An open letter from Adam Schiff

Dec 2018
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Wisconsin
Could you copy and past the text of the letter? I don't have a subscription to WaPo
 

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Jan 2014
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Adam B. Schiff, a Democrat, represents California’s 28th Congressional District in the House and is chairman of the Intelligence Committee.

This is a moment of great peril for our democracy. Our country is deeply divided. Our national discourse has become coarse, indeed, poisonous. Disunity and dysfunction have paralyzed Congress.

And while our attention is focused inward, the world spins on, new authoritarian regimes are born, old rivals spread their pernicious ideologies, and the space for freedom-loving peoples begins to contract violently. At last week’s Munich Security Conference, the prevailing sentiment among our closest allies is that the United States can no longer be counted on to champion liberal democracy or defend the world order we built.

For the past two years, we have examined Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and its attempts to influence the 2018 midterms. Moscow’s effort to undermine our democracy was spectacularly successful in inflaming racial, ethnic and other divides in our society and turning American against American.

But the attack on our democracy had its limits. Russian President Vladimir Putin could not lead us to distrust our own intelligence agencies or the FBI. He could not cause us to view our own free press as an enemy of the people. He could not undermine the independence of the Justice Department or denigrate judges. Only we could do that to ourselves. Although many forces have contributed to the decline in public confidence in our institutions, one force stands out as an accelerant, like gas on a fire. And try as some of us might to avoid invoking the arsonist’s name, we must say it.

I speak, of course, of our president, Donald Trump.

The president has just declared a national emergency to subvert the will of Congress and appropriate billions of dollars for a border wall that Congress has explicitly refused to fund. Whether you support the border wall or oppose it, you should be deeply troubled by the president’s intent to obtain it through a plainly unconstitutional abuse of power.

To my Republican colleagues: When the president attacked the independence of the Justice Department by intervening in a case in which he is implicated, you did not speak out. When he attacked the press as the enemy of the people, you again were silent. When he targeted the judiciary, labeling judges and decisions he didn’t like as illegitimate, we heard not a word. And now he comes for Congress, the first branch of government, seeking to strip it of its greatest power, that of the purse.

Many of you have acknowledged your deep misgivings about the president in quiet conversations over the past two years. You have bemoaned his lack of decency, character and integrity. You have deplored his fundamental inability to tell the truth. But for reasons that are all too easy to comprehend, you have chosen to keep your misgivings and your rising alarm private.

That must end. The time for silent disagreement is over. You must speak out.

This will require courage. The president is popular among your base, which revels in his vindictive and personal attacks on members of his own party, even giants such as the late senator John McCain. Speaking up risks a primary challenge or accusations of disloyalty. But such acts of independence are the most profound demonstrations of loyalty to country.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III may soon conclude his investigation and report. Depending on what is in that report and what we find in our own investigations, our nation may face an even greater challenge. While I am alarmed at what we have already seen and found of the president’s conduct and that of his campaign, I continue to reserve judgment about what consequences should flow from our eventual findings. I ask you to do the same.

If we cannot rise to the defense of our democracy now, in the face of a plainly unconstitutional aggrandizement of presidential power, what hope can we have that we will do so with the far greater decisions that could be yet to come?

Although these times pose unprecedented challenges, we have been through worse. The divisions during the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement were just as grave and far more deadly. The Depression and World War II were far more consequential. And nothing can compare to the searing experience of the Civil War.

If Abraham Lincoln, the father of the Republican Party, could be hopeful that our bonds of affection would be strained but not broken by a war that pitted brother against brother, surely America can come together once more. But as long as we must endure the present trial, history compels us to speak, and act, our conscience, Republicans and Democrats alike.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/opinions/adam-schiff-an-open-letter-to-my-republican-colleagues/2019/02/21/9d411414-3605-11e9-af5b-b51b7ff322e9_story.html
 
Dec 2015
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Arizona
Beautifully, thoughtfully written. Schiff's letter certainly details most Americans' concerns. I'm glad Schiff included other times in American history where this nation has been divided because we HAVE most certainly been here before. Those of us who lived through the 60s know full well the meaning of division, violence, protest and how deadly it can be.

We still see and feel the effects of those times, especially in our veterans--their struggles and mental health issues. We see the 60s in our continued push for equality, tolerance and diversity. We also see that in some ways we have come full circle---back to hangmen's noose--back to black-face "humor"--back to prejudice, hatred and misogyny.
Schiff is asking us to move forward. I am convinced that a new president in 2020 will help us begin again--even if that president is a GOP pick. Trump is the problem. Trump has to be removed.
This country will never heal until someone else is in the Oval Office.
 
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Dec 2013
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Beware of watermelons
I find all of this so amusing. In the past polititions from both sides of the aisle have supported border security. Trump put it into simple terms and puts already existing policy into a campaign slogan them suddenly these same people do a 180. Now walls are racist and ICE are the Gestapo.
 
Mar 2013
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I find all of this so amusing. In the past polititions from both sides of the aisle have supported border security. Trump put it into simple terms and puts already existing policy into a campaign slogan them suddenly these same people do a 180. Now walls are racist and ICE are the Gestapo.

I think there's a big difference between border security and the Donald J (for jeeeneeus) Trump memorial wall.

But this isn't even about the wall. It about the president appropriating money which is the sole responsibility of congress. What if an AOC got elected, declared guns a national emergency and then defunded the military budget by half to buy and seize weapons ??
 
Jun 2018
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South Dakota
Just another in the long line of Schiffs bash trump BS screeds. Whining about the liberals losses is what's divisive, not Trump. Nothing new.
 
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Jun 2018
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South Dakota
What if an AOC got elected, declared guns a national emergency and then defunded the military budget by half to buy and seize weapons ??
Sure, and then the little green men will materialize in the House chamber during her first SOTU and dematerialize the whole rotten mess and we the people will start over.
Both scenarios would have an equal chance.
 
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RNG

Forum Staff
Apr 2013
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La La Land North
That is a superb summation of the situation. Kudos to Schiff.
 
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