U.S. Rep. Adam Smith tells Dori why he took back CNN comments
On CNN Thursday morning, Smith was asked whether or not it was time to send the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 18, to the Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that she wants to wait until she is ready to send them.
“At the end of the day, just like we control it in the House, [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell controls it in the Senate … yes, I think it is time to send the impeachment to the Senate and let Mitch McConnell be responsible for the trial,” Smith stated on CNN.
Dori called these comments “well-said.” However, shortly after the CNN appearance, Smith sent out a tweet that Dori called “feckless.”
I misspoke this morning, I do believe we should do everything we can to force the Senate to have a fair trial. If the Speaker believes that holding on to the articles for a longer time will help force a fair trial in the Senate, then I wholeheartedly support that decision.
— Rep. Adam Smith (@RepAdamSmith) January 9, 2020
“He has no courage of his convictions, and had to deny his own words an hour later,” Dori said.
Speaking to Dori a few minutes after this criticism, Smith stood behind his tweet, but explained how his way of thinking changed between the two statements.
He paraphrased his original words to mean, “It’s really a question of timing — I don’t question the strategy, we’ve tried it, but we’re probably getting to the point where we need to send [the articles] over.”
Smith said that neither Pelosi nor any other members of Congress called him after he expressed this idea on CNN. It was constituents on the phone who made him reflect and realize that he should clarify his words to better express his true feelings — that he does not mind waiting a little longer to send the articles, as long as they do indeed get sent.
“I didn’t mean we have to send them over now, but I do think we should send them over,” he said. “And that’s what I corrected … I realized that the timing mattered more than I thought it did when I first answered the question.”
He is adamant that he does not disagree with Pelosi’s strategy, and wants to try to sway the Senate before sending the articles. He simply does not know how successful this will be in a bifurcated Congress.
“All I was saying was, ‘At the end of the day, we can’t force the Senate any more than they can force us,'” he said. “‘We have to try to leverage them and persuade them.'”
Adam Smith on Iran
While Smith, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, is glad that Iranian general Qasem Soleimani is dead, he is nervous about the potential consequences created by the U.S. killing the Quds commander.
“I am worried about the fact that such a consequential military action was taken without any consultation with the House,” Smith said. “And also, I don’t know what the ‘win’ is … there’s another general right behind [Soleimani]. What are we going to do to stop Iran’s malign influence in the region?”
He also pointed out that the Iranians who formerly protested the Iranian regime have now switched their focus to protesting the U.S. He also wonders about the implications for Iraq if the U.S. troops currently there are forced out.
“Yes, it’s a good thing that this guy is dead, but the way that it was done, in many ways, takes pressure off the Iranian regime and potentially jeopardizes our relationship with Iraq, further empowering Iran,” Smith stated.
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