House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff said on Sunday that his Democratic caucus would be pushing the Senate to conduct a “fair trial” regarding President Trump’s impeachment after two articles were delivered to the upper chamber last week.
“We will be fighting for a fair trial,” Schiff, of California, told ABC’s “This Week,” adding that if GOP senators don’t hold one, they’ll be held accountable by voters.
“If the Senate decides if the Senator [Mitch] McConnell [R-Ky., the majority leader] prevails and there are no witnesses, it will be the first impeachment trial that goes to conclusion without witnesses,” Schiff said.
“The atmosphere in the Senate when I came with the other House managers, and we read the articles was one befitting something that has only happened three times in the nation’s history,” he continued.
“I intend during the trial to be respectful of the senators, to operate from the presumption that they do take their oath seriously, but also with the knowledge that Americans are watching, that they’re going to demand a fair trial, and if the senators don’t give the country a fair trial, one that’s fair to the president, but also fair to the American people, the senators will be held accountable,” the Intelligence Committee chairman added.
“So that’s the approach I intend to take.”
Republicans blasted Schiff and fellow Democrats in the House for holding most of the impeachment proceedings in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol Building, out of the view of the media and the general public.
They have also noted that majority House Democrats did not permit the GOP to call many of their own witnesses, and that rules were violated in the process of conducting the inquiry.
One major witness the GOP was unable to call was the whistleblower who originally filed a complaint with the intelligence community inspector general that President Trump behaved improperly on a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
That July 25 phone call is at the center of the House’s impeachment articles. As such, if witnesses are called in the Senate, Republicans have said that person may be one of them.
Democrats have said the president’s behavior has risen to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” as the Constitution prescribes. Republicans have disputed that assertion.
The impeachment trial is set to begin Tuesday in the upper chamber.