Schiff Sweeps VP Pence, Other Top Officials Into Trump's 'Scheme' to 'Cheat'

By Susan Jones | January 23, 2020 | 8:54am EST
House impeachment manager Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) argues for the impeachment of President Trump. (Photo: Screen capture)
House impeachment manager Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) argues for the impeachment of President Trump. (Photo: Screen capture)

( - To those who have been listening all along, nothing new emerged at the Senate impeachment trial on Wednesday, as House Democrats laid out their case, repeating many of the arguments they used in the lead-up to impeachment.

House impeachment managers played video clips of second-hand testimony delivered to the House last year; they tried to use President Trump's own words against him, by playing some of the President's videotaped and tweeted comments about Ukraine; and they offered a factual chronology of events, imputing motivation to Trump -- that he "cheated" by withholding (temporarily) congressionally approved U.S. aid to Ukraine to advance his own personal, political interests.

Continuing the objective established by Democrats in recent weeks, House impeachment managers kept up the pressure on four Republicans to join Democrats in demanding witnesses and documents. "They're yours for the asking," Schiff said.

In his final comments of the evening, Schiff talked about a broad corruption scheme that supposedly goes beyond President Trump to Trump's vice president and other senior aides: "I would urge you -- even if you are prepared to convict and impeach and remove this president -- to find the full truth about how far this corruption goes," he said.

Schiff began this particular argument by telling senators that more redacted emails from the Office of Management and Budget have just been produced:

I'm sure that if we could read under those redactions, it would be a very perfect email. But you have to ask, what is being redacted here? What is so important to keep confidential during the course of an impeachment inquiry? As you can see, right up until last night, evidence continues to be produced.

The truth is going to come out. Indeed, the truth has already come out, but more and more of it will. More emails are going to come out. More witnesses are going to come forward. They're going to have more relevant information to share.

And the only question is, do you want to hear it now? Do you want to know the full truth now? Do you want to know just who was in the loop? It sounds like everyone was in the loop. Do you want to know how broad the scheme was?

We have the evidence to prove President Trump ordered the aid withheld. He did so to coerce Ukraine to help in the re-election campaign. He withheld a White House meeting to coerce the same sham investigations. We can and will prove President Trump guilty of this conduct and of obstructing the investigation into his misconduct.

But you and the American people should know who else was involved in this scheme. You should want the whole truth to come out. You should want to know about every player in this sordid business.

It is within your power to do so, and I would urge you -- even if you are prepared to convict and impeach and remove this president -- to find the full truth about how far this corruption goes. Because I think the public has a right to know.

According to Schiff, the broader scheme involves senior officials in Trump's orbit, including Vice President Mike Pence:

Trump, Schiff stated earlier, "undermined the integrity of our free and fair elections by pressing a foreign power to influence our most sacred right as citizens, our right to freely choose our leaders...President Trump carried out this scheme with the knowledge of senior administration officials, including the President's Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Council legal adviser John Eisenberg and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone."

Cipollone in a few days will defend the president from the same podium where Schiff made his comments.

Vice President Pence's office, on Nov. 20, 2019, refuted Ambassador Gordon Sondland's testimony that Sondland told Pence about the alleged quid pro quo attributed to President Trump.

"The Vice President never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations," said the statement by Pence's Chief of Staff Marc Short.

"Multiple witnesses have testified under oath that Vice President Pence never raised Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden, Crowdstrike, Burisma, or investigations in any conversation with Ukrainians or President Zelensky before, during, or after the September 1 meeting in Poland."


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