Pelosi ‘Absolutely Right’ to Avoid Impeaching Trump, Schiff Says

(Bloomberg) -- House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “absolutely right” in saying Congress probably should avoid seeking President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

Schiff, speaking to reporters at a breakfast, didn’t rule out that developments may ultimately show Trump’s impeachment may be warranted, and said there is already evidence of his “lack of fitness for office, including possible criminality.”

But echoing remarks Pelosi made Monday, Schiff said the bar is high for making the case in a bipartisan fashion to remove Trump. He didn’t foreclose impeachment, but said the case against him would have to be “clear and compelling.”

“I think the speaker is absolutely right. In its absence, impeachment becomes a partisan exercise in failure,” said Schiff.

“The reality is that the Republican members of Congress with very few exceptions have been utterly unwilling to stand up to this president,” said Schiff, speaking at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor.

On Monday, Pelosi told the Washington Post that she doesn’t “think we should go down that path,” referring to impeachment, because it’s “too divisive.” The California Democrat said only “something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan” could make the case for removing Trump.

Even so, first-year Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib told reporters Tuesday that she still intends to move forward and introduce her impeachment resolution later this month.

“You need the resolution to begin the investigation,” Tlaib said. “This is nothing new, it’s what has already been out there. Now we have a congressional body to have a real formal investigation.”

‘Compulsory Methods’

Schiff also said Tuesday that Congress should take whatever “compulsory methods” needed to make sure the Justice Department releases most of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report to lawmakers and the public.

“To make sure this information is not buried," he said.

Referring to congressional committees conducting their own investigations, Schiff added, “It will greatly facilitate our own investigation not to have to reinvent the wheel.”

He said would be “enormously time-consuming, and not entirely possible” to retrace all of Mueller’s steps.

Schiff dismissed suggestions that the report should be kept from Congress and the public because of ongoing or active investigations -- saying the department turned over amounts of information to Republicans last session.

“Make no mistake, it would be a double standard,” said Schiff, saying there was “extensive discovery in the last session regarding the Clinton investigation and Mueller investigation.”

Mueller Testimony

Schiff added that it’s possible Mueller could be called to testify to Congress about his findings.

“I think that if the Justice Department either attempts to conceal the Mueller report or the underlying evidence - then requiring Mueller to testify may very well be necessary,” he said.

Schiff said “it would be up for discussion” whether that that might occur before his committee or some other panel.

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