House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, proceeded to ponder about alleged pressure on Republicans to stay with POTUS throughout the impeachment trial, turning a blind eye to more than audible blowback from the trial attending Republicans and even potential Dem swing votes.
Adam Schiff’s remarks have landed him in hot water, after he brought up a CBS News report saying Republican senator heads will be on a “pike” if they distance themselves from President Trump during the impeachment debacle.
“CBS News report that a Trump confidant said that GOP senators were warned ‘… vote against the president and your head will be on a pike'”, Schiff said from the Senate floor.
The moment instantly drew criticism from Republicans – from presidential allies and more centrist GOP Senators alike, with the latter viewed as swing votes and ones Trump will need to win.
In response, potential swing vote, Sen. Susan Collins could be seen shaking her head turning to her colleagues: “That’s not true”, she repeated several times during the proceeding impeachment trial.
Collins further offered a more detailed comment saying “not only have I never heard the ‘head on the pike’ line, but also I know of no Republican Senator who has been threatened in any way by anyone in the administration”.
Another swing Senator, one for Alaska, Lisa Murkowski, directed her disappointment at Schiff, arguing his reference was “unnecessary” before rounding off:
“That’s where he lost me”, Murkowski told reporters later, adding that Schiff “overreached”.
Despite the verbal backlash, Schiff continued to elaborate on the report, adding, to the Republicans’ fury:
“I don’t know if that’s true, but when I read that I was struck by the irony, by the irony”.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) was overheard saying “no”, and Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) likewise shook his head adding “that’s not true”.
Schiff paused mid-way glancing at the Republicans and hesitatingly expressing hope “it’s not true”, but the rhetoric and what was seen as an ungrounded report were enough to send the pendulum into motion.
“That is completely totally false, and all of us were shaking our heads ‘like where did that story come from’ and Adam Schiff just kept saying it”, Sen. James Lankford said, while John Barrasso vehemently negated that Trump ever issued any threat.
“He has basically offended every Republican senator in there tonight”, Barrasso told reporters about Schiff.
Even some Democrats voiced outrage over the Committee chairman’s rhetoric, with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who hasn’t mentioned if he will vote for or against Trump’s impeachment, contending that Schiff was crossing the red line. “I don’t know why people do that”, Manchin remarked adding: “That could have been left out that’s for sure”.
As part of the ongoing impeachment trial, the Republican-dominated Senate gathered on Tuesday to debate the rules governing the proceedings. The Democrats called to bring in witnesses and documents that they said had been left out of the House proceedings late last year, while the Republicans demanded a quicker trial and ultimate acquittal.
House Democrats’ impeachment case is based on two articles: alleged abuse of power by backtracking on military aid to Ukraine as Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate 2020 Dem hopeful Joe Biden and his son for purported corruption, and refusing to cooperate with the Democrat-instigated probe.