On Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) sat for an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep. And one of his key messages was that whether President Donald Trump is actually convicted and removed by the Senate is not even the whole point of impeachment — the point is to make an example that will make future presidents hesitate to abuse their power.
“I’ve always thought that the strongest argument for impeachment was also the strongest argument against it, which is if you don’t impeach a president who commits conduct of this kind, what does that say to the next president about what they can do and to the next Congress?” said Schiff. “At the same time, if you do impeach, but the president is acquitted, what does that say to the next president? The next Congress? There’s no good or simple answer to those that conundrum.”
“Impeachment is not only a remedy to remove a president. It’s also the most powerful sanction the House has,” Schiff continued. “And if that deters further presidential misconduct, then it may provide some remedy even in the absence of a conviction in the Senate. But again, I have to hope that my Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle will keep an open mind, will do their constitutional duty, will set aside the party of the president. Because otherwise, why are they even there and what is their oath of office really mean?”
You can read more of the interview here.