President Trump escalated his attacks on House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) Wednesday, calling him a “lowlife” and describing him as inferior to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“There is an expression, he can’t carry his blank-strap,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, an apparent reference to the phrase that usually ends with “jockstrap.”
“I won’t say it, because they’ll say it was so terrible to say,” Trump added.
The president also renewed his call for Schiff to resign from Congress and be investigated for treason for exaggerating a partial transcript of the July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine’s leader during a televised congressional hearing last week.
“He should resign from office in disgrace and, frankly, they should look at him for treason, because he is making up the words of the president of the United States. Not only the words but the meaning,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with Finland’s leader. “It’s a disgrace.”
Trump has zeroed in on Schiff, a key face of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, in recent days, accusing the California lawmaker of criminal wrongdoing and claiming he lied to Congress.
Schiff has defended his account of the call transcript as a “parody” and asserted Trump is angry with him because he helped set in motion the revelation of the whistleblower complaint raising alarm over the Ukraine call.
“The call speaks for itself, and it is plenty damning. But let’s not pretend that this is really what the president is upset with me about,” Schiff said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“I can tell you exactly why the president is furious with me, and that is because when I learned that a whistleblower had filed a complaint and urgent complaint that was being withheld from Congress, and no one knew about this yet, I went public to demand that we get that complaint,” Schiff said.
The July call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump asked Ukraine to investigate unsubstantiated allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden, is at the heart of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. The call was also the subject of an intelligence community whistleblower complaint that alleged Trump was using his official office to solicit foreign interference in a U.S. election.
Schiff’s panel and two other House committees have sought testimony from current and former State Department officials beginning this week in connection with the inquiry. Pompeo took issue with their demands on Tuesday, saying they raised “significant legal and procedural concerns” and that the proposed deposition schedule was “not feasible.”
At a press conference on Capitol Hill earlier Wednesday, Schiff said that any effort by Pompeo or Trump to interfere with witness testimony would be viewed as evidence of “obstruction” of Congress.
“The most honorable Mike Pompeo, this guy was negative on Mike Pompeo,” Trump told reporters Wednesday.
Trump referred to Schiff as “shifty Schiff” and “little Adam Schiff” during the Oval Office meeting.
The president defended his call with Zelensky as “perfect” on Wednesday and said there was no quid pro quo revealed by the rough transcript released by the White House last week.
Meanwhile, House Democrats earlier Wednesday threatened to subpoena the White House for documents about Trump’s contacts with Ukraine.