House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff said Sunday that impeachment “would be the only option” if President Donald Trump had asked Ukraine officials to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
Host Jake Tapper asked Schiff on CNN’s “State of the Union” that if the reporting on Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is true and he did “push [Zelensky] to investigate Hunter Biden and Joe Biden eight times as the Wall Street Journal reported, is it an impeachable offense, in your view?”
Schiff said he’s been “very reluctant” to pursue impeachment, but if the report was true and Trump was “trying to browbeat a foreign leader into…providing dirt on his opponent during a presidential campaign, then that may be the only remedy that is co-equal to the evil that that conduct represents.”
A whistleblower complaint that was revealed this past week reportedly expressed concerns about Trump’s contact with a foreign leader and was centered on the call. The White House has resisted calls from Schiff and other lawmakers to release the call’s transcript.
Trump and Giuliani have pushed claims for months that the former vice president bribed government officials in Ukraine to stifle investigations into Burisma, the gas company for which Hunter served on the board, so to insulate his 2020 presidential bid from possible controversy.
Since the bombshell May 1 New York Time report revealed Biden’s efforts, Ukrainian officials have said there is no evidence that suggests Biden acted in self-interest or to protect his son.
Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani admitted last week that he had called the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden’s son, but Schiff said Sunday that it’s Trump’s actions that are more concerning and worthy of exploring impeachment.
“This would be, I think, the most profound violation of the presidential oath of office certainly during this presidency, which says a lot, but perhaps during just about any presidency,” he added.
Schiff said that part of the issue is making a case to the public that “impeachment is the right thing to do,” despite calls from lawmakers like Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York for congressional action.