TRUMP: "We released a perfect conversation. ...I will say this: Adam Schiff took that conversation before he saw it and fabricated a conversation. To me, that's criminal. What he did is criminal." — remarks Friday to reporters.
TRUMP: "Congressman Adam Schiff, who when seeing the REAL Ukraine phone call Transcript decided he'd better make up one of his own." — tweet Sunday.
“Congressman Adam Schiff, who when seeing the REAL Ukraine phone call Transcript decided he’d better make up one of his own. ‘I’m going to say this only SEVEN times, so you better listen good. I want you to MAKE UP DIRT ON MY POLITICAL OPPONENT, UNDERSTAND, LOTS OF IT, AND.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2019
THE FACTS: Which is it? Did Schiff characterize the phone call before or after the White House memo describing the conversation came out? As far as the timeline goes, Trump was right the second time. But Schiff, chairman of the House intelligence committee, said nothing criminal.
Trump is referring to remarks the California Democrat made at a Sept. 26 committee hearing, when Schiff mocked the president's pleas to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden. The White House memo of that July 25 call was released one day before.
During the hearing, Schiff offered an exaggerated performance of that rough transcript. He said his remarks reflected the "essence" of what he believed Trump was conveying to Zelenskiy, "shorn of its rambling character" and were meant as parody.
There's no question of criminality in what Schiff said. Lawmakers are given wide protections from liability for comments made in the course of Congress under the "speech or debate" clause in the Constitution, which seeks to foster political debate.
Trump routinely mocks critics and invents dialogue that he attributes to them; Schiff did similar in his remarks.
TRUMP: "Adam should be Impeached!" — tweet Tuesday.
Adam should be Impeached! https://t.co/q7YRUWsJxy— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2019
TRUMP, on Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "Nancy Pelosi knew of all of the many Shifty Adam Schiff lies and massive frauds perpetrated upon Congress and the American people, in the form of a fraudulent speech ...This makes Nervous Nancy every bit as guilty as Liddle' Adam Schiff for High Crimes and Misdemeanors ... I guess that means that they, along with all of those that evilly 'Colluded' with them, must all be immediately Impeached!" — tweet on Oct. 6.
THE FACTS: There's no danger that either Schiff or Pelosi, who last month launched impeachment proceedings against Trump, will be impeached themselves. That's because House members cannot be impeached under the Constitution.
The House does have the power to expel one of its members by a two-thirds vote, but there are little grounds for it based on what Trump alleges. Schiff said his remarks during a committee hearing were a parody, reflecting the "essence" of what he believed Trump was conveying to Zelenskiy.
The House has expelled only five of its own, based on charges of members supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War or bribery and corruption.