First he tried to “parody” the president.
Now he jokes about jail for senators who get out of line.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff might have been kidding when he kicked off Thursday’s installment of the Democratic tragicomedy known as President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial by alluding to the potential for imprisonment for U.S. senators – but it didn’t go over well at all.
Adam Schiff kicks off Day 3 of the Senate impeachment trial threatening Senators with imprisonment. Not sure what he’s worse at: reading his audience or telling jokes. Either way he is not helping his cause. pic.twitter.com/vLEixsoVTt
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) January 23, 2020
Possibly showing the effects of an extended presentation where House Democrats have tried to spin a disagreement on foreign policy into a ludicrously weak argument for removing a duly elected president from office, Schiff took to the floor of the upper chamber Thursday with an even weaker attempt at humor.
“I also want again take this opportunity to thank the senators for their long and considerable attention over the course of the last two days,” he said.
“Of course it doesn’t hurt that the morning starts out every day with a sergeant-at-arms warning you that if you don’t, you will be in prison.
“It is our hope that when the trial concludes and you’ve heard us and the president’s counsel over a series of long days, that you don’t choose imprisonment instead of anything further.”
The goal was apparently to remind the senators about their duty to attend to the evidence — though Democrats were hardly sinless when it came to disregarding protocol.
So, he will lock up @SenFeinstein who left early yesterday?
— Di ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ? Democrats are Done Trump2020 (@Dihaggis) January 23, 2020
On the whole, Schiff’s attempt at levity was about as lame as a standard Stephen Colbert monologue, but with the key difference being Colbert’s stand-up time on “The Late Show” is unquestionably a time for jokes (even if they rarely get honest laughs from anyone who’s sane — or sober).
It might not have been obvious from one of his biggest public pratfalls since his “parody” of Trump’s telephone conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky that spurred the impeachment effort, but Schiff is acting as the lead prosecutor in the gravest action Congress can take short of declaring war.
The fact that he even attempted a joke at a time like that shows even the Democrats know the impeachment proceedings are not to be taken seriously — if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s juvenile souvenir-pen stunt hadn’t tipped it off already.
On social media, Schiff had his usual complement of supporters from the left — the kind of who pretend the Trump presidency is the gravest threat to the Republican since the Confederacy’s secession (launched by Democrats).
But many Americans were not amused.
Thank you for telling us the facts! Wow isn’t it a crime to threaten a Senator, let alone 100 of them? Of course he has done this to our Great President Donald J. Trump for three years!!
— Carol D (@cdinicol) January 23, 2020
All these people call @POTUS a threat, dictator, wannabe king when they are the party actually acting like dictators! Trying to unseat a President the people voted for, calling anyone who doesn’t cow to them traitors, threatening jail and spreading propaganda with their media!
— Cindy Woods (@wolf1u2) January 23, 2020
— Mindysota (@mindysota) January 23, 2020
Lol. They may chose prison over listening to your repeated lies
— Raymond Gerlach (@gerlachRay698) January 23, 2020
To be fair to Schiff (painful as the idea is), senators haven’t been exactly a rapt audience. As The Associated Press reported about Wednesday’s presentation:
“Holding the room proved difficult. Most senators sat at their desks throughout, as the rules stipulate, though some stretched their legs, standing behind the desks or against the back wall of the chamber, passing the time. Sometimes they outwardly yawned. Republicans quietly smirked at the presentation from Schiff and the lesser-known House Democrats prosecuting the case.
“Nearing nine long hours of arguments, the empty seats became glaringly apparent. Sen. Dianne Feinstein D-Calif., was under the weather and left early. Some lawmakers dashed down the hall to appear on television. Visitors thinned from the galleries, one briefly interrupting in protest and being removed by Capitol police.”
But all of that says a lot more about the weakness of the Democratic complaint than it does about the attention span of U.S. senators.
This sham impeachment process is a joke: Republicans know it, the American people know it, and even Schiff and Co. know it, down in the dark, Democratic recesses of whatever remains of their conscience.
What Schiff did on Thursday just makes that much clearer.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.