Trump 'Doing Everything That He Can To Push Us Into An Impeachment,' Says Schiff

Amid continued investigations and discussions from Democrats about the possibility of impeachment hearings for President Donald Trump, California Congressman Adam Schiff expressed caution on moving forward with the process for possibly removing the president.

Appearing on NBC's Meet The Press Sunday, Schiff said there was a lot a stake for the House of Representatives regarding impeachment, namely that if Democrats made the move and were unsuccessful and the president were acquitted in the Senate, that it might send a message that Trump's conduct — more precisely, potential charges of obstruction of justice — was not an impeachable offense.

"The jury I'm most worried about, not the Senate because I think that's a preordained conclusion, is the American people. Can we make the case to the American people? I want to make sure that's true before we go down that path because it's going to occupy a year of the nation's time," Schiff told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd

During the segment, Todd read a portion of a column from New York Magazine writer-at-large Andrew Sullivan where he criticized Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for continuing to resist calls by some in the Democratic party to begin impeachment proceedings.

"Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, moreover, has set an extraordinary precedent: that clear evidence, meticulously collected, that a president has committed what she calls "crimes against the Constitution" does not constitute sufficient grounds for impeachment, even when those crimes were designed to cover up an alliance with a foreign power. If more than that is needed, the impeachment power has effectively been nullified," Sullivan wrote.

After reading the quote, Todd added, "this gets to the argument — regardless of what you think happens in the Senate, that you are setting a bad precedent by not... If you believe these are impeachable offenses then you are setting a bad precedent if you don't do it."

"There is great weight to the argument that this is the strongest form of censure that we have," Schiff replied. "If we don't use it, what message does that send to the next generation? I worry equally Chuck about taking impeachment case to trial, losing that case, having the president acquitted and having an adjudication that this conduct is not impeachable. So there's not a simple answer here."

EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Adam Schiff says there is "no simple answer" to impeachment #MTP @RepAdamSchiff: "I worry ... about taking impeachment case to trial, losing that case, having the president acquitted and having an adjudication that this conduct is not impeachable."

— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) July 28, 2019

Todd later asked Schiff if he felt there was a time limit on impeachment.

"In a Constitutional sense, justice delayed is justice denied," Schiff replied. "They are doing everything they can to obstruct the congressional investigation, having obstructed justice. So it may get to a point in the fall where we decide, 'Look he is violating a different provision of the Constitution' by obstructing Congress in its lawful and Constitutional duty."

Schiff added that in that situation it wouldn't be a crime but a misdemeanor, which isn't a lesser crime according to the Founding Fathers.

"This is why I say the president is doing everything he can to push us into an impeachment because if we can't get adequate answers from the court in time, that in of itself will be an impeachable offense," he said.

Schiff comments come days after Pelosi insisted to reporters that she was not trying to "run out the clock" for impeaching Trump, but that she was waiting until all information had been gathered and once that happened a "decision will be made in a timely fashion."

Later in the segment, Todd asked the congressman where the House currently stands in the investigations connected to Trump and if it constitutes the beginning of impeachment proceedings: "Where we are now is most accurately described as preliminary to a judicial proceeding, that proceeding being a potential impeachment."

Schiff said "in his mind" in order to indict and impeach Trump, Congress needs to be at the point where "they can make the case."

"There's no making the case to the cult of the president's personality that is the Senate GOP, but we should at least be able to make the case to the American people. And I'd like to see the evidence so I'm confident that we can do that before we say we're ready to charge the president of the United States," he said.

Adam Schiff
Congressman Adam Schiff speaks at the grand opening of the Irmas Family Campus at LA Family Housing at The Irmas Family Campus on May 30, 2019 in North Hollywood, California. Michael Tullberg/Getty