(CNSNews.com) - At the conclusion of Thursday's impeachment trial, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) explained why President Trump, accused of no crime, must be removed from office. He must be removed because of what he might do.
"You can't trust this president to do what's right for the country," Schiff said.
Schiff also argued that Trump must be removed from office now, "before he continues his efforts to corrupt our next election." This argument supposes that if Trump were to win re-election in 2020, the election results must therefore be tainted.
(Remember, in his opening argument on Wednesday, Schiff told the Senate, "The President's misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won.” )
"This is why he needs to be removed," Schiff argued Thursday night in his closing remarks:
Now, you may be asking how much damage can he really do in the next several months until the election? A lot. A lot of damage.
Now, we just saw last week a report that Russia tried to hack or maybe did hack Burisma. OK? I don't know if they got in; I'm trying to find out, my colleagues on the Intel committee, House and Senate, we're trying to find out, did the Russians get in, what are the Russians' plans and intentions?
But let's say they got in. And let's say they start dumping documents to interfere in the next election -- let's say they start dumping some real things they hacked from Burisma; let's say they start dumping some fake things they didn't hack from Burisma but they want you to believe they did.
Lets' say they start blatantly interfering in our election again to help Donald Trump. Can you have the least bit of confidence that Donald Trump will stand up to them and protect our national interest over his own personal interest? You know you can't. Which makes him dangerous to this country. You know you can't. You know you can't count on him. None of us can. None of us can.
What happens if China got the message? Now you can say, well, he's just joking, of course. He didn't really mean China should investigate the Bidens. You know that's no joke. Now maybe you could have argued three years ago, when he said, 'Hey Russia, if you're listening, hack Hillary's emails.' Maybe you could give him a freebee and say he was joking. But now we know better. Hours after he said that, Russia did indeed try to hack Hillary's emails.*
There’s no mulligan here when it comes to our national security.
So, what if China does overtly or covertly start to help the Trump campaign? You think he's going to call them out on it or you think he's going to give them a better trade deal on it? Can any of us really have the confidence that Donald Trump (won't) put his personal interests ahead of the national interest? Is there really any evidence in this presidency that should give us the ironclad confidence that he would do so?
You know you can't count on him to do that. That's the sad truth. You know you can't count on him to do that.
The American people deserve a president they can count on to put their interest first. To put their interest first. Colonel Vindman said, 'Here, right matters.' Here, right matters.'
"Well, let me tell you something. If right doesn't matter -- if right doesn't matter, it doesn't matter how good the Constitution is. It doesn't matter how brilliant the Framers were. It doesn't matter how good or bad our advocacy in this trial is. It doesn't matter how well written the oath of impartiality is.
If right doesn't matter, we're lost. If the truth doesn't matter, we're lost. The Framers couldn't protect us from ourselves if right and truth don't matter. And you know that what he did was not right.
(The question for the Senate, of course, is whether Trump's actions, right or wrong, are impeachable.)
Schiff ended his oration by noting that cheating in elections is the kind of thing that was done in the "old country," where Schiff's great-grandfather and many Americans' ancestors came from.
"But here, right is supposed to matter," he continued:
"It's what's made us the greatest nation on earth. No Constitution can protect us if right doesn't matter anymore. And you know you can't trust this president to do what's right for this country.
"You can trust he will do what's right for Donald Trump. He'll do it now. He's done it before. He'll do it in the next several months; he'll do it in the election if he's allowed to. This is why, if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed. Because right matters. Because right matters. And the truth matters. Otherwise we are lost."
Trump's legal team is expected to argue that any election interference -- including attempts to delegitimize the 2020 contest before it happens -- are coming from Democrats with their baseless impeachment effort. And of course, both sides claim to have "right" and "truth" on their side.
Trump's defense team is expected to make its case, starting on Saturday.
*For the record, Trump did not ask the Russians to "hack" Hillary's emails. He said, "Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”