Donald Trump took to Twitter this morning to pathetically push back against his pending impeachment proceedings. As he has increasingly been doing, he singled out Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) as the target for his verbal abuse. The president accused Schiff of “illegally” making up a “FAKE & terrible statement,” repeating an accusation he hurled at Schiff over the weekend.
Presumably, Trump is referring to a Congressional reading by Schiff of the transcript of the now-infamous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during which the former tried to coerce the latter into opening an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Schiff didn’t read the transcript verbatim, choosing instead to inject some interpretation and explanation of the call’s subtext. Any reasonable person who watched Schiff’s reading would be able to tell that he was simply paraphrasing and was not trying to present his words as those literally uttered by Trump.
Even so, Trump has decided that he is going smear by Schiff by mischaracterizing the transcript reading. In his morning tweet, the president went so far as to call Schiff’s actions treasonous and floated the idea of arresting him. Even by Trump’s incredibly low standards, this represents a stunning display of authoritarianism. The President of the United States is toying with the idea of locking up his political opponents because they’ve exposed his impeachable misdeeds.
It should also be noted that even if Schiff had made up a fake statement and tried to pass it off as Trump’s it wouldn’t be treason. Immoral, yes, but not treason. That word is a far better description of what Trump did on that phone call with Zelensky. By abusing the powers of the Oval Office in an attempt to bolster his 2020 reelection chances, Trump betrayed the very idea of democracy. If anyone involved here has behaved in a treasonous fashion, it’s Donald J. Trump.
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.