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Schiff: I would be leading calls for impeachment if Trump were a Democrat

In a wide-ranging interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said the evidence for President Trump's misconduct is "overwhelming" and that he would be among those calling to consider Trump's impeachment even if the president were a Democrat.

Why it matters: The impeachment inquiry that Schiff has led, which likely concluded its public hearing phase on Thursday, has been a starkly partisan process thus far. Schiff said that if no Republicans vote to impeach, it will be "a failure by the GOP to put the country above their party."

  • "I think Republican members in the future, to their children and their grandchildren, will have to explain why they did nothing in the face of this deeply unethical man who did such damage to the country," Schiff added.

The big picture: Schiff did not reveal to Tapper the timeline for House Democrats' plans to bring official articles of impeachment against Trump, but said that they have no intention of playing "rope-a-dope" in court to compel witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton to testify.

  • Schiff said that failure to impeach would be "carte blanche" for Trump and future presidents not only to solicit foreign election interference, but also to stonewall congressional oversight.
  • "It will mean that the impeachment clause is a complete nullity, and more than that, our oversight ability is an ability in name only."

Schiff also dismissed the idea that he would be called to testify in a Senate trial because of his staff's contacts with the whistleblower, stating that it would show "a fundamental lack of seriousness" on the part of Republicans.

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