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Why Rep. Adam Schiff seems to be everywhere

The California congressman is a man on a mission – to use his newfound power as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to get answers on President Trump and Russia. 

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chair of the House Intelligence Committee, discusses the Mueller investigation, Cohen testimony, and talk of impeachment at a Monitor Breakfast with reporters in Washington on March 12, 2019.

Adam Schiff is everywhere, it seems. Turn on cable news or the Sunday shows, and there’s the California Democrat, matter-of-factly talking about collusion and the Mueller investigation.

Since the Democrats retook the House in January, Congressman Schiff wields enormous clout as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Now armed with subpoena power, he has launched a sweeping investigation into President Donald Trump’s finances and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Mr. Schiff is also a regular at Monitor Breakfasts, and on March 12, he made his sixth appearance. Guests in the lobby of the Liaison Hotel on Capitol Hill were buzzing about him before he arrived. And when he sat down with the assembled reporters, there was no shortage of questions: What’s your take on impeachment? How does your view of “collusion” differ from that of Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee? What threats do you see to the integrity of the 2020 elections?

My colleague Warren Richey and I collaborated on an article that answered all those questions – and noted that while Mr. Schiff sees the concept of “collusion” much more expansively than does Congressman Nunes, he agrees with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that trying to impeach President Trump is a bad idea unless the evidence is “clear and compelling.”

Other reporters at the table filed quick takes soon after the breakfast ended, some more than one. Billy House of Bloomberg wrote on both impeachment and Mr. Schiff’s “profound concern” over Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s role in 5G networks. Morgan Chalfant of The Hill wrote about the possibility that special counsel Robert Mueller might be called to testify before Congress, and about Michael Cohen, Roger Stone, and WikiLeaks.

Here’s a link to the C-SPAN video of the breakfast.

One C-SPAN viewer later expressed concern about the plates of food that were served as the congressman spoke. Mr. Schiff is a vegan, and I felt bad that he had a plate of bacon and eggs staring up at him for most of the hour. Honestly, though, he didn’t seem to mind.

Mr. Schiff seems to be a man on a mission – to use his newfound power to get some answers about Mr. Trump and Russia. But he also has other identities. He represents a district in and around Los Angeles, including Hollywood. The musician Moby, a constituent, reportedly likes to serve him vegan meals at his Little Pine bistro. On Tuesday, I learned that Mr. Schiff is originally from Framingham, Massachusetts, and has fond memories of riding his bike to the Wayside Country Store in Marlborough for penny candy. 

I must also point out that we have extended breakfast invitations to Mr. Nunes, as well as the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr of North Carolina. Our next breakfast will be April 3 with Larry Kudlow, director of Mr. Trump’s National Economic Council. And on June 19, Speaker Pelosi will join us.

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