Reporter's Notebook: Trump's Senate impeachment trial could boil down to one word – 'pettifogging'

Fox News | 1/24/2020 | Chad Pergram
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Rep. Schiff rants about fighting Russia, prays for the soul of our nation.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has had enough of the impeachment trial by the time it got to the first dinner break in President Trump’s impeachment trial Tuesday night.

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“God help us if we have to listen to [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Adam Schiff, D-Calif., prattle on for 24 hours, non-stop,” lamented Cruz in the Senate subway terminal.

This is the balancing act for the Democrats. Schiff is the face of the Democrats’ impeachment effort. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., handpicked Schiff to be the lead impeachment manager to present the House’s case to the Senate, leapfrogging House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.

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Schiff impressed Pelosi when he led a Judiciary Committee task force on impeachments in 2009 and 2010. Schiff dealt with the House’s impeachments of Federal Judges Samuel Kent and Thomas Porteous. Pelosi admired how Schiff conducted himself.

Schiff is anathema to Republicans. They present him as the bogeyman of the impeachment inquiry. The chairman who held “secret hearings” down in the “bunker” and barred Republican members from attending the session.

Hearings - House - Members - Depositions - Schiff

There were no private hearings. More than 100 House members sat in on various depositions led by Schiff and other committee chairmen. And the Intelligence Committee is located in an underground, secure location of the Capitol because, well, it’s the Intelligence Committee. The House doesn’t exactly take depositions in the courtyard of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The public may well indeed judge that it’s heard too much of Schiff at the end of the Senate trial. He’s consumed hours of debate in the trial, holding forth, often extemporaneously. Democrats think Schiff’s the best weapon they have against Trump. But there is such a thing as overexposure. And Schiff is dominating hours of cable TV broadcasts these days.

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