spoken with a number of colleagues over the last week and this seems different in kind and we may very well have crossed the Rubicon here."

Why it matters: Schiff has been one of the key senior members of Democratic leadership — along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi — to resist endorsing impeachment without public support. This has put him at odds with over half the Democratic caucus and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who has said his committee is already conducting an "impeachment investigation."

  • Schiff acknowledged that it's not clear yet whether Trump's alleged pressure on Ukraine is at the center of the whistleblower complaint that set off this controversy, but said that it would nonetheless be "the most profound violation of the presidential oath...perhaps during any presidency. There is no privilege to engage in underhanded discussions."

Between the lines: Pelosi knew Schiff's impeachment comments were coming. She and Schiff spoke this weekend about Ukraine and coordinated their responses, a source familiar with their conversation tells Axios' Alayna Treene.

The other side: Trump told reporters before boarding a flight on Sunday that the conversation he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 was perfectly legitimate: "[It] was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place. It was largely the fact that we don't want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine.“

  • Schiff called on Trump to release the transcript of the call after the president claimed that there was no "quid pro quo" involved in their discussion about Biden: "Clearly he's afraid for the public to see."

Go deeper: Read the intel watchdog's letters about "urgent" whistleblower complaint

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The global future is looking dark and stormy

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

A new 20-year-forecast for the world: increasingly fragmented and turbulent.

The big picture: A major report put out this week by the National Intelligence Council reflects a present rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. How the next two decades will unfold depends largely on whether new technologies will ultimately unite us — or continue to divide us.

10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Rep. Gaetz declares he's "not going anywhere" amid sex trafficking probe

Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) doubled down Friday night, saying he's not "going anywhere," and vowing, "I have not yet begun to fight," amid a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations.

What he's saying: “I’m built for the battle, and I’m not going anywhere,” Gaetz, who denies the allegations, said during a Women for America First event at the Trump National Doral Miami resort.