Rep. Adam Schiff on Wednesday appeared to admit what several Republicans have alleged — that the Democrat-led impeachment of President Donald Trump is designed to overturn his 2016 victory and keep him from winning later this year.
“The House did not take this extraordinarily step lightly,” Schiff said on the floor of the Senate.
“As we will discuss, impeachment exists for cases in which the conduct of the president rises beyond mere policies, disputes to be decided otherwise, and without urgency at the ballot box,” he continued.
“Instead, we are here today to consider a much more grave matter and that is an attempt to use the powers of the presidency to cheat in an election,” Schiff added.
“For precisely this reason, the president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won.”
"The president's misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won."
— Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead House impeachment manager, during his opening statement to the U.S. Senate
— PBS NewsHour
Democrats have long alleged, without evidence, that Russia helped President Trump defeat 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed to look into charges of Trump campaign collusion with Moscow, said in a final report following his probe that he and his team found no evidence to support the allegations.
As for 2020, a number of Democrats have said the impeachment effort seeks to prevent the president from winning reelection.
In May, for example, Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) , “I’m concerned that if we don’t impeach this president, he will get re-elected.”
Also in May, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, “We have to make sure — this will sound political but we have to make sure that the Constitution wins the next presidential election. We can’t be worrying about well, how long is this going to take? Well, that will take as long as it does.
She added: “And we will press the case so that in the court of public opinion. People will know what is — is right. But we cannot accept a second term for Donald Trump if we are going to be faithful to our democracy and to the Constitution of the United States.”