Updated 0807 GMT (1607 HKT) January 23, 2020
(CNN)CNN Opinion is curating commentators’ smartest takes on the second day of President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial. The views expressed below are their own.
Raul Reyes: He did not come to play
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff did not come to play. On Wednesday, he laid out a strong case for why senators should vote to impeach and remove Donald Trump from the presidency.
On a strategic level, Schiff’s presentation was masterful: it was eloquent, thoughtful and — most importantly — restrained. While he invoked everyone from Alexander Hamilton to John F. Kennedy, he never slipped into histrionics or hyperbole, which any trial lawyer knows can backfire. Instead, he methodically went through a timeline of the President’s alleged improper conduct.
Given the sheer amount of ground that Schiff covered in two-plus hours, no senator can honestly claim to not know or not have heard about most aspects of the impeachment inquiry. Schiff laid it all out for the Senate and for the public (of which 51% favors impeachment, per a recent CNN poll).
Very smartly, Schiff appealed to senators’ and viewers’ best instincts, saying: “The American people want a fair trial. They want to believe the system of government is still capable of rising to the occasion. They want to believe we can rise about party and do what’s best for the country.” This statement, by the way, is supported by national polling that finds most Americans want witnesses and new testimony allowed into the impeachment inquiry.
Notice that Schiff did not have to resort to demonizing those who perhaps did not agree with him (indeed, he comported himself with the dignity required in such a grave and consequential matter).
In fact, his presentation was especially strong when he played video clips of other people, including Trump, whose statements bolstered the House Democrats’ case for impeachment.