After Donald Trump spent a portion of his press conference yesterday with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales making what appeared to be an implied threat against House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), the congressman responded today that he believes that the president was purposefully intending to try to intimidate him.
Yesterday, Trump railed against the Democratic impeachment efforts and Rep. Schiff in particular, singling out the legislator for his daring to parodically paraphrase the transcript of Trump’s self-described “perfect” phone call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky and implying retribution by saying that “In Guatemala, they handle things much tougher than that.”
On CNN this morning, Rep. Schiff confirmed that he interpreted the comments as a threat.
“I think that’s what he intended it to be,” Schiff told the cable news network.
“This is a president, after all, who has said of people who blow the whistle on him that they’re traitors and spies and should be treated as traitors and spies used to be treated. We used to execute traitors and spies. So this is not a president above threatening anyone who gets in his way, anyone who stands up to him,” the congressman said.
If the president thought that his comments would actually deter the Democratic impeachment effort rather than just act as a display of machismo-inspired bravado to impress his own supporters, he was sadly mistaken as Rep. Schiff vowed to continue to help lead the efforts to hold Trump accountable for his well-documented crimes.
“He is not going to intimidate me,” Schiff said. “I think it was quite deliberately designed to be a threat and this is the president’s modus operandi. I’m not the first person he’s made a veiled threat about, I won’t be the last. But this is precisely the kind of conduct Americans should not accept in the Oval Office.”
The only thing that Schiff could have added to his response would be an admonition to the president to heed his own First Lady’s signature anti-bullying campaign slogan and cap off his comments with a “Be Best.”
As the House debates the articles of impeachment in preparation for a final historic vote this evening, you can watch a clip of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff speaking with CNN‘s Danas Bash in the video attached below.
“He’s not going to intimidate me,” House Intel Chair @RepAdamSchiff tells @DanaBashCNN about comments President Trump made about him yesterday. “…I think it was quite deliberately designed to be a threat.” https://t.co/cEFFEi0bm4 pic.twitter.com/vf9gMstiiq
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) December 18, 2019
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Original reporting by Tal Axelrod at The Hill.