Adam Schiff, the unassuming congressman from California and chair of the House Intelligence Committee, lit up the political landscape with lightning clarity last week—especially in closing remarks as he wrapped up the House floor managers’ presentations in support of the impeachment of Donald Trump.
On Wednesday, after a day in which the House managers provided detail after detail supporting the charges against Trump, Schiff spoke about the courage of the career diplomats who risked their futures by coming forward to testify. He challenged Republicans to display the same kind of daring.
“Why is it that Col. Vindman, who worked for Fiona Hill, who worked for John Bolton and Dr. Kupperman, why is it that they were willing to stick their necks out and answer lawful subpoenas when their bosses wouldn’t? … I think this is some form of cosmic justice—that this ambassador [Marie Yovanovitch] that was so ruthlessly smeared is now a hero for her courage. There is justice in that. But what really vindicates that leap of faith that she took is if we show the same courage. They risked everything, their careers. And yes, I know what you’re asked to decide may risk yours, too. But if they can show the courage, so can we.”
The following day, Schiff closed his final statement by appealing to listeners’ sense of what is right.
“The American people deserve a president they can count on to put their interest first,” Schiff said. “… if right doesn’t matter … it doesn’t matter how good or bad our advocacy in this trial is. It doesn’t matter how well written the oath of impartiality is. If right doesn’t matter, we’re lost. If truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost. The framers couldn’t protect us from ourselves if right and truth don’t matter.
“And you know that what he [Trump] did was not right. … here right is supposed to matter. It’s what’s made us the greatest nation on earth. No constitution can protect us. Right doesn’t matter anymore and you know you can’t trust this president to do what’s right for this country. 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 must be removed. Because right matters. Right matters and the truth matters. Otherwise we are lost.”
Republicans, are you listening? Are you thinking? Are you taking the long view?
Would the people who raised you be proud?