What is Adam Schiff's next political move?

Adam Schiff's profile is on the rise in Democratic politics -- but nobody seems to know what the California congressm...

Posted: Feb 25, 2018 2:21 PM
Updated: Feb 25, 2018 2:21 PM

Adam Schiff's profile is on the rise in Democratic politics -- but nobody seems to know what the California congressman will do next.

Until recently, Schiff was a well-regarded, but low-profile lawmaker in a Los Angeles market where he had to compete with two dozen other members of Congress for local media attention and 52 others for state-level press.

His post as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee -- placing him at the center of the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election and the potential involvement of President Donald Trump's campaign -- changed all that.

Now, Schiff is a day-to-day, hour-to-hour fixture on cable TV news. He earned a stop on the 2020 early-state speaking tour. And he even got a nickname -- albeit a recycled one -- from Trump: "Little Adam Schiff."

And his mocking response to Trump early this month got nearly 80,000 retweets. "Mr. President," Schiff wrote, "I see you've had a busy morning of 'Executive Time.' Instead of tweeting false smears, the American people would appreciate it if you turned off the TV and helped solve the funding crisis, protected Dreamers or...really anything else."

Schiff is now prominently battling Trump and House Republicans with a 10-page memo written in response to a four-page GOP version drafted last week alleging misconduct by the FBI in its process of obtaining a surveillance warrant for a Trump adviser in 2016.

"He's gone from one of 53 to one of the upper echelon of the California delegation, and he's overnight become a political celebrity within Democratic circles in the state," said Dave Jacobson, a Los Angeles-based Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator.

It's all stirred up questions about what Schiff will do once the Russia probe concludes.

It was long an open secret that Schiff coveted Sen. Dianne Feinstein's seat. And the transition seemed natural: Feinstein is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a leading Democratic foreign policy voice in the Senate; Schiff plays a similar role in the House.

But Feinstein last year opted to run for re-election in November 2018, leaving Schiff without a next move.

He's well-known in California thanks to regular appearances on cable news shows, where he is a leading voice on the Russia probe. Internal Democratic surveys there have found his name identification in the high-50s across the state, which has turned him into a sought-after endorser of Democratic candidates even though Schiff doesn't have a history as a heavyweight figure in internal party politics. And with $3.3 million in his campaign bank account despite running in a safe Democratic district in the Hollywood area, he has money to spend.

But there's no place to go in California politics, with the governor's race already crowded with well-known Democrats.

Schiff, a former assistant US attorney who was first elected in 2000, could wait for a Senate opening -- Feinstein's seat, eventually, or potentially that of Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, who is seen as a potential 2020 presidential candidate.

Schiff personally wouldn't comment on his political future.

"Congressman Schiff is focused on his job overseeing our intelligence agencies and investigating Russia's interference in our election," said Schiff spokesman Patrick Boland. "Whenever possible, Schiff is also traveling around the country to help Democrats take back the House."

But those close to him, while insisting that he remains totally focused on the Russia investigation and is not plotting his next political office, say they think a national role is a more likely his next move.

Schiff stirred up chatter that he could be weighing a presidential run in December, when he visited Columbia, South Carolina, and railed against Trump at a conference hosted by the state Democratic Party.

More likely, Democratic strategists say: A prominent role in a future president's Cabinet.

Schiff's original dream job in politics was US attorney general, a source close to him said. That, or a post like FBI director or CIA director, would make sense given his experience on the intelligence committee, the source said.

He could also make vice presidential shortlists if Democrats need a candidate with security credentials -- though being a white man in a party with a diverse base, and not being able to help the ticket carry his home state given that California is already so overwhelmingly Democratic, are drawbacks.

Some in the party have also pointed to Schiff as someone who could replace Nancy Pelosi and become the next House Democratic leader -- particularly if Pelosi departs and the party can't settle a battle between two other current members of leadership, Reps. Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Joe Crowley of New York.

Whatever his next step, Schiff's aggressive challenging of Trump and Republicans in the Russia probe has won him admirers.

He is "seen as an American hero with the Democratic base," said Zac Petkanas, a Democratic strategist who launched a firm specializing in messaging around the Russia investigation.

"The 'I got this' vibe he exudes during his TV appearances breaking down the Russia investigation is only slightly more popular than his legendary social media barbs calling out Donald Trump," Petkanas said. "It's going to be a crowded field in 2020 but he has earned a place as a serious contender for any job he seeks, whether it's for commander-in-chief or as a member of the Cabinet."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 556381

Reported Deaths: 7098
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1158471682
Ramsey47939856
Dakota42586422
Anoka38655415
Washington24993274
Stearns21052219
St. Louis16821298
Scott16013117
Wright14818127
Olmsted1276297
Sherburne1064880
Carver984945
Clay783490
Rice7649101
Blue Earth698640
Kandiyohi628181
Crow Wing618186
Chisago550650
Otter Tail543973
Benton532297
Mower451132
Goodhue444172
Douglas442870
Winona438649
Nobles400648
Morrison396059
McLeod395255
Isanti378259
Itasca373653
Beltrami372957
Polk366067
Steele364014
Becker356048
Lyon348648
Carlton329452
Freeborn328129
Pine312321
Nicollet307542
Brown294739
Mille Lacs282150
Le Sueur270822
Todd268830
Cass250426
Meeker237437
Waseca231421
Martin213429
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Roseau197818
Renville172543
Hubbard172341
Dodge17193
Redwood166335
Houston162614
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Fillmore15179
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Faribault144019
Sibley136410
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Rock123019
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Swift100018
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Stevens82210
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Cook1460

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 358085

Reported Deaths: 5821
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk56023604
Linn20310330
Scott19111234
Black Hawk15560306
Woodbury14906221
Johnson1405881
Dubuque13162202
Dallas1090196
Pottawattamie10763162
Story1031547
Warren555686
Clinton537790
Cerro Gordo522986
Webster508391
Sioux506673
Marshall477274
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Wapello4254120
Buena Vista421940
Jasper407670
Plymouth397479
Lee368555
Marion354575
Jones293155
Henry286337
Bremer279360
Carroll279351
Crawford261840
Boone258833
Benton250355
Washington249550
Dickinson242343
Mahaska224850
Jackson218242
Kossuth213063
Clay211225
Tama206671
Delaware203039
Winneshiek194433
Page190421
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Cedar184423
Fayette183041
Wright180435
Hardin179942
Hamilton178149
Harrison176473
Clayton167155
Butler162534
Mills158720
Cherokee157138
Floyd155442
Lyon154841
Madison154119
Poweshiek152733
Allamakee149151
Iowa145524
Hancock143734
Winnebago136131
Grundy135332
Cass134654
Calhoun133211
Jefferson131035
Emmet128740
Shelby128637
Sac127319
Louisa127249
Appanoose126647
Mitchell125341
Union124132
Chickasaw122615
Humboldt118326
Guthrie117929
Franklin112821
Palo Alto111022
Howard102822
Montgomery100637
Unassigned10050
Clarke98323
Keokuk94730
Monroe94128
Ida89733
Adair84532
Pocahontas83721
Monona81230
Davis79924
Greene76710
Osceola75516
Lucas74923
Worth7098
Taylor65312
Fremont6139
Decatur5899
Van Buren55518
Ringgold53623
Wayne52123
Audubon4939
Adams3284
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