Rep. Schiff reveals impeachment regrets, tensions on Capitol Hill after insurrection


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Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during the House select committee hearing in July on the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Jim Lo Scalzo/AP


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Jim Lo Scalzo/AP

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On whether he would change anything about his own performance leading up to and during the impeachment in which the president was accused of trying to pressure Ukrainian leaders to aid Trump’s political agenda

I think the parody [of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president] that I did was unnecessary. Now the president created a whole fictional narrative about it, claiming that I had advanced knowledge of the record of that conversation. But when I think back, would anything that I did differently have changed the result? Obviously, it’s hard for me to be objective about this. It took a bloody insurrection to get even a few Republicans to support impeachment. That’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 polling data that shows Trump is viewed favorably by 53% of Iowa voters

We are a much more tribal, polarized society. The information that we get now is curated for us by algorithms that don’t show us anything we don’t want to see, reinforce the views that we already have. … That allows him and his supporters to live in a different world. And that is among the most consequential, far-reaching and difficult challenges that we face.

On the moments when he thinks the Republican Party started to change, even before Trump

There were a number of canaries in the coal mine, and in fact, some of them even predated Trump. When, for example, [Republican leader] Mitch McConnell, who was viewed as an institutionalist, was willing to withhold a Obama appointment to the Supreme Court, was willing to essentially render a coequal branch of government, the Supreme Court, just a political plaything to help him mobilize his base. That was a sign that things were changing. When, in North Carolina in 2016, a Democrat won the governor’s office and the Republican legislature responded, not by trying to do better the next time or change its backward policies, but stripping that governor of his powers. That told us something was happening 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 the president was guilty. They recognized that he was guilty. They were surprised by the abundance of evidence. … They only knew what they knew from watching Fox. But even when confronted with this evidence, it wasn’t enough to move them to give meaning to their oath, because it might cost them in their job or it might cost them a position in the Cabinet. And there was nothing they treasured quite so much as those things.

  • January 6
  • capitol insurrection
  • Rep. Adam Schiff
  • Donald Trump
  • Capitol Hill

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