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Rep. Schiff, A Member Of Jan. 6 Investigation Committee, On Hearing From Officers

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California is one of the select committee members and chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and he joins us now.

Welcome back to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

ADAM SCHIFF: Thank you. It's great to be with you.

SHAPIRO: There were many emotional moments in the hearing today, but you've called for a focus on the facts. So within today's testimony, what new facts did you learn about what happened on January 6?

SCHIFF: Well, I got a firsthand sense, as I think the country did, in listening to the testimony of these officers. And seeing some of the footage that we had never seen before, it gave me a much more vivid sense of the horrors of that day from the perspective of people who were fighting on the frontlines. And given that there are others, including some that I served with, who are trying to now portray the events of January 6 as a tourist occasion, as if the crowd were there to give hugs and kisses to police officers, as the president suggested, that testimony was a dramatic rebuke.

SHAPIRO: And so as an investigator, what new questions does that raise for you?

SCHIFF: Well, I was particularly struck, for example, by Officer Dunn's...

SHAPIRO: That's Officer Harry Dunn.

SCHIFF: Yes.

SHAPIRO: Yeah.

SCHIFF: Testimony about a text message he received that morning, warning of an attack on the Capitol. And I'd like to know where that warning came from and why we didn't have better intelligence about what was going to happen that day. I'd like to know more about the role that these white nationalist groups played. And I wonder why we didn't get reinforcements earlier. But most important - and I think this was also raised by Officer Dunn - these people attacked the Capitol believing that they were doing some patriotic duty. How could people have been so grievously misled, and what do we do to protect the country from that happening again?

SHAPIRO: I'd like to play a bit more of the testimony here. This is from Officer Daniel Hodges, who made a direct appeal to your colleagues on the committee.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DANIEL HODGES: I need you guys to address if anyone in power had a role in this, if anyone in power coordinated or aided and abetted or tried to downplay, tried to prevent the investigation of this terrorist attack because we can't do it.

SHAPIRO: And so before we get into the details of how you might get those answers, can you just respond directly to Officer Hodges? Do you commit to doing whatever is in your power to answer the questions he raises of what role people in power played in this attack?

SCHIFF: I certainly do. And I know that's the uniform sentiment of the Democrats and Republicans on this committee.

SHAPIRO: And so does that commitment also mean that, if necessary, you will subpoena Donald Trump, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy? You told CNN that you hope you don't have to do that, but if necessary, will you work with the Justice Department to compel testimony?

SCHIFF: Absolutely. We'll do whatever is necessary to make sure we get the answers. And no one is off the table, as our chairman has said, whether that's the former president or members of Congress. If they have relevant information to this investigation, then we will hear from them.

SHAPIRO: Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, as you know, blames Speaker Nancy Pelosi for rejecting some of the Republicans he wanted to serve on the select committee. He accuses her of making this a partisan exercise. There are still Republicans on the committee, of course, but do you think the mission of the committee is undermined by having such limited GOP involvement?

SCHIFF: I think it's been undermined by Kevin McCarthy. That's certainly true. We had proposed a commission that would be evenly divided among five experts appointed by Democrats and five appointed by Republicans. McCarthy rejected that. Not a single subpoena could have gone out from that commission in the absence of agreement from one person on the other side. McCarthy didn't want that to happen because Donald Trump didn't want it to happen. I'm not surprised to see him criticize the select committee now. But, you know, we could see today the merits of having a committee whose members are determined to get to the truth. Had Kevin McCarthy appointed disrupters, it would have been a very different kind of a hearing. And clearly, McCarthy's goal was to try to turn it into a spectacle.

SHAPIRO: And so tell us about next steps. Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson says the panel may hold another hearing during the August recess. What else can we expect?

SCHIFF: We will sit down now as a committee and outline the scope of our investigation and what order makes the most sense to proceed. We'll certainly be seeking documentary evidence right away. And so we should use this August recess, I hope, to outline the scope of the investigative plan, essentially.

SHAPIRO: That's Democratic California Congressman Adam Schiff, one of the select committee members and chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

Chairman Schiff, thank you as always.

SCHIFF: Thank you - great talking with you.

(SOUNDBITE OF KOEHNCKE AND HEIMERMANN'S "ALBATROS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.