House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on Sunday that he hopes “to hell” that he would have voted to impeach former President Obama if he was found to have engaged in the same conduct President Trump is charged with in the impeachment articles brought against him.
He made the comment during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday morning, during which he accused congressional Republicans of “placing this president above their oath of office” as a number of them continue to defend Trump’s dealings with the Ukraine that were at the center of an impeachment inquiry.
“If anything, this president’s conduct is far worse than anything Nixon did, far more sweeping in its obstruction of accountability, far more damaging to our national security than the cover-up that was Watergate,” he continued. “The question is, why are Republicans placing this president above their oath of office?”
Schiff went on to say during the interview that he doesn’t think there would be any question that the same Republicans supporting Trump amid the impeachment probe would have voted to impeach Obama if the roles were reversed.
“I don’t think any of us have any question that had Barack Obama engaged in the activity, the conduct which is the subject of these articles of impeachment, every one of these Republicans would be voting to impeach him,” Schiff said.
“And you know something, I have to hope to hell, George, if it were Barack Obama, I would vote to impeach him,” he added.
Eleven weeks after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the formal launch of the impeachment inquiry into Trump’s dealings in Ukraine, House Democrats unveiled articles of impeachment against him at a press conference last week.
The two articles, which charge the president with obstruction of justice and abuse of power, followed weeks of investigation by lawmakers into whether Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in exchange for the announcement of politically favorable investigations. Trump has strongly denied the accusations.
The House is scheduled to vote on the impeachment articles next week. If the Democratic-led chamber votes to pass the articles, Trump will be impeached. A trial will then take place in the Senate, where Republicans hold the majority. If, at the result of that trial, Trump is found guilty of the charges brought against him, he will be removed from office.
When speaking on Sunday about the possibility that Trump would be acquitted in the Senate impeachment trial if it comes to it, Schiff said that the potential outcome would not spell a “failure” for Democrats.
“No, it isn’t a failure,” Schiff said. “At least it’s not a failure in the sense of our constitutional duty in the House.”