Schiff evokes moral­ity, says ‘right mat­ters’

Antelope Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - By MARY CLARE JALONICK

WASHINGTON — For a few grip­ping min­utes, Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead im­peach­ment pros­e­cu­tor against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, had made the rest­less Se­nate snap to at­ten­tion.

Voice crack­ing as he spoke, Schiff made an im­pas­sioned plea late Thurs­day for re­mov­ing Trump from of­fice, fram­ing the choice in mo­ral terms. “If right doesn’t mat­ter, we’re lost,” he said.

“You know you can’t trust this pres­i­dent do what’s right for this coun­try,” Schiff said. “You can trust he will do what’s right for Don­ald Trump. He’ll do it now. He’s done it be­fore. He’ll do it for the next sev­eral months, he’ll do it in the elec­tion if he’s al­lowed to. This is why if you find him guilty you must find that he should be re­moved. Be­cause right mat­ters.”

Re­ac­tions to the speech were as di­vided as the coun­try. Democrats gushed, tweet­ing glow­ing words about the Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat’s rous­ing late-night speech. Repub­li­cans said they were un­con­vinced, and stren­u­ously re­jected the idea that Trump can’t be trusted.

Still, even some Repub­li­cans gave Schiff grudg­ing re­spect for the skill of his ar­gu­ments.

“I thought he was pas­sion­ate and his case has been well ar­tic­u­lated,” said South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the No. 2 Se­nate Repub­li­can. Still, he added, “in the end it’s all go­ing to come down to the facts, the law and the what peo­ple think is the thresh­old for what’s an im­peach­able of­fense.”

Schiff is un­likely to win over enough GOP sen­a­tors to con­vict Trump, as most are solidly sup­port­ing the pres­i­dent. But for his ar­tic­u­late pre­sen­ta­tions to the Se­nate he has won praise from some sen­a­tors like South Carolina Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, who shook his hand and told him he was do­ing a good job af­ter the first day of House ar­gu­ments.

Schiff is the face of the House’s im­peach­ment case against Trump, which has made him the prin­ci­pal tar­get of Trump’s ire. Though he has six man­agers by his side, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ap­pointed Schiff, her con­fi­dant, as the lead im­peach­ment man­ager. He is set­ting the tone of the pros­e­cu­tion’s case, work­ing me­thod­i­cally to con­vince even his most ar­dent de­trac­tors that Trump de­serves to be re­moved from of­fice.

“In a way I do feel like I’m in­tro­duc­ing my­self to a num­ber of the sen­a­tors,” Schiff said in an in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated Press be­fore ar­gu­ments re­sumed on Thurs­day. He said many of them are fa­mil­iar only with con­ser­va­tive crit­i­cism of him, and they are “find­ing I’m not the de­mon that I’m por­trayed as on Fox.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

In this un­dated photo, Im­peach­ment man­ager and House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee Chair­man Adam Schiff, D-Calif. walks to a press con­fer­ence.

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