The Trump administration has repeatedly made it clear that they will continue to stonewall when it comes to allowing witnesses or other evidence to be given to Congress, even though the Constitution requires that they do so.
But despite the White House’s recalcitrance, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) had an almost Zen quality to him when asked about the State Department barring Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, from testifying before the House impeachment inquiry, CNBC notes:
“(Schiff) said that the State Department had also blocked Sondland from sharing documents related to the impeachment inquiry. Schiff called the White House’s moves ‘further acts of obstruction of a coequal branch of government.'”
In an interview with Greg Sargent of the Washington Post, Schiff seemed to hint that he has a strategy for how House Democrats will proceed with the impeachment inquiry and get exactly what they want in the long run.
Though there’s been reporting that Democrats have decided to forego court challenges to compel the administration into compliance with the investigation, Schiff made it clear the committee can walk and chew gum. They’ll use the courts and also be prepared to add a charge of obstruction of Congress if the White House continues to drag their feet, with Schiff telling Sargent:
“’I do not foreclose at all other efforts in parallel to make sure we fully find out all the facts, including court,’ Schiff said. He noted that if the administration fought these efforts, ‘that will not delay us from going forward with articles of impeachment if they are warranted by the president’s obstruction.'”
Schiff also revealed that he knows he holds the winning hand in this showdown with Trump and the administration:
Exactly! It doesn’t matter if Schiff and the impeachment committee get all the evidence now or when the formal articles of impeachment have been passed by the House. When that happens, impeachment becomes a trial, and in trials both sides — prosecution and defense — get to see all the evidence. And that’s when Donald Trump is caught red-handed.
The secret weapon Adam Schiff has working for him is the U.S. Constitution, which it’s fair to say Donald Trump has never even read. And that one document makes it clear a rogue president like this one is deserving of the ultimate penalty for an elected official: Removal from office and public disgrace.
Well played, Mr. Schiff. Well played indeed.