Adam Schiff on Principles & Values

Democratic Representative (CA-29)


Wore gas mask in Congress when tear gas deployed on Jan. 6

[On preparing to deploy tear-gas on Jan. 6]: "Please grab a mask!" a Capitol Police officer shouted from the well of the House floor. I still wasn't sure what was happening outside the chamber and whether we were at serious risk. There were rioters in the building--how many of them, or how great a threat they posed, it was impossible to tell.

Sensing our confusion, the officer continued: "Be prepared to don your mask in the event the room is breached." He told us that tear gas was being deployed, so we should get them ready. I pulled a rectangular canvas pouch from under my seat and unzipped it. These hoods didn't resemble the gas masks you see police wearing during a riot; instead, they were a large polyethylene bag that you pulled over your head, with a small motor attached to circulate and filter the air. As you removed the hood from its packaging, the motor began running, and suddenly there was a din of dozens of these hoods buzzing, which only added to the growing sense of alarm.

Source: Midnight in Washington, by Adam Schiff, p. 3, (on Jan. 6) , Oct 12, 2021

As impeachment leader, Felt targeted by January 6 rioters

[Upon rioters entering Congress on Jan. 6]: Just then came a tremendous thud--something had been thrust against the doors not twenty yards away from me, battering them. Thud. A moment later, again: thud. "You need to get out!" a police officer shouted. "Move!"

"You can't let them see you," a Republican member said to me. "He's right," another Republican member said. "I know these people, I can talk to them, I can talk my way through them. You're in a whole different category." In that moment, we were not merely members of different political parties, but on opposite sides of a much more dangerous divide. At first I was oddly touched by these GOP members and their evident concern. But by then, I had been receiving death threats for years, and that feeling soon gave way to another: If these Republican members hadn't joined the president in falsely attacking me for 4 years, I wouldn't need to be worried about my security, none of us would. I kept that thought to myself.

Source: Midnight in Washington, by Adam Schiff, p. 6, (on Jan. 6) , Oct 12, 2021

Made case for impeachment guilt, but not for removal

[During the first Trump impeachment], my staff told me, "They think we've proven him guilty," just before I would make a closing argument. "They need to know why he should be removed."

I didn't have time to ask who "they" were. We had been getting feedback during the course of the trial, sometimes directly from senators. But the best sources of information came from Sen. Schumer's staff, passed on to my staff in whispers and handwritten notes. Were these questions coming from Democratic senators, like Joe Manchin from West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, or Doug Jones of Alabama? If so, we were in trouble.

Or was this feedback coming from Republican senators, several of whom had kept their cards close to the vest? If the Republican senators were asking, that meant their minds were still open to conviction, and that was good, even though at this point in the trial they had yet to hear the defense case.

Source: Midnight in Washington, p. xii, (on impeaching Trump) , Oct 12, 2021

Senators believed Trump guilty, but no reason to convict

If senators believed that we had proven Trump guilty of withholding hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid from an ally at war in order to coerce that nation into helping him cheat in the upcoming election, wasn't that enough [to remove Trump from office after impeachment]? It was like a juror in an extortion case asking the judge, "Okay, he's guilty, but do we really need to convict?"

This was the central question: Why should he be removed? He was the president of their party. He was putting conservative judges on the court. He was lowering their taxes. Why remove him? The president's Senate defenders believed there had been no quid pro quo. But I could see now that that wasn't it at all.

For the past three years, Republicans had confided their serious misgivings about the president. And the question wasn't so much "Why should he be removed?" as "Why should I be the one to remove him? Why should I risk my seat, my career and future? Why should I?"

Source: Midnight in Washington, p. xiii, (on impeaching Trump) , Oct 12, 2021

The GOP had become an anti-truth & anti-democratic cult

Our system of government depends on two functional parties, and now we only had one [after most Republicans in Congress voted to not impeach President Trump and/or to decertify the Electoral count]. The GOP had become an anti-truth, anti-democratic cult organized around the former president. For a brief moment, when emotions around the insurrection were high and public sentiment against Trump were high, [House Minority Leader Kevin] McCarty and [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell had flirted with the idea of casting him aside, but like a candle in the breeze, their flirtation with truth quickly withered and died. And when the small light was distinguished, prospects for a quick recovery from the damage inflicted by the most grandiose of liars died along with it.
Source: Midnight In Washington, by Adam Schiff, p.463 , Oct 12, 2021

Despite flaws, US is best hope for freedom loving peoples

Years from now, when the president is a distant memory, we will look back at this time as a decisive moment for our country, when we were at sea and our destination remained unknown, our future obscure, the great enterprise in self-rule in doubt. Did we turn back towards the shores of our founders, or was this the moment when the clouds descended, the stars disappeared, and we became irreverently lost? We must understand that we are not passengers on this journey, unable to steer the country we all love in one direction or another. It is within our power to take hold of the rudder, choose the future we want for our children and grandchildren, and, with the grace of God, make it so.
Source: Midnight In Washington, by Adam Schiff, p.477 , Oct 12, 2021

Path to power: eat right, exercise & outlive the bastards

Days later, I had lunch in the hall's dinning room with a long time Hill veteran and complained about the partisan nature of the party proceedings. "When I became chairman", I said, "25 years from now, I'm gonna do things differently." His response was unsympathetic: "25 years might be optimistic". After that lunch, I took to telling my constituents that I had discovered that the quickest route to power and influence on the Hill was to "eat right, exercise and outlive the bastards."
Source: Midnight In Washington, by Adam Schiff, p.62 , Oct 12, 2021

Despite flaws, US is best hope for freedom-loving peoples

For all its imperfections, America remains the best hope for freedom loving people around the world. If the United States continues its illiberal slide, much of the rest of the world will slide with us, if not into autocracy, then something else that is not quite democracy, something more ruthless, more intolerant, less representative, less accountable, and less free. The burden of championing democracy is one we have always been proud to bear. We should be proud to bear it still.
Source: Midnight In Washington, by Adam Schiff, p.477 , Oct 12, 2021

Challenges to subpoenas not impeachable, stonewalling is

Q: One article of impeachment is obstructing Congress by refusing to comply with subpoenas. But the Supreme Court agreed to hear cases where the House had subpoenaed the president's financial records. Why is going to court an impeachable offense?

SCHIFF: Going to court is not an impeachable offense. Stonewalling completely, refusing to comply with the oversight of Congress, particularly during an impeachment inquiry is an impeachable offense. I think this may be the most serious of the articles, because it would fundamentally alter the balance of power and allow for much greater misconduct in the chief executive of the country.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2019 interview on impeaching Trump , Dec 15, 2019

Impeachment: Can't turn away from cheating in next election

It was one thing when the president invited foreign interference as a candidate [referencing Trump's public invitation that Russia should investigate Hillary Clinton], when he couldn't use the power of his office to make it so. It was another when, as president, he withheld hundreds of millions of dollars to coerce an ally, betray our national security, and try to cheat in the next election. That was not something we could turn away from. This president believes he is above the law and accountable to no one; this road was necessary.

They don't want the American people to see the facts. They realize what's been presented in the House is already overwhelming, but there's more damning evidence to be had, and they don't want the American people to see that, and I think that's disgraceful. I hope that the senators will insist on getting the documents, on hearing from the witnesses, on making up their own mind even if there are some senators who have decided this president can do nothing wrong.

Source: ABC This Week 2019 interview on impeaching Trump , Dec 15, 2019

Trump accepting assistance from Russians is criminal

Schiff got to the core of why Russia's efforts, combined with the Trump campaign's links to Russians during the 2016 election, warranted investigation. Even if, as Mueller concluded, the probe did not establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Schiff, in his closing questions to Mueller, asked if "knowingly accepting assistance from a foreign government," to which Mueller responded "a crime."

Schiff continued, adding that if knowingly accepting assistance from a "foreign government during a presidential campaign is an unethical thing to do."

"And a crime in certain circumstances," Mueller responded.

Schiff questioned whether public officials acting unethically "exposes them to compromise particularly in dealing with foreigners."

"True," Mueller responded again.

Schiff, in that brief interaction, helped cut to the center of why the Russia investigation was so critical--and why America needs to pay attention to the results.

Source: Vox.com on Congressional Testimony on Mueller Report , Jul 24, 2019

Anyone excerpt the president would have been indicted

Director Mueller, your work tells of a campaign so determined to conceal their corrupt use of foreign help that they risked going to jail by lying to you, to the FBI and to Congress about it and, indeed, some have gone to jail over such lies.

And your work speaks of a president who committed countless acts of obstruction of justice that in my opinion and that of many other prosecutors, had it been anyone else in the country, they would have been indicted.

You would not tell us whether you would have indicted the president but for the OLC only that you could not. So the Justice Department will have to make that decision when the president leaves office, both as to the crime of obstruction of justice and as to the campaign finance fraud that individual one directed and coordinated and for which Michael Cohen went to jail.

Source: Mueller Report House testimony regarding impeaching Trump , Jul 24, 2019

Congress must decide on impeachment, not Mueller

Notwithstanding the many things [Special Counsel Robert Mueller] addressed today and in your report, there were some questions you could not answer given the constraints you're operating under.

You would not tell us whether the counterintelligence investigation revealed whether people still serving within the administration pose a risk of compromise and should never have been given a security clearance, so we must find out.

We did not bother to ask whether financial inducements from any Gulf nations were influencing U.S. policy since it is outside the four corners of your report, and so we must find out.

You would not tell us whether the president should be impeached, nor did we ask you since it is our responsibility to determine the proper remedy for the conduct outlined in your report. Whether we decide to impeach the president in the house or we do not, we must take any action necessary to protect the country while he is in office.

Source: Mueller Report House testimony regarding impeaching Trump , Jul 24, 2019

Investigation necessary to expose Russian interference

[Rep. Schiff commented on Trump's behavior regarding various aspects of the Mueller Report]: Do we nonetheless go through an impeachment because to do otherwise would signal that somehow this president's conduct is OK, that future presidents can engage in this kind of corruption without consequence, or do we decide that we are better off doing oversight through the context of oversight hearings by the various committees rather than a formal impeachment?

The Mueller report makes it absolutely crystal clear that this investigation was absolutely necessary because it revealed a widespread, systemic effort by the Russians to help the Trump campaign. And that is the overriding conclusion of this report. We need to put our emphasis on making sure that kind of intervention never happens again.

Source: Fox News Sunday on 2019 Mueller Report , Apr 21, 2019

Firing FBI's Comey for hidden reasons is obstructing justice

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said that reports that President Trump attempted to order Attorney General Jeff Sessions to not recuse himself from the Russia investigation is evidence the White House attempted "to obstruct justice." Sessions's recusal led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to head the Russia investigation

"The allegations in the Times piece, if accurate, provide further potential evidence that the White House was engaged in an effort to obstruct justice," Schiff told The Washington Post.

Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence Committee, said if true that Sessions gathered info on Comey, that Sessions may have been "trying to set up some predicate for firing [Comey] without disclosing what the true reason was." "If this was part of an effort to conceal the real motive for firing Comey, that's very pertinent to obstruction of justice," Schiff told the Post.

Source: The Hill on proceedings for Impeaching Pres. Trump , Jan 5, 2018

Supports Hyde Park Declaration of "Third Way" centrism.

Schiff adopted the manifesto, "A New Politics for a New America":

As New Democrats, we believe in a Third Way that rejects the old left-right debate and affirms America’s basic bargain: opportunity for all, responsibility from all, and community of all.