Rep. Adam Schiff said Sunday that Republican Senators should learn from his “moral courage” in the face of what he called a Twitter “threat” from President Donald Trump.
During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Schiff brought up a critical tweet Trump made about him earlier in the morning. He said the post proved he had been right to warn Republicans during the Senate impeachment trial last week that they would have to be brave to “stand up” to the president.
“I made the argument that it’s going to require moral courage to stand up to this president,” said, Schiff, a California Democrat and a lead impeachment manager. “And this is a wrathful and vindictive president. I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. If you think there is, look at the president’s tweets about me today saying that I should pay a price.”
“Do you take that as a threat?” host Chuck Todd asked of Trump’s tweet.
“I think it’s intended to be,” Schiff responded, before seeking to lower expectations that Trump would actually be removed from office.
“But look, it is going to be very difficult for some of these senators to stand up to this president. It really is. There’s just no question about it,” he said. “And I want to acknowledge that. And I don’t want to acknowledge it in a way that is offensive to them. But I do want to speak candidly about it.”
What Adam Schiff was talking about on “Meet the Press”
In the tweet in question, Trump called Schiff a “CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man.”
“He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!” the president added.
Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2020
Over on CNN Sunday morning, anchor Jake Tapper asked Sen. James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican, to answer for Trump’s tweet.
“Adam Schiff has been getting death threats, sources tell me,” Tapper said. “Do you condemn what the president tweeted?”
However, Lankford declined to criticize Trump.
“I don’t think the president is trying to do a death threat here,” Lankford said “Or do some sort of intimidation.”
The third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history is unlikely to end with a vote that removes Trump from office, as Republicans who control the Senate have continually voiced support for the president.
However, it is certain to cast a shadow over the November 2020 presidential election, even though ratings for the first two days indicate only a fraction of the more than 130 million Americans expected to cast ballots will have watched the first days of the proceedings.
Trump was impeached by the Democratic-led House of Representatives in December on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading Democratic political rival, and impeding the inquiry into the matter.
Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, oversaw the impeachment investigation in the House.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing.