White House counsel Pat Cipollone claimed Tuesday that House Democrats were still holding evidence in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) that President Donald Trump’s defense team had not been allowed to see.
Cipollone made the comments as both sides gave statements officially opening the Senate’s impeachment trial.
Cipollone took the floor following fellow White House Counsel Jay Sekulow, and immediately turned his attention to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.
“It’s very difficult to sit there and listen to Mr. Schiff tell the tale that he just told,” Cipollone began. “Let’s remember how we all got here. They made false allegations about a telephone call. The president of the United States declassified that telephone call and released it to the public. How’s that for transparency?”
Cipollone then walked through the timeline, the accusations about a second call and the subsequent declassification and release of that call as well.
“Again, complete transparency in a way that frankly I’m unfamiliar with any precedent of any President of the United States releasing a classified telephone call with a foreign leader,” he said.
Referencing Schiff’s “parody” of the Ukraine call, Cipollone continued, “He manufactured a false version of that call. He read it to the American people, and he didn’t tell them it was a complete fake.”
Cipollone turned on Schiff again, accusing him of violating Due Process. (RELATED: GOP’s Impeachment Witness Attacks ‘Bribery’ And ‘Obstruction’ Narratives, Accuses Democrats Of Abusing Power)
“I will tell you about Due Process,” he said. “The president has been given a minimal Due Process, nothing here. Not even Mr. Schiff’s republican colleagues were allowed into the SCIF. Information was selectively leaked out. Witnesses were threatened … By the way, there is still evidence in the SCIF that we have not been allowed to see. I wonder why.”
“We hear all this talk about an overwhelming case, an overwhelming case that they’re not even prepared today to stand up and make an opening argument about,” Cipollone concluded. “That’s because they have no case. Frankly, they have no charge.”
Both Cipollone and Sekulow challenged the case presented by House Democrats, arguing that if asserting Executive Privilege was an impeachable offense then all presidents in history were guilty. They also argued that Trump’s intent to challenge subpoenas in court was not obstruction, but rather the president simply exercising his rights.
Schiff fired back at Cipollone, saying that he was “mistaken” in his claims, saying that “every Republican on the three investigative committees was allowed to participate in the depositions, and, more than that, they got the same time we did!”
.@RepAdamSchiff has too much class to call Trump’s White House counsel a liar to his face.
Cipollone lied. pic.twitter.com/df0msnS8TR
— DNC War Room (@DNCWarRoom) January 21, 2020
Schiff did not comment on Cipollone’s claim that there was still evidence in the SCIF that Trump’s defense team had not been allowed to see.