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American democracy is now more vulnerable than January 6, Schiff said during the hearing.

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) says the Jan. 6 House Committee investigation will reveal more details about the uprising to the public.

Shuran Huang for NPR


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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) says the Jan. 6 House Committee investigation will reveal more details about the uprising to the public.

Shuran Huang for NPR

American democracy is more vulnerable today than it was on January 6 because, according to Rep. Adam Schiff (R-Calif.), the “big lie” has spread that Donald Trump has won the 2020 election.

Schiff also said the Jan. 6 House Committee investigation into the connection between Trump’s allegations of voter fraud and the Capitol uprising would be valuable to the public.

“I think that many tens of millions of Americans are still open-minded about the events of January 6, and even people who think they know what happened are ready to learn more, and we hope to achieve this,” he said.

Schiff said the plan remains to hold a total of seven hearings, and one of them, which he will chair, will focus on former President Trump’s attempts to pressure government officials to change the election results.

“There will be a mixture of information that the public knows about and a mixture of information that the public has never seen,” he said. “But what really matters most is how the information is put together, because what America has learned about the plot to cancel the election, it has learned some here and some there. So we want to tell the whole story.”

This interview between NRP’s Mary Louise Kelly and Rep. Schiff has been edited for length and clarity.

Schiff speaks with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly at her office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Thursday.

Shuran Huang for NPR


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Interview Highlights

On whether his hearing will focus on a particular state or states

We will focus on the battlefield states where the President and his aides tried to coerce and corner the people into doing his will and canceling the elections.

About whether the commission will send a formal criminal case to the Ministry of Justice.

We didn’t discuss it as a committee. Of course, there were separate discussions, but I think we decided to wait until we finish the hearings. Frankly, we didn’t want to try to come to any kind of conclusion before we actually moved forward with the investigation.

Schiff says the danger to democracy did not end on January 6th.

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Whether he thinks the Justice Department has enough evidence to open a criminal investigation, regardless of whether the commission sends a referral on January 6th.

Absolutely. And that’s not just my opinion, you saw how U.S. District Judge David Carter in California – just based on the limited information he had – concluded that there were several federal laws that were violated by President Trump and his entourage. .

This does not mean that the department ultimately concludes that there is evidence beyond reasonable doubt. But I think it means you’re getting started and you can’t ignore evidence just because it’s about a former president or because it’s going to be perceived as political. Because the decision not to look for evidence where there is reliable evidence pointing to a crime is a political decision.

On the lessons he learned from the Trump impeachment hearing

Now the situation is quite different in the sense that we are not considering this case before a group of senators strongly inclined to either support or oppose the president.

We want the public to understand the many ways Donald Trump tried to prevent a peaceful transition of power. For the first time in our history, a president could not accept such a defeat that he angered enough of his supporters to attack the Capitol. And this danger, unfortunately, did not end on January 6, because he continues to promote the big lies that led to this violence.

How the Primary Success of Dozens of Candidates Supporting Trump’s Campaign Lies Says About the State of American Democracy

He tells me that he is more vulnerable today than on January 6th. The big lie lives on. Today, we are more at risk of losing our democracy than a year and a half ago, when violent rebels attacked the building from the outside, because this big lie has spread. They seem to be trying to prepare to succeed where they have failed before, meaning if they can’t get someone to find the 11,780 votes that weren’t there, they seem to be set to next time in those positions there were people who would.

Schiff said the decision to formally refer the criminal case to the Justice Department has not yet been made.

Shuran Huang for NPR


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Shuran Huang for NPR

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