WASHINGTON, February 2, 2020 — With lofty rhetoric and appeals to history and legacy, House Impeachment Manager Adam Schiff (D-CA) on Monday argued one last time for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
But after a vote on whether to hear from additional witnesses failed Friday, largely along partisan lines, his appeal seemed destined to fall on deaf ears in the Republican-controlled Senate.
“If you find that the House has proved its case and still vote to acquit, your name will be tied to his with a cord of steel and for all of history,” Schiff said. “But if you find the courage to stand up to him, to speak the awful truth to his rank falsehood, your place will be among the Davids who took on Goliath.”
“If only you will say ‘enough!’”
Alas, none of the Senate’s 53 Republicans have shown any inkling that they will vote to convict Trump of leaning on Ukraine for political dirt, or of obstructing Congress in its investigation of that pressure campaign. Several Republicans, meanwhile, claimed over the weekend that the President had been chastened by the impeachment proceedings.
“Hopefully it’ll be instructive” to Trump, Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) said Sunday, referring to the removal articles which are unlikely to receive any Republican votes when put up for consideration Wednesday, and which received no Republican support in the House.
In that light, Schiff’s soaring rhetoric Monday may have had a different audience — the public.
“Every single vote, even a single vote by a single member, can change the course of history. It is said that a single man or woman of courage makes a majority,” Schiff said. “Is there one among you who will say ‘enough’?”
Schiff’s fellow impeachment managers had built up to his soaring crescendo, one after the other.
“Senators, we know what the President did and why he did it,” Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) argued, before seemingly referencing Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). “This fact is seriously not in doubt. Senators on both sides of the aisle have said as much.”
“The question for you now is does it warrant removal from office?”
Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) quoted Dumbledore: “It is our choices that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Rep. Val Demmings (D-FL) invoked her experience as a police chief: “Today, unfortunately, I believe we’re holding young police recruits to a higher standard than we are the leader of the free world.”
And Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), referring to the senators as “my fellow Americans,” told them to “walk by faith” and “do the right thing.”
Schiff’s last words as bandleader referred not to the scripture, but to a force, some congressional institutionalists might insist is a higher power: “The Founders.”
“It may be midnight in Washington, but the sun will rise again,” he said. “I put my faith in the optimism of the founders.”
The founders, the California Democrat said, “gave us the tools to do the job, a remedy as powerful as the evil it was meant to constrain — impeachment.”
“They meant it to be used rarely,” he continued, “but they put it in the Constitution for a reason: For a man who would sell out his country for a political favor, for a man who would threaten the integrity of our elections, for a man who would invite foreign interference in our affairs, for a man who would undermine our national security and that of our allies, for a man like Donald J. Trump.”
“They gave you a remedy, and they meant for you to use it,” he concluded. “They gave you an oath and they meant for you to observe it. We have proven Donald Trump guilty. Now do impartial justice and convict him.”
Just after Schiff concluded, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — seen at one point as a possible swing vote for new impeachment trial witnesses, a hope she quashed last week — said she would announce her intended vote on impeachment by the end of the day, ahead of schedule.