By Jennifer Haberkorn / Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — The House Intelligence Committee has begun work on its report in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, Chairman Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., said in an interview Friday.
The committee, which on Thursday wrapped up public testimony with a dozen current and former administration officials, will continue working on its investigation while compiling the report, Schiff said in his Capitol Hill office. The report will signify a handoff in the impeachment inquiry from the Intelligence Committee to the House Judiciary Committee, which would write articles of impeachment.
“We’re not foreclosing the possibility of additional depositions or hearings, but we’re also not willing to wait months and months and let them play rope-a-dope with us in the courts,” Schiff said, referring to ongoing legal battles over the refusal of some witnesses to testify or provide documents.
Schiff said the committee will work on “both tracks” of continuing to investigate while “beginning to put our report together.” He refused to say when the report may come out or whether he believes articles of impeachment are warranted.
But at the end of Thursday’s public hearing, Schiff declared that Trump’s actions were worse than President Richard Nixon’s, who left office when it became clear he would be impeached and removed for covering up the Watergate burglary.
“We are going to have to make a decision about whether we’re prepared to say the kind of conduct that has been demonstrated in these hearings is compatible with the office of the presidency,” he said. “Are we willing to accept that kind of flagrant misconduct?” he continued, warning of the precedent it would set for the rest of Trump’s term or for a future president.
Schiff and other Democrats have warned that the White House’s refusal to cooperate in their investigation amounts to obstruction of Congress.
“We have made it abundantly clear to the president that their failure to permit witnesses to testify and their failure to respond to any of our subpoenas has only built the case against them for obstruction of Congress,” Schiff said.
The House’s timeline in the impeachment inquiry is ticking. Democrats had expressed hope that if the House votes on articles, it would do so this year. That would require a report to be completed swiftly so that the House Judiciary Committee would have time to write articles and hold a vote before the full House could vote.