On Tuesday afternoon, moments after releasing a letter addressed to Nancy Pelosi — in which he claimed her prayers for him offended “Americans of faith” — President Trump appeared to threaten another prominent House Democrat, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. In a meeting in the Oval Office with Guatemalan president Jimmy Morales, Trump addressed Schiff’s high crime from September: Paraphrasing the president’s July 25 call with Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump pressured the Ukrainian leader to investigate Hunter Biden in exchange for the release of Congressionally approved aid.
After calling the impeachment a “hoax” and “total scam,” Trump claimed that “shifty Schiff [went] out and [made] up a statement that I made. He said, ‘This is what he said,’ but I never said it. He made it up. In Guatemala, they handle things much tougher than that.”
When asked to clarify, Trump only said: “Guatemala is terrific. Guatemala has been terrific.” It’s unclear if the president could have been referring to the Guatemalan death squads active during the country’s long civil war, or if he thought of the Central American country only because its president was sitting next to him. (Considering that the only comment he could muster up about the nation was that it is and has always been “terrific,” it’s probably the latter.) Trump was also asked if he takes “any responsibility” for his impeachment. “No,” he responded. “I don’t take any. Zero, to put it mildly.”
Though the president’s comment sounds menacing, Schiff should rest easy, considering the low delivery rate of Trump’s apparent threats. In recent months, Trump has threatened the Ukraine whistle-blower with the death penalty; threatened to sue CNN for advertising itself as a news agency; threatened James Comey with ‘years in jail’ for the FBI’s surveillance of his campaign; and threatened to ‘totally destroy and obliterate’ Turkey’s economy. The entities mentioned are all alive, free of litigation, unjailed, and doing well.