- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 26, 2020

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, the lead House impeachment manager, on Sunday said President Trump’s defense team is using a “crazy conspiracy theory” as part of their case as to why Mr. Trump should be exonerated.

“What do they do? They go and double down on that same crazy conspiracy theory that Ukraine hacked the DNC server,” Mr. Schiff, California Democrat, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“It’s astonishing … on the first day of the president’s defense to say the president should disbelieve his own intelligence agencies, [he has] every right to believe Vladimir Putin — I wouldn’t want to be making that argument,” he said.

Jay Sekulow, who is part of the president’s legal defense team, had suggested that Ukraine could have interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Democrats have countered that by pointing to comments from FBI Director Christopher Wray, who has said they don’t have information that indicates Ukraine interfered.

Mr. Schiff also said the president has the right to call “relevant” witnesses, just as the Democrats do, but suggested Hunter Biden would not fit that description.

“I’m not afraid of anything. The question is should the trial be used as a vehicle to smear his opponent?” he said. “Hunter Biden can’t tell us anything about the withholding of military funding.”

“If they’re successful in depriving the country of a fair trial, there is no exoneration,” Mr. Schiff said.

Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, is at the heart of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial.

Mr. Trump stands accused of abusing his power by withholding military aid to Ukraine unless the country’s leaders agreed to open up investigations into the Bidens and their business ties to Ukraine, as well as into Ukraine’s potential meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

He’s also accused of obstructing Congress by hampering the investigation into his conduct.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and has described his impeachment as a “hoax.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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