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“He is not who you are”: Adam Schiff makes last-ditch plea to Senate Republicans

In an emotional set of closing arguments, he made his final case for convicting Trump.

Senate Impeachment Trial Of President Trump Continues
House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks to reporters in the Senate basement at the US Capitol as the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump continues on January 30, 2020, in Washington, DC.
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

House impeachment manager Adam Schiff is looking for just one Republican.

Schiff on Monday made an emotional plea to Republican senators during the closing arguments of the impeachment trial, calling on them to defy their party and vote to convict President Donald Trump.

“Every single vote, even a single vote, by a single member, can change the course of history,” he said. “It is said that a single man or woman of courage makes a majority. Is there one among you who will say, ‘Enough’?”

Schiff’s speech caps off more than two weeks of the impeachment trial, during which House Democrats have presented an overwhelming slate of evidence establishing that Trump withheld US military aid to Ukraine and a White House meeting to coerce the Ukrainian government into announcing political investigations into the Bidens.

In his closing remarks, Schiff said that the greatest risk of not removing Trump is that he’ll keep committing the same offenses. “He has betrayed our national security, and he will do so again. He has compromised our elections, and he will do so again,” he said. “You will not change him. You cannot constrain him. He is who he is.”

Trump’s defense counsel, meanwhile, has argued that a president’s use of a quid pro quo to advance his election prospects is acceptable as long as it can be construed as action taken in the public interest. Plus, they’ve asserted, it simply doesn’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense.

Senate Republicans, by and large, are poised to stay united and acquit Trump, though House impeachment managers have tried their best to make that decision a tough one for moderate GOP members. In addition to criticizing the arguments advanced by Trump’s defense, Schiff emphasized that Republican lawmakers could still distance themselves from the president’s wrongdoing.

“Truth matters to you. Right matters to you. You are decent. He is not who you are,” Schiff said.

These closing arguments were one of the last steps before the Senate votes to convict or acquit the president of two articles of impeachment on Wednesday afternoon. They represented the final opportunity for House impeachment managers to sway any potential Republican converts to their side, though there are only a few who seem like they could even vaguely be contenders at this point.

Among Republicans, Sens. Mitt Romney and Susan Collins have yet to reveal how they will vote, while Sen. Lisa Murkowski indicated Monday night that she would support acquittal. As Sen. Rand Paul predicted prior to the trial even starting, it’s entirely possible that no Republicans will vote to convict the president.

Senate Democrats, though, could potentially see some defections. Sens. Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, and Doug Jones are the most closely watched swing votes on Democrats’ side of the aisle.

As Schiff has acknowledged repeatedly throughout the trial, it will take a lot of courage for Republicans to break with Trump, given how loyal the GOP base is to the president. It’s unclear if any of them will find it.