WASHINGTON — The effort to impeach President Donald Trump still has months to run, but already has produced at least one clear winner: Rep. Adam B. Schiff has emerged from two weeks of public hearings as a rising star among Democrats, one with enhanced power to aid his House colleagues even as he bedevils the president.
With no special counsel involved in investigating Trump’s actions toward Ukraine, Schiff, a federal prosecutor before he won his Burbank, Calif.-based congressional seat, has taken the role of lead inquisitor and public face of the probe. He’s the Kenneth Starr of the Trump impeachment — or to use the comparison he would prefer, the Leon Jaworski, special prosecutor during Watergate.
Republicans from Trump on down accuse him of unfairness and bias. Schiff’s fellow Democrats, however, have heaped praise on the way he kept Republicans at bay and maintained control during the impeachment hearings while generating enough news to keep the inquiry — and his name — in headlines for weeks on end.
“Most members of Congress from Los Angeles have a very low profile,” said Democratic strategist Rose Kapolczynski, noting the dozens of lawmakers who compete for attention in Southern California. “That all changed in the Trump era for Adam Schiff.”
Even before the hearings got underway, Schiff had emerged as one of the Democrats’ leading figures. He’s the top House Democratic fundraiser this year — bringing in $4.4 million through the third quarter, according to federal filings.
Schiff’s haul bested even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and powerhouse freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.