STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 159036

Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10708104
Hinds10519205
Harrison7555113
Jackson6708128
Rankin6130112
Lee547697
Madison5202110
Forrest400187
Jones382189
Lauderdale3727147
Lafayette344057
Washington3367108
Lamar307550
Lowndes261167
Oktibbeha259962
Bolivar250185
Panola240253
Neshoba2311122
Marshall227151
Leflore213991
Monroe212278
Pontotoc211231
Lincoln200867
Sunflower195555
Warren184958
Tate184051
Union176826
Copiah172540
Pike168360
Pearl River163870
Yazoo162940
Scott162730
Itawamba162637
Alcorn160428
Coahoma157844
Prentiss156732
Simpson155153
Adams148352
Grenada147145
Leake143344
Holmes135761
Covington135541
Tippah132530
George131725
Winston131726
Hancock130942
Wayne124924
Attala124735
Marion124248
Tishomingo114844
Chickasaw112132
Newton112129
Tallahatchie100727
Clay97127
Clarke95653
Jasper88523
Stone83115
Calhoun81513
Walthall79930
Montgomery78826
Carroll76315
Smith75716
Lawrence75214
Yalobusha74428
Noxubee74217
Perry69326
Tunica63519
Greene63022
Jefferson Davis60217
Amite59315
Claiborne59316
Humphreys55719
Quitman5117
Benton50518
Kemper49318
Webster47914
Wilkinson41322
Jefferson38712
Franklin3726
Choctaw3697
Sharkey33117
Issaquena1234
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
Calhoun6809121
Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
Limestone455046
Lauderdale443357
Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 42°
Columbus
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 39°
Oxford
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 36°
Starkville
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 41°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather