Donald Trump, nearly a year after he left the White House continues to be a fixture in the Republican Party. He continues to attract attention and influence people as he contemplates another run for the presidency.
Rep. Adam Schiff is still in the mix.
Schiff, the Intelligence Committee Chairman who rose to national prominence probing Russian election interference, and leading the first Trump Impeachment, said that there is nothing less than democracy at risk with Trump’s continued presence in the national political arena.
Trump is making a mockery of Trump’s position in the Jan. 6 Insurrection. He has made him a key member on the House Select Committee.
Schiff said that Jan. 6 was a way for the country to see how it happened. This is not only the day’s mechanics, such as the participation of white nationalist groups, but also how the big falsehood of our elections led to thousands of people attacking their government. Schiff spoke on C-SPAN Book TV, which airs every week starting Sunday.
Schiff questions, “What did President Obama know about the people who were coming to this rally?” “Why did it take so long?” Schiff asks. There are many important questions that remain unanswered.
The committee is stepping up its investigation. It’s familiar territory but also a new chapter in the life of Schiff, the former federal prosecutor and congressman. His life’s work is now largely defined by the man he describes as a “clear, present danger” for U.S. democracy.
Trump was again impeached last winter for inciting the riot. The Senate did not convict the House prosecutors. They were much like Schiff in the previous trial, which was about election interference involving Trump’s campaign and Ukraine.
The California Democrat claims that the select committee will uncover new information about Trump’s involvement in January 2017. He encouraged his supporters to go to the Capitol to “fight like hell” for a reversal of his electoral defeat to Joe Biden. The riot ended in tragedy for Trump supporters Ashli Babbitt and many officers, who were later killed in the attack on Capitol Square.
In a new book with a weighty title, “Midnight in Washington, How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could,” Schiff writes his personal, gripping account of that day: Preparing to don a gas mask in the House chamber, being forced to flee as the mob approached.Republican colleagues warned him he needed to stay out of sight because of his recognizable role as a Trump critic. During the hours that followed, the House began to count Electoral College votes for Biden. But Schiff saw Republican lawmakers in “suits & ties” as an institutional threat just as serious as the rioters who plowed their way into the building to overturn the election.
The special committee is focusing not only on Trump but also possible Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy from California and other congressional allies who continue to claim that the election was somehow rigged. Despite every state having certified the results as correct, dozens of court challenges have failed.
Schiff stated that he was trying to convey the fragility and strength of democracy, something we took as a given but that has been unraveled piece by piece over the past four years.
He anticipates that the committee will deliver “the definitive” report, much like the 9/11 commission did a thorough examination of the attacks on the U.S. in 2001.
Trump mocks the committee and refuses to take part. Reps. Liz Cheney from Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger from Illinois, two prominent GOP lawmakers have been effectively disowned by their party because they joined the panel and its investigation.
Trump claims that the Democrats have “drunk upon power” and is asking some of his former staff members and administration officials to not comply with subpoenas and other requests for testimony. Trump is relying on executive privilege claims to justify his stance, even though he doesn’t hold office anymore. The panel decided this week to vote to disqualify former Trump adviser Steve Bannon for refusing a subpoena.
Trump stated in a recent statement that “The Radical Left Democrats tried to the RUSSIA Witch hunt, they tried fake impeachments and now they’re trying to use Congress to persecute political opponents.”
Schiff tweeted that this week’s panel was “not playing around” and expected Biden’s Department of Justice prosecute criminal contempt cases in order to forbid compliance.
Schiff stated that the goal of the committee is to produce a historical record to expose to the American people the tragedy and also to form recommendations on how to move forward as a nation, how to protect democracy.
Trump is now at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, where he weighs another White House run. He also visits the early voting states to rally large crowds. Washington is still waiting for his next move.
Schiff admits that he and the other Democrats were not prepared for Trump’s popularity. It took five years to build a convincing counter-argument in order to win back Trump supporters who had left the party.
In the immediate future, Democrats are facing the possibility of a House Republican Takeover during next fall’s midterm election, which would elevate McCarthy to replace Nancy Pelosi.
Schiff warns that “If Kevin McCarthy were to ever become speaker, essentially Donald Trump will be speaker.”
A package of post-Watergate-style legislation has been crafted by him and his Democratic colleagues. It aims to strengthen the nation’s civic infrastructure as well as tightening ethics rules in the post-Trump era. It is not likely to be passed by the Senate because of Republican opposition.
Schiff places America’s experience in the context of a larger “global struggle” between democracy and autocracy. People used to see us as a beacon. They now see people climbing up on the Capitol and beating police officers,” he stated.
“A lot of things we believed impossible have happened in this country.”