Jim Lo Scalzo / AP
Nine months after the uprising on the United States Capitol on January 6, Representative Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Said the Capitol is a “different place.”
“I think the relationship we have had with our [GOP] colleagues before that day, who were already unraveling, have reached a real breaking point, “Schiff, who advocated for the impeachment of President Donald Trump in the first trial in 2020, told NPR’s Michel Martin.
He said even relations with fellow Republicans who were previously amicable are now in jeopardy, including with parliamentary minority leader Kevin McCarthy. Even after the Jan. 6 uprising, Schiff believed the country could take a turn, but “that flicker of consciousness within the GOP lasted about 30 seconds for Kevin McCarthy,” he said.
“Our country must know how dangerous it would be for it to set foot anywhere near the president’s office. Someone who has no qualms about dishonesty, who will do whatever the former president says or wants. can’t have that kind of power, ”Schiff said.
Schiff’s new book, Midnight in Washington: How we almost lost our democracy and still could, provides information on what lawmakers could have done differently during Trump’s first impeachment, the importance of the trial, and how it changed the political landscape in Washington.
After regretting asking Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller to testify on the 2016 election interference investigation
I immediately understood why his staff had been so protective and why they were so reluctant to have him testify. And I immediately said to our members, “We need to reduce our questions. We cannot ask for narrative responses. We have to be very specific in what we ask for. We need to have the page references of the report ready. And it was painful, honestly, it was painful. And if I had known, I wouldn’t have pushed for his testimony.
On whether he would change anything in his own performance before and during the impeachment in which the president was accused of trying to pressure the Ukrainian leadership to help Trump’s political agenda
I think the parody [of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president] that I did was unnecessary. Now the President has created quite a fictitious account about it, claiming that I have advanced knowledge of the transcript of this conversation. But when I think about it, would something I did differently have changed the outcome? Obviously, it’s hard for me to be objective about this. It took a bloody insurgency for even a few Republicans to back impeachment. It’s a pretty horribly high bar to have to wait for even a small group of Republicans to honor their constitutional oath.
On how he understands new poll data that shows Trump is viewed favorably by 53% of Iowa voters
We are a much more tribal and polarized society. The information we get now is organized for us by algorithms that don’t show us anything we don’t want to see, reinforce the views we already have. … This allows him and his supporters to live in another world. And this is one of the biggest, biggest and most difficult challenges we face.
On when he thinks the Republican Party has started to change, even before Trump
There were a number of canaries in the coal mine, and in fact, some of them even predate Trump. When, for example, [Republican leader] Mitch McConnell, who was seen as an institutionalist, was prepared to reject Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court, was prepared to essentially make an equal branch of government, the Supreme Court, into a political toy to help him out. mobilize its base. It was a sign that things were about to change. When in North Carolina in 2016 a Democrat won the governorship and the Republican legislature responded, not by trying to do better next time or change its backward policies, but by stripping that governor of his powers . It told us that something was going on in the American body politic.
On what shocked him during the impeachment trial
What shocked me during the trial was the realization, as I listened to some of these [GOP] senators, that they understood that the president was guilty. They admitted he was guilty. They were surprised by the abundance of evidence. … They didn’t know what they knew until they watched Fox. But even in the face of this evidence, moving them was not enough to make their oath meaningful, as it could cost them their job or cost them a cabinet post. And there was nothing they cherished so much as these things.