On Sunday morning, President Trump took a shot at Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff was vocal about criticizing Trump’s appointment of Matt Whitaker as Acting US Attorney General after Jeff Session stepped down earlier this month. In response, Trump wrote, “So funny to see little Adam Schitt (D-CA) talking about the fact that Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was not approved by the Senate, but not mentioning the fact that Bob Mueller (who is highly conflicted) was not approved by the Senate!”
Schiff fired back, “Wow, Mr. President, that’s a good one. Was that like your answers to Mr. Mueller’s questions, or did you write this one yourself?”
Here’s what you need to know about Adam Schiff:
1. Schiff told ABC That Democrats Would Challenge Whitaker’s Appointment as Acting Attorney General
On Sunday morning, Schiff went on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos. Stephanopoulos asked him whether Democrats would fight back against Whitaker’s appointment and Schiff said, emphatically, “yes.”
“I think the appointment is unconstitutional,” Schiff said. “But it’s also in conflict with a more specific statute. There’s a succession statute for the Justice Department, which makes it different from other departments.”
Schiff didn’t specify what action Democrats might take against Whitaker. But he said that Democrats would be watching Whitaker closely to see whether he tried to limit Robert Mueller’s investigation. “He needs to know that if he takes any action to curb what Mr. Mueller does, we’ll find out about it. We’ll expose it,” Schiff said.
2. Schiff Was First Elected to Congress in 2000
Schiff represents California’s 28th Congressional District. His district includes Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, La Cañada, and West Hollywood.
Schiff was first elected to Congress in 2000. Before running for office, he worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles. He also served as a state senator for California. Schiff told Rolling Stone that one of his most memorable cases while he was with the US attorney’s office was when he worked on the espionage conviction of an FBI agent. Schiff said that the experience is a big help to him now that he serves on the House Intelligence Committee. “It helps to know the right questions to ask, and the evidence that you need, and how to organize an investigation,” Schiff told Rolling Stone. “And then how to talk about it in a way that people can understand.”
3. Schiff Wants to Broaden the Investigation Into Russia’s Relationship With Trump
Before the midterm election, Schiff said that if Democrats took back the House, they would investigate President Trump’s possible financial relationship with Russian money launderers. The alleged money laundering took place before Trump became president. But Schiff, and others, say that if the Trump Organization did help Russian money launderers, then the Russian government could use that fact as leverage to keep Trump on their side.
Appearing on CNN in October, Schiff said, “The question, though, that I don’t know whether Mueller has been able to answer — because I don’t know whether he’s been given the license to look into it — is were the Russians laundering money through the Trump Organization? And that will be a very high priority to get an answer to. For the reason that if they were doing this, it’s not only a crime, but it’s something provable,” Schiff said. He added that, if money laundering took place, that’s something which Russians could “hold over the head” of the President and “that might be influencing US policy in a way that is against our national interest.”
4. Schiff Has Been Described as a ‘Well-Mannered, Judicious Vegan’
Schiff is often described as mild-mannered. He’s a staunch opponent of the Trump administration, but he expresses his opinions quietly. In fact, some people think he’s too quiet. Hardball’s host, Chris Matthews, apparently begged Schiff’s communications director to make him breathe a little more fire. “You’ve got to say something that leads to impeachment,” Matthews reportedly urged. “Anything. That’s the business we’re in.”
Rolling Stone magazine, which profiled Schiff earlier this year, described the congressman as a “well-mannered, judicious vegan” who had firm opinions and principles but struggled to use strong language. But Schiff told Rolling Stone that his calm style works well for him. He said, “I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on maintaining my calm. I find if you scream, people just tune you out.”
5. Adam & His Wife, Eve, Have Two Children
Adam Schiff is married to a woman named Eve (Schiff seems to get a kick out of their names). The couple has two children, Alexa and Elijah.
Schiff graduated from Stanford University and earned his law degree from Harvard Law School. Before running for office, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles. Schiff once told Rolling Stone Magazine that his experience as an attorney was a big help in his current position on the House Intelligence Committee. “It helps to know the right questions to ask, and the evidence that you need, and how to organize an investigation,” Schiff said.