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Schiff: I'd impeach Obama if he did the same as Trump

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By Allan Smith  with NBC News Politics
Image: House Intelligence Committee Continues Open Impeachment Hearings
"The question is, why are Republicans placing this president above their oath of office?" Schiff said Sunday.   -   Copyright  Alex Edelman Getty Images file

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Sunday that if former President Barack Obama had committed the same alleged offense that led the House Judiciary Committee to approve articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, Schiff would support impeaching him as well.

Schiff made the comments in an interview with ABC's "This Week," in which he lamented the staunch support for Trump among congressional Republicans in the face of the impeachment investigation.

"What has really changed between now and Watergate isn't the nature of the president's conduct, if anything, this president's conduct is far worse than anything Nixon did, far more sweeping in its obstruction of accountability, far more damaging to our national security than the cover-up that was Watergate," Schiff said. "The question is, why are Republicans placing this president above their oath of office?"

"I don't think any of us have any question that had Barack Obama engaged in the activity, the conduct which is the subject these articles of impeachment, every one of these Republicans would be voting to impeach him," he continued. "And you know something, I have to hope to hell, George, if it were Barack Obama, I would vote to impeach him."

On Friday, the Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against the president in a party-line vote. The articles assert the president abused his power by leveraging his office to have Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, and Democrats, and that he obstructed Congress by refusing to comply with their constitutionally mandated oversight as they investigated Trump's efforts.

The articles are expected to be approved by the full House on Wednesday. Trump would then face a Senate trial. Already, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has signaled that the trial will not lead to Trump's conviction, which would require 67 votes.

"This is, I think, the crux of the matter, which is something the framers were also deeply concerned about, and that is an excess of what they would call factionalism, but we would call extreme partisanship where it is more important to one party that the president of their party remain in office than what he does to the country, and that I think puts us deeply at risk," Schiff said.