Adam Schiff is just blowing smoke with 'witness intimidation' bluster

Adam Schiff is just blowing smoke with 'witness intimidation' bluster
© Greg Nash

Is House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump denies report that he still uses personal cell phone for calls Schiff asks Pence to declassify more material from official's testimony Schiff: Impeachment testimony shows Trump 'doesn't give a shit' about what's good for the country MORE really adding another article of impeachment over “witness intimidation” because President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE tweeted criticism of a witness? There is no better proof that Democrats are making up their impeachment ploy as they go along.

Yet for all their grandstanding, there is just no way that the tweets about Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchWashington state Democrat announces retirement The Hill's Morning Report - Dem impeachment report highlights phone records Phone records detail extent of Giuliani, White House contacts MORE could constitute witness intimidation, not the least because she was already testifying publicly when Trump sent them out. Witness intimidation is an action intended to make a witness so fearful of the consequences that he or she will not testify or potentially even lie.

The tweets about the reasons that Trump fired his own ambassador, about his own opinions of her job performance, and about her motivations for testifying are not intimidation. Yovanovitch herself admitted she has no firsthand knowledge of any alleged impeachable conduct. Her testimony amounted to an hours long human resources complaint surrounding the circumstances of her dismissal from the State Department. The tweets that Trump sent out during the hearing presented his side of the case.


Even if one accepts the allegation by Schiff at face value and interprets the tweets as a veiled threat against Yovanovitch, it still does should not constitute witness intimidation. Yovanovitch was already testifying at the time, and only found out about the tweets because Schiff read them to her. If somehow this knowledge of the tweets would have suddenly made Yovanovitch start lying on the stand, then one could argue that it was Schiff who was intimidating the witness by mentioning these tweets.

The biggest issue, however, is not that Schiff is wrong. He should know he is wrong, and he went out of his way to construct his absurd allegation. He has a law degree from Harvard University. He was a federal prosecutor. He knows full well that nothing in the tweets would be construed as “witness intimidation” by any court in the country. He clearly heard, probably from one of his staff members, that Trump was tweeting about the witness on the stand, and decided to see if he could use it to his political benefit.

What does that sort of dishonesty from the face of this impeachment say about the strength of the underlying case Democrats have against the president? It should tell you that Schiff knows how thin his case is, and that he is searching frantically for anything to strengthen the narrative for his party. His many contortions as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee continue to expose the political motivations of this inquiry.

Madison Gesiotto is an attorney who serves with the advisory board of the Donald Trump campaign. You can follow her on Twitter @MadisonGesiotto.