Not a single vote has been cast in the 2020 election, but top House Democrats are already beginning to de-legitimize its outcome.
In a joint Sunday morning television show appearance on ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) implied that next year's election may have already been "corrupted" by President Donald Trump and his campaign.
Stephanopoulos asked Schiff to react to the news that Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, was in Ukraine as recently as early December to investigate Hunter Biden's business dealings in the country. It is common and legal for political campaigns to conduct opposition research of their opponents.
Schiff and Nadler question the 'election's integrity'
"This misconduct goes on," Schiff, who described Guiliani's trip as a "threat to our election's integrity," said.
The House Democrat added that the Trump campaign's opposition research effort represents "a clear and present danger, I think, to our democracy and not something we can turn away from simply because the Republicans in the House refuse to do their duty and continue to put the person of the president above their constitutional obligation." Schiff also accused Trump and Giuliani of conducting a "sham investigation" and trying to "cheat in the next election."
Nadler agreed with his colleague's characterization, telling Stephanopoulos that the Trump campaign's research into Biden represents "a total threat" to the 2020 election.
"This is a crime in progress against the Constitution and against American democracy," he said. "We cannot take the risk that the next election will be corrupted through foreign interference solicited by the president, which he's clearly trying to do."
Impeachment efforts are backfiring
The congressmen's comments come as recent polls show the favorability ratings of 2020 Democratic candidates are in decline and that Democrats are failing to persuade voters, particularly in swing states, that the president's dealings with Ukraine merit his removal from office.
At a media briefing on Thursday, Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale told reporters that the Democrats' impeachment efforts are bolstering the president's re-election efforts.
"They have ignited a flame underneath that, with 300-some days to go, actually makes our job easier in some ways," Parscale said. "This lit up our base. Turnout for our rallies has increased since the impeachment process started. I think it's a huge miscalculation by [Democrats]."