After the partisan Senate vote to acquit Donald Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, lead House Manager Adam Schiff says the trial was a farce that will forever be a stain on Trump’s legacy—and on the GOP lawmakers who let him off the hook.
“The Constitution is a powerful document, but it’s not self-effectuating,” Schiff tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “It requires vigilance. It requires moral courage. We will do everything in our power to preserve this marvelous experiment in self-governance. America is worth it.”
The Constitution is a powerful document, but it’s not self-effectuating.
It requires vigilance. It requires moral courage.
We will do everything in our power to preserve this marvelous experiment in self-governance.
America is worth it.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 6, 2020
In another post, Schiff praised Mitt Romney for being the only Republican who voted Trump guilty, writing, “Now the verdict is in: One Republican Senator had the courage to do impartial justice. To put country over party. And vindicate the Founders’ faith in self-governance. And show us, Right still matters.”
The House proved overwhelmingly that the President abused his power.
Now the verdict is in:
One Republican Senator had the courage to do impartial justice.
To put country over party.
And vindicate the Founders’ faith in self-governance.
And show us,
Right still matters.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 5, 2020
A Washington Post op-ed by Schiff and the six other House Managers details how absurd they found the Senate trial, especially since the Republicans refused to admit new evidence or to hear from potential eyewitnesses like former Trump advisor John Bolton.
“Notwithstanding the Constitution’s mandate that the Senate shall have the sole power to ‘try’ impeachments, a narrow majority of senators opted not to, and instead acted as though it were an appellate court precluded from going beyond the record in the House,” they write. “Nothing supported this unprecedented prohibition on witnesses and documents, except the overriding interest of a president determined to hide any further incriminating information from the American people and a Senate majority leader in his thrall.”
They also take particular umbrage with Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz’s defense that seemed to suggest that nothing Trump does can be against the law.
“Instead,” the piece continues, “the president’s defenders resorted to a radical theory that would validate his worst, most authoritarian instincts. They argued that a president cannot abuse his power no matter how corrupt his conduct, if he believes it will benefit his reelection. The Founders would have been aghast at such a sweeping assertion of absolute power, completely at odds with our system of checks and balances. Even some of the president’s lawyers were ultimately forced to back away from it.”
Schiff and company end by warning that today’s vote will backfire on the president and his men:
“By denying the American people a fair trial, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also deprived the president of something that he desperately sought—exoneration. There can be no exoneration without a legitimate trial. Out of fear of what they would learn, the Senate refused to hold one. The president will not be vindicated, and neither will the Senate, certainly not by history.”
This piece was originally published in Los Angeles Magazine.