President Donald Trump has made no secret of despising Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the former prosecutor and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a key leader of congressional oversight who is now overseeing the impeachment investigation. Trump has lobbed a number of schoolyard nicknames at the congressman, including “Little Adam Schitt,” “Little Pencil-Neck Adam Schiff,” and “Shifty Schiff.”
But it doesn’t end there. According to The Daily Beast, Trump expressly instructed White House Counsel Pat Cipollone to attack Schiff by name while drafting the legal letter to Congress announcing the administration’s refusal to consider the impeachment investigation legitimate.
“According to two people familiar with the process, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone had multiple meetings with President Trump in the days leading up to the issuance of the letter,” wrote Asawin Suebsaeng and Sam Stein. “During those meetings with Cipollone, the president would get especially animated when names such as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee leading the probe into the whistleblower complaint, came up. The sources said that Trump enthusiastically suggested adding various jabs at Democratic lawmakers and would request that their ‘unfair’ treatment of him be incorporated into the letter.”
As a result, the letter ostensibly from the top White House lawyer was peppered with Trumpisms and naked political attacks.
“President Trump took the unprecedented step of providing the public transparency by declassifying and releasing the record of his call with President Zelensky of Ukraine. The record clearly established that the call was completely appropriate and that there is no basis for your inquiry,” said the letter at one point. “The fact that there was nothing wrong with the call was also powerfully confirmed by Chairman Schiff’s decision to create a false version of the call and read it to the American people at a congressional hearing, without disclosing that he was simply making it all up.”
Cornered by the impeachment inquiry, Trump is increasingly micromanaging the countereffort — and his instincts are shining through.