U.S. President Donald Trump posts what is deemed a threat against Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Ca), just a day before his legal team comes in for defense in his presidential impeachment trial.
On Sunday morning, the president tweeted "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!" Schiff is currently the lead impeachment manager in the ongoing Senate trial.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee chose to respond through an interview on NBC News' "Meet the Press," claiming that these remarks were a threat. In the interview, Schiff stated "This is a wrathful and vindictive president; I don't think there's any doubt about it. And if you think there is, look at the president's tweets about me today, saying that I should 'pay a price.'" When asked by host Chuck Todd if the president's remarks are to be taken as a threat, Schiff responded, saying "I think it's' intended to be."
The president's legal defense team is preparing for what is said to be an aggressive defense on Monday.
The impeachment trial stems from Democrats' argument that the president withholding military aid to pressure Ukraine's leaders to announce investigations of his political rivals, former vice president Joe Biden included. The House impeached the president last December on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Washington post reports that these are related to the allegations and his directive that his administration not cooperate with the House' investigation.
Last Saturday, the two-hour presentation held by members of Trump's legal team, argues that the president has valid reasons for doing what he did.
Stephanie Grisham, White House' press secretary, claims that Schiff is "ridiculous" for claiming that the president is threatening him. In her appearance on Fox News' "Media Buzz," she accuses the Democrat of "grandstanding," saying "I think he means... [Schiff] hasn't yet paid the price with the voters." She also echoes the president's sentiments, "I mean, it seems he's having a little bit of a mental issue when you sit on the floor for hours and hours and hours. He's obsessed with this president and trying to take him down."
Schiff is already facing criticism for referencing a CBS News report of an anonymous Trump ally claiming that he told fellow lawmakers "Vote against the president and your head will be on a pike." Schiff defended his statement, claiming that they were not meant to be personal and was intended to highlight the challenge for Republican senators in demonstrating what he terms "moral courage to stand up to this president."
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. And if this weren't an issue, there wouldn't be an issue about calling witnesses. Id we can't even get the senators to agree to call witnesses in a trial, it shows you just how difficult that moral courage is
On "Meet the Press," Schiff diminishes the significance of potential Senate vote to acquit the president, claiming that it would be meaningless as there were no witnesses allowed to be called. He stated "They don't really contest the president's scheme... They ujst tried to make the case that you don't need a fair trial here; you can make this go away. But look, if they're successful of depriving the country of a fair trial, there is no exoneration."