House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., in 2019.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Adam Schiff said he “cannot imagine” what would happen if the US were “forced to suffer” another Trump presidency.
He told Insider the prospect of Trump running again in 2024 and winning is “unthinkable.”
He also said the most “astonishing” part of Trump’s rise to power is how many Republicans capitulated to him.
The lawmaker who led then-President Donald Trump’s first impeachment proceedings said he “cannot imagine” what will happen in the US if Trump runs for election in 2024 and wins.
“I cannot imagine what this country would look like if it were forced to suffer another four years under Donald Trump,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Commitee, told Insider in an interview. “He’s already done irrevocable damage to the country.”
Schiff added that “we will recover from this presidency, but it will take years. Should the country have to go through that again, I just can’t imagine what our democracy will look like. It’s unthinkable. Every effort must be made to make sure that it never comes to pass.”
Schiff’s book, “Midnight in Washington: How We Lost Our Democracy and Still Could,” was released on Tuesday. In his memoir, the California Democrat details at length his early life and professional background; how witnessing nationalism and xenophobic populism in eastern Europe in the 1990s prepared him for Trump’s rise to power; and how he went from a relatively low-profile congressman on the intelligence committee to the Republican Party’s bete noire in four years.
Schiff highlighted the widening schism between Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee – a historically bipartisan panel – following Trump’s ascent to the Oval Office, and how he steered the committee in a different direction after becoming chairman in early 2019.
Under Schiff’s leadership, the intelligence committee took center stage in investigating Trump’s personal life and businesses, and conducting his first impeachment inquiry in connection to the president’s dealings with Ukraine ahead of the 2020 election.
Schiff on Tuesday told Insider that watching Trump’s rise to power carried “disturbing echoes of the past” for him. He was referring to his time living in Czechoslovakia in the early 1990s and witnessing the rise of the populist autocrat Vladimir Meciar.
Meciar “literally helped tear the country apart, and the country split while I was there,” Schiff recalled, referring to the 1993 split that led to Slovakia and the Czech Republic. “Fast forward to the rise of Donald Trump, who played on many of the same xenophobic populist themes, what surprised me is how many of my Republican colleagues would go along with that.”
“How many of them would sacrifice everything they believed in, their ideology, their party’s ideology, their morality in the service of this deeply flawed, unethical human being,” Schiff told Insider. “And how Donald Trump would in four short years completely remake one of America’s two great parties in his image. That was astonishing. It still is.”
A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.