An Open Letter From Adam Schiff

Yesterday, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff of California published an open letter in The Washington Post to his republican colleagues.  I am sharing this letter, for in it Mr. Schiff makes a number of very valid and valuable points that the republicans in Congress need to hear, and not just from Mr. Schiff, but also from We the People.  I have sent a copy of his letter with my own plea to the republicans who represent my state/district and with a rather stern warning that if they fail to step up to the plate, I will do everything in my power to unseat them next year.

Adam Schiff: An open letter to my Republican colleagues

By Adam B. Schiff February 21 at 6:06 PM
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.

31 thoughts on “An Open Letter From Adam Schiff

  1. Totally agree. I live in Colombia, and while Maduro is a horrible leader who has failed his people miserably, a US intervention would instigate a deadly conflict in both Venezuela and Colombia as the many guerrilla groups that operate along the border area of both countries would use it as a way to gain territory. The US should also be pushing for dialogue between the divided camps in Venezuela in conjunction with Mexico–which has offered to help broker a deal–instead of adding more sanctions which will only further harm the poor in Venezuela.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh — I did not realize you lived in Columbia! Right now, the U.S. is not even able to clean its own house. We have shoved aside allies, embraced dictators, and domestically we are in shambles. We certainly have no business intervening in another country’s troubles. And let’s face it, our “leader” understands even less than my cat about the situation in Venezuela. He over-simplifies. Frankly, I think his rhetoric toward Venezuela is being scripted by Putin, and I’ve heard others speculate to that effect also. Let us hope that cooler heads can prevail.


    • This letter is perfection, and it clearly states how the vast majority of us feel. I commend Adam Schiff for his integrity, courage, and willingness to truly toil for our nation, its democracy, and its people. Donald Trump does NOT belong in our highest office. He has made a mockery out of it! He does not care about our nation, he lacks all manner of empathy, and his narcissistic disorder is extremely dangerous/injurious to all. Additionally, corruption belongs behind bars, NOT in our oval office. With this obvious knowledge, if the GOP remains loyal to something divisive, vile, and corrupt, those GOP members also DO NOT BELONG IN OFFICE. They too belong behind bars!

      Liked by 3 people

      • I fully agree with all you say! The majority feel the same as you and I, but thanks to republican measures to limit the power of our vote, such as gerrymandering, voter suppression tactics, and of course the Russian interference in our election process, the majority did not win in 2016. The key now is to correct those things, and I do wish we could simply do away with the electoral college, for it failed to do the very thing it was originally intended to do.


  2. I give this a standing ovation, it deserves nothing less! One can only hope that it jars some Republicans that still possess a conscience or a spine to do what needs to be done. Actually, to do what they should have already done and what they can no longer put off doing…put the welfare of this country and its citizens first. Thank-you for posting Adam Schiff’s letter!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Jill, this is heartfelt and well done. It speaks the important truths at this cross roads moment. Unfortunately, his plea will not be heeded by thw spineless many who make up the GOP leadership. The question I continue to ask GOP Senators is simply, “is this the man you want to spend your dear reputation on?”

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, it was a great letter, and you are right … it will not be heeded, for they are a) afraid of losing the support of their minority base, and b) afraid that Trump will yell at them and call them names. I have actually borrowed your question a time or two myself!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Jill, conservative columnist Mark Thiessen (sic) also wrote a column asking GOP lawmakers to protect the Constitution and override the President on this.

        I have written a dozen GOP Senators asking the same, i ended it with we do not want a regal President, especially this one. This man is in a death spiral, so this would be an ideal time for the GOP lawmskers to find that backbone. Keith

        Liked by 2 people

        • I did read Thiessen’s column … usually he just makes me angry, but this time he made sense!

          He “is in a death spiral” is an excellent way to phrase it! And, it seems he wishes to take us all down with him. Backbone? They have none. Conscience? Nope, they sold that to the highest bidder and it wasn’t We the People.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jill, this is why the GOP needs to encourage others to get involved in the race rather than fighting them. Weld and Hogan want a fair hearing. The death spiral Trump is in is like those huge bowls at Kids’ Discovery museums, where you start a coin at the top and watch it circle lower and lower before it disappears. What the GOP leadership needs to realize before it is too late, is the Trump coin has already started and it is only matter of time. They cannot stop it from circling lower, they can only look the other way. Keith

            Liked by 1 person

            • I read a comment by a RNC official in rebuttal to Larry Hogan asking Trump, “What are you afraid of?”. The official said Trump has an “unprecedented level of support among republicans”. That appears to be true, but I must ask … WHY? What is there to support? Everything he has said is a lie, and everything he has tried to do is falling apart at the seams. I am only surprised that republicans aren’t donning their life jackets and preparing to abandon ship! If the GOP has a chance at long-term survival, it seems to me they better be looking at somebody other than Trump to drive them into the future. Crazy times, aren’t these?


    • Yes, it would have been more effective, I think, had it been written by a republican, but they are all too chicken. Trump might yell at them and call them mean names, y’know! Conscience? Republicans? There’s a joke!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Hello Jill. I think he understands they wont go against the president as long as the Republican base of 80%+ will turn on any candidate who doesn’t support their dear leader tRump. Add to that many members of the Republican party are either compromised or get large donations from Russia, or both. I give him credit for trying, and I think it will help to shine a light on what the Republicans are willing to let happen just to stay in office. Hugs

    Liked by 7 people

    • Well, these Bozos may not realize it, but they are elected to represent ALL the people, not only their base. They need to find their consciences and their cojones and do what’s RIGHT instead of what their bigoted base wants. Sigh. I’m so ready to awaken from this nightmare!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Donations are fairly transparent these days, I’m not so sure that any of our congress ppl are on the take, that would be supremely stupid. What concerns me more is that Trump wants to start a hot war in Venezuela, and nobody from either party is calling him out for it. He should be tried for war crimes, instigating regime change, interfering in a sovereign nation’s government, trying to install a phony puppet leader Guiado to displace Maduro. If any foreign nation tried that on us, there would be hell to pay, yet we (US gov’t) continually wreck havoc all over the world with our war mongering ways. I can understand Repubs backing a war criminal, but why aren’t Democrats or the media shouting from the rooftops? Inciting war for no possible reason is grounds for impeachment! The House has more than enough evidence to indict this fascist war pig. I bet if John McCain were alive, he’d rally both sides to do the right thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with this letter whole heartedly and there are some republicans in congress who have signed a resolution to condemn trumps unconstitutional move to obtain funds to build the wall and to them I give my applause and encouragement. To the rest of them I say “grow some balls and do what is right for the people you claim to represent”. We have had enough of a congress of both parties who continually ignore the people once they are elected.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Yes, I was pleased by the letter, although as some have noted, it isn’t likely to be heeded by the congressional republicans, the ones who need to hear it. Yes, the House will vote on Tuesday to end Trump’s ‘state of emergency’, which will force the Senate to vote on it within 18 days. Of course, they are not likely to pass it, and even if they did, it wouldn’t likely be with a veto-proof majority, so Trump could and would veto it. Yes, those who are supposed to be our voice are letting us down.

      Liked by 2 people

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