President Donald Trump presents “the greatest threat to our Republic and its democracy today,” California Rep. Adam Schiff said this week, as he vowed to use his role as chairman of the powerful House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to counter the president.
According to Inside Sources, Schiff also said “one of the most difficult conclusions for me in the last two years as I looked into Russia’s meddling in our affairs, as well as the growing trend towards autocracy around the world, is the realization that the threat to our democracy right now is most pronounced from within.”
“We have a deeply unethical President who is not committed to these institutions of our democracy, and a Congress that in the last two years has been utterly unwilling to stand up to him. This combination has our republic and its democracy trembling. Trembling,” Schiff said.
In a later interview with the outlet, Schiff doubled down on his characterization of Trump:
“What I am saying is that the most acute threat to our democracy right now comes from an administration that believes that you [the press] are the enemy of the people. That belittles the independence of our judges, and denigrates the Justice Department and undermines the work of the FBI, and tells friend and foe alike that our intelligence agencies can’t be trusted. This is a real threat to our country.
“That doesn’t mean that the other threats are also not serious. They are,” Schiff said. “Russia and China are trying to push forward their authoritarian models and really challenging the idea of democracy.
“But that is, I think, secondary to the threat we face right now from within” from the Trump presidency, Schiff said.
Schiff offered a warning to Trump and Attorney General nominee William Barr that any attempt to keep all or portions of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report from the public will be met with consequences:
“If the Justice Department and our administration somehow tries to block a publication of the report, we will issue a subpoena. This is too big to be buried. This is of too great consequences to the country to be swept under the rug, and so we will use whatever compulsion we can and must to make sure that the public gets the whole story.”
The Democratic lawmaker also promised a swift and aggressive response should Trump declare a national emergency in order to skirt Congress and secure funding for his border wall:
“Our [House Democratic] leadership will make the decision, but I would imagine that we will have a legislative response, whether that is initially a resolution of disapproval of some kind, followed by legislation that will set limits on the circumstances which [a sitting president] can declare an emergency.
“There will be a legislative answer and it will test how serious Sen. Mitch McConnell is when he warned the president that he would lose Republican colleagues,” Schiff said.