Rep. Adam Schiff, who’s made a name for himself as the ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee that’s investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, says today’s departure of White House strategist Steve Bannon won’t fix what ails the Trump administration.
“I think it’s very positive,” the Los Angeles Democrat told KQED. “This is somebody who never belonged in the White House, should have never been invited in. But I think we need to bear in mind that the problem goes above Steve Bannon.”
And straight to the Oval Office. Referring to President Trump’s recent comments on neo-Nazis and white supremacists, Schiff said “whatever attribute or flaw of character that’s responsible for the way he conducts himself is not going to get better over time. With the stresses of the job, it’s likely to get worse.”
As one of the Democrats’ leading voices on investigating the president, Schiff doesn’t see a path to removing Trump from office. At least not yet.
“I don’t know if those comments rise to the level of incapacity in office. … I think a lot of his actions are inimicable to the national interest, but whether it rises to the level of Article 25 (of the Constitution) and incapacitation, I don‘t know that we’re there yet,” Schiff said.
He noted that the only way Trump will be removed is when Republicans see that impeaching a president of their own — or declaring him incapable of performing his duties — is in their own political interest.
There are signs that the GOP wall of support for Trump is cracking. On Thursday, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told reporters that “the president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful,” adding, “and we need for him to be successful.”
“Corker’s comment opens up a new avenue of problems from a Republican perspective,” said veteran GOP consultant Sean Walsh. Walsh, who advised Gov. Pete Wilson and others, says it differs from criticism of Trump leveled by Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine)
“This is a whole new avenue with Corker, who is fundamentally a more conservative person than the others,” Walsh said. “He was a strong backer of Mr. Trump.”
Walsh said it’s a message to Trump that “you’ve got a real, real problem with your base. This shows a real crack.”