We have seen repeated instances where President Donald Trump has stepped on the narrative of his defenders with a single misplaced tweet — often giving opponents precisely what they have been alleging. This weekend is another such example with a tweet saying ominously the House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff has not paid the price yet” for his role in Trump’s impeachment. The tweet sounded not only threatening but was immediately raised by Democrats as supporting what Schiff said in his closing argument about senators fearing retribution from Trump. One can easily view the tweet at a statement about political accountability, but the insistence on attacking Schiff personally is both improper and counter-productive. Trump was impeached by the House, not Schiff. He is fulfilling a duty under the Constitution. Some of us have criticized his representations, but alluding to personal costs for the House managers is wildly inappropriate in the middle of a Senate trial.
Just this week, Schiff may a serious mistake in suggesting that the Republican senators are afraid to stand up to Trump and find their “heads on a pike.” I wrote about this and other missteps by the House managers. Senators objected to the allegation as untrue and ridiculous. Yet some 48 hours later, Trump is tweeting about making Schiff pay.
Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!97.8K8:20 AM – Jan 26, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy61.5K people are talking about this
Once again, I read this as a political not a physical threat. However, a president should not be threatening the house managers at all in the midst of a trial. It was not unreasonable for media to view this as a threat upon the lead House manager.
All of this makes it more difficult for his legal team and his allies. With key swing senators like Collins and Murkowski objecting to insults by Chairman Jerry Nadler and Schiff (and moving toward votes against witnesses), President Trump effectively gutted that position by seemingly threatening the lead manager. This only works to the advantage of the House managers and undermines the position of the President. Both Democrats and Republicans should object to this tweet as inimical to this constitutional process.