Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) asked whether it mattered, in legal terms, if there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine. In response, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, the lead manager, painted a hypothetical scenario in which President Obama asked Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to investigate his political rival in 2012, Mitt Romney.
“See how you feel about this scenario: President Obama says on an open mic to Medvedev…’I know you don’t want to use this because they’re killing your people. I want you to do an investigation of Mitt Romney and I want you to announce that you found dirt on Mitt Romney. If you’re willing to do that, quid pro quo, I won’t give Ukraine the money they need to fight you on the front line.’ Do any of us have any question that Barack Obama would be impeached for that kind of misconduct?”
Mr. Romney sat motionless at his desk while Mr. Schiff spoke, a slight smile on his face.
Mr. Schiff also gave the example of a president depriving a state of disaster relief because the governor won’t get his attorney general to investigate the president’s rival.
“Is that really what we’re prepared to say?” Mr. Schiff asked. “Because if we are, then the next president of the United States can ask for an investigation of you. They can ask for help…in their next election from any foreign power. The argument will be made, Donald Trump was acquitted for doing the exact same thing. Therefore it must not be impeachable.”
Mr. Schiff said it is clear that all quid pro quos aren’t the same. “Some are legitimate and some are corrupt. And you don’t need to be a mind reader to figure out which is which. For one thing, you can ask John Bolton.”
Laugher broke out in the chamber as Mr. Schiff returned to his seat at the manager’s table.