(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House intelligence committee, said on Sunday the "focus" of the Democrats' impeachment inquiry is "on the president's coercion of an ally, that is Ukraine, to create these sham investigations into his political opponent."
Schiff is now suggesting there were two quid pro quos at work on Trump's part:
First, said Schiff, Trump urged an investigation of the Bidens in exchange for the Ukraine president's "deeply sought" meeting with President Trump; and two, U.S. military aid may have been held over the Ukraine president's head in exchange for a corruption investigation into the Bidens.
"First of all, there doesn't need to be a quid pro quo," Schiff told CBS's "Face the Nation" with Margaret Brennan.
But it is clear already, I think, from the text messages that this meeting that the Ukraine president sought, was being conditioned on their willingness to interfere in the U.S. election to help the president.
That is a terrible abuse of the president's power. Now whether that abuse goes further; that is, the withholding of military aid also as leverage, there's certainly strong indications that that is true as well. And we're going to get to the bottom of it.
But here you have a president of the United States abusing his power to the detriment of our national security and doing so to get yet another foreign country to intervene in our election. It's hard to imagine more of a corruption of his office than that.
Schiff said Democrats are holding closed-door hearings so Trump's witnesses can't hear what the others are saying and "tailor their testimony."
He also said there may be no need to hear from the whistleblower:
"Yes, we were interested in having the whistleblower come forward," Schiff said.
"Not anymore?" Brennan asked.
"Well, our primary interest right now is making sure that that person is protected," Schiff said:
Indeed, now there's more than one whistleblower, that they are protected. And given that we already have the call record, we don't need the whistleblower who wasn't on the call to tell us what took place during the call.
We have the best evidence of that. We do want to make sure that we identify other evidence that is pertinent to the withholding of the military support. The effort to cover this up by hiding this in a classified computer system.
We want to make sure that we uncover the full details about the conditionality of the either the military aid or that meeting with Ukraine president. It may not be necessary to take steps that might reveal the whistleblowers identity to do that, and we're going to make sure that we protect that whistleblower.
President Trump previously has demanded, via Twitter, that he be allowed to face the person who is accusing him.
On Monday morning, Trump tweeted about Schiff's reluctance to have Trump's accuser testify:
"Adam Schiff now doesn’t seem to want the Whistleblower to testify. NO! Must testify to explain why he got my Ukraine conversation sooo wrong, not even close. Did Schiff tell him to do that? We must determine the Whistleblower’s identity to determine WHY this was done to the USA."