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tv   After Words Adam Schiff Midnight in Washington - How We Almost Lost Our...  CSPAN  October 24, 2021 1:01pm-2:01pm EDT

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words democratic california congressman adam schiff reflects on the trump presidency and his role in the former president's first impeachment trial. ann shares his views on threats against american democracy. he is interviewed by ap chief congressional correspondent. after words a weekly interview program with relevant guest host interviews and top nonfiction authors about their latest work. >> let's go ahead and open you've written this big book i thought perhaps you could read us a little bit from the opening pages there is the first chapter and midnight in washington you talk about your experiences at the capitol on january 6. the chapters called the insurrection. i thought there's a party could start us off with its
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right after folks who were loyal to the former president, donald trump came on january 6 to storm the capitol basically it wasn't insurrection and they were trying to overturn the results of the election that were being tabulated for joe biden for winning the election. of course the capitol wasn't locked on that day. you give a fairly good account of what happens. this is a little bit of the aftermath. could you go ahead and take us away? >> certainly. these following day felt a mixture of sadness with the country gone through, embarrassment how we appeared in the eyes of the world. anger at the end of responsible action to spread lies for months and brought this on themselves and the nation in fury towards a president who instigated the rebellion. more than anything else are shaken by what this meant by the future. edit recognition of how long and difficult lay the road ahead. donald trump bore responsibility for the mayhem
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that took place at the capitol that afternoon. every day he would remain in office he represented a clear and present danger of our democracy. what took place inside our chamber was a challenge to the electors was every bit as much an attack on our democracy. the assault on her constitutional order was inspired by people wearing suits and ties. and cloaked in the genteel language of congressional debate. their purpose was no less ominous. we can fortified the defenses of the capitol we can reinforce the doors and put up fences. but we cannot guard our democracy against those who walk the halls of congress. and take an oath to powder constitution but refused to do so. >> that's a pretty big opening there at the start of the book. i felt like this goes straight to the subtitle of the book midnight in washington with congressman adam schiff the subtitles how we almost lost our democracy and still could. a big book, big title.
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what are you trying to convey to americans right now at this point in our history? >> i tried to convey the fragility of our democracy. something we always took for granted but something in the last four years has been dismantled piece-by-piece by piece. so many of the things we thought could never happen in this country have already happened. we cannot take this legacy for granted in any way. on that day, that insurrection day, i was one of four house members the speaker asked to marshal the arguments against overturning the election. so i was very much focused on what i was sitting on the house floor. what the republicans were saying and how to rebut it. the first thing i noticed was the speaker suddenly was not in her chair. which was strange because i'd been part of the planning for the session i knew she was going to preside for the whole session. and then i looked up and saw two police officers come running on the floor and grab
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70, our number two and literally walked him off the floor but i remember thinking i'd never seen him move that fast. it was clear something was up. he started to ask my colleagues who are on their phones was asking what was going on outside the building. soon police came onto the floor and said there were rioters in the building where we still did not have a sense of how many or how much of a danger they posed. but the warnings of the police during the minutes that followed became increasingly dire we need to get our gas masks and we need to prepare to get down on the ground. and ultimately they said we need to get you out. we could hear the rioters then. we could see them through the glass and banging on the doors, trying to get in. there is a real logjam try get off the house floor, writers try to kick the doors in. remember thinking to myself where did all these people come from? only 40 were allowed on the
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floor due to the pandemic. other parts of the capitol in the speaker's lobby and elsewhere suddenly we were crowded pretty hung back for a while to let folks go through. i remember a couple of republicans coming up to me and saying you can't let them see you. i know these people, i can talk to these people. you are in a whole different category. my first impression was to be oddly touched by their concert of my safety. but that gave way to the feeling that i just read about which was if these members had not been pushing this lie about the election i would not be a need to be worried about my security none of us would have that day. in that sense a lot of the anger i feel about that day it was directed at my colleagues. unlike the people climbing on the building who believe the big lie, the people i work with inside the building knew
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it was a big lie. i am willing to say so. even as recently as the last few days we had steve scalise mother republican leaders being asked point blank on fox no less, whether the election was stolen part he could not bring himself to deny it. this is one of things i discuss in the book which is how agenda robert carroll this torrent once that does not corrupt as much as it reveals. does not always reveal is for our best but reveals a lot about who we are. the last five years have revealed a lot about the people i serve with the people i had respected and admired because they believed what they were saying. turns out did not believe it at all. i wanted to write about how that change takes place. but from a very personal perspective. people in the country probably got to know you most during the impeachment trial you
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prosecuted the first impeachment of then former president trump. there is the second impeachment, having gone through that experience now you are on the committee investigating the insurrection at the capitol, what have you learned and let me ask you, what are you trying to define? we all saw what happened january 6. if you did not see it firsthand you sought over and over in the footage that has been out there. the associated press and other publications have done deep dives on what happens how things unfolded, what more than establishing a record, what are you trying to find? >> you mention the impeachment trial.
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one of the things i wanted to convey was that realization during the trial for may. the senate chambers is a very small place. you can see every senator, you can see their expressions you can see when they're paying attention, when they're nodding off, when they are moved or not moved. i remembered a certain point in the trial pointing out senators knew exactly who we were dealing with in donald trump. if any of them thought he would not turn on them in a heartbeat they were fooling themselves that he cared nothing about the truth could not tell right from wrong. as i looked around that chamber to see if there is any disagreement among the republicans whether any were shaking their heads, ono donald trump is not like that, there was none of that. they knew exactly who they were dealing with. they knew exactly what he had done with holding hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to an ally or to help cheat in the election.
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they were not willing to do anything about it. to me, what i learned from that is there is no flaw in the impeachment clause. like the rest of the constitution extremely well. the problem is if we don't have people who will give it meaning, who will apply it right and wrong who will discern the truth and be willing to use the truth and will in essence live up to their oath if people are not willing to live up to their oath and none of it works. one of the things that gave me for optimism is people like mitt romney who were willing to risk the wrath of their party to speak the truth. and him i found vindication of the founders believe people possess virtue to be self-governing. i see that same virtue of the generally six committee. liz cheney adam kinsinger are
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really courageous. they are willing to speak the truth to the most powerful person and their party. they are determined the republican party be again a party of ideology. those ideas and ideology are very conservative but different than mine. but i respect the fact that it is an ideology by they do have ideas, they are not willing to join a cult around a certain former president. and, if you watch that first hearing with those for capitol police officers, beyond the fact the office for were powerful in their testimony, the other thing striking to me about that hearing was there was no fighting among the members. no one was trying to score political points against one another. we were all interested in the truth coming out that was the sole purpose of us being there. and to be able to work on in a bipartisan way again gives me a lot of hope for the future. >> to what and what would you accomplish on this committee?
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>> a couple of things. one, we want to show how this came about. not just the mechanics of that day in terms of a participation for white nationalist groups like the proud boys and the three presenters and whatnot, but rather how this big falsehood about our elections propelled thousands of people to attack their own government, how disrupt content disruptive the lives of the last four years have been. and what we need to do about it. we want to write the definitive report of all that went into that day. in much the same way the 911 commission wrote the definitive report of what happened on 911. both as a historical record, as a way of exposing to the american people what went into that tragedy.
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but also as a way of forming recommendations how do we move forward as a country how do we protect a democracy, there is a global's struggle going on between high people around the world is to look to us as a beacon, are now climbing on the outside of our capitol, beating police officers. they see one party willing to default on america's credit. they look around for other models. one of those is eight totalitarian one of china, we are competing with that. and said this, as the president says this is fight for the heart and soul it's bigger than a fight for the heart and soul for the people around the world. >> host: do you think you're going to unearth new findings in this committee? >> without a doubt. i think there are several different buckets we are looking at in terms of the investigation. we are look at what was the organization that went that
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day? how is it finance? what did they expect in terms of propensity for violence? why was the military so slow to respond? some of those questions have already been examined and parked by other committees. the biggest black box though is what was the president's role? what was the role of the people in the white house? what did the president know about who is coming to this rally? and what did he do when he found out? why did it go on so long? also there are a lot of important unanswered questions. >> the impeachment trial should some of the what you ran up against of executive trip privilege and trying to subpoena testimony pretty seemed to be running up against that again on that generate six committee is a little bit in the weeds. can you say, do you expect the
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committee will hold those who failed to appear in contempt? books we certainly expect to hold them in contempt if they refuse to appear. one of the things i do in the book is explain how we got where we are in so many different ways. a big part of the reason steve bannon believes he can thumb his nose at the committee and ignore process or that seems to be where he is headed, we brought him in as a witness during the russian investigation but at that time republicans were in charge of investigation. the book had come out which quoted bannon is saying a whole lot of things about trump and his family that angered the former president. and so bannon was on the outs of the white house. he also had lost his platform he was kind of a man without a country. and for that reason, even the republicans on our committee were willing to assert themselves for the first time
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when we had a witness like many others who'd come before the committee before they're willing to assert themselves and save got to respond to your questions. when he didn't they gave him the subpoena on the spot. he comes back now on subpoena this is happening three floors below the capitol per they want to bring people into the same bunker and show them what really happened in there. he showed up this time and he brought with him a list of 25 questions written out in advance. he says these are the only questions i'm going to answer. i prepared them for you here are the answers no, no, no, no, 25 nose. when i asked him where did this list come from? it came from the white house but which is the subject of our investigation. it rode out for a key witness the only questions he would be allowed to answer. the republicans again
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expressed how dare you, how could you? the next step is holding a criminal content but they refused. and they refused because they knew if they did, with this one witness this man without a country would expose the hypocrisy of why with all these other witnesses, the dominant juniors, the jury enter injured christians when they refuse to ask questions. but he has given people like steve bannon, the last four years have given people like steve bannon the impression of above the law. but they are going to find out otherwise. because during the trump administration we had bill barr is the attorney general. he was not going to for subpoenas because he viewed his roles being criminal defense counsel to donald trump. now we have american garland, we have an independent justice department we have an attorney general who believes in the rule of law.
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this is why i have confidence we will get the answers. >> host: you give confidence a d.o.j. will back you up and prosecute those? >> that is my expectation. and i think there is good reason for having an expectation about that because the white house and not asserting executive privilege with records belonging to the former administration they'd been willing to allow top justice department officials to talk to us and other committees without asserting privilege. that is a pretty good indication they realize these are unique circumstances. the seat of our government was attacked violently per they are not going to stand in the way of the american people getting answers. >> the former president still occupies such a big space and a lot of conversation and washington. the only president to be twice mph the only president who was
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tried for his impeachment after he was out of office. much like the response to january 6, there was a sense there was a failure of the imagination. that law enforcement, people preparing to protect the capitol, perhaps did not really envision what could happen. a similar thing could be said about the rise of trump. q your self said you were surprised to see he won the party nomination and went on. what you think and now when you consider he could run again and again in occupant in the white house. where did that leave you? >> you are absolutely right. i used to tell a joke during the 2016 republican primary about why donald trump was never going to win the nomination. i said there are two reasons
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for that. the first is the republicans were not that crazy braid the second was the democrats were not that lucky. well, turns out they were that crazy were not that lucky. but i never would have imagined that someone with his record of dishonesty and philandering and everything else would be the nominee of the republican party let alone become the president of the united states. but he did. i think part of why he was successful is that he recognize there were millions of americans who were struggling, who had worked their whole lives and had nothing to say at the end of their career the come to work until they drop. their kids had debts from college in came out of college with no jobs but here's some promising to break everything for their met candidate in the
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primary, bernie sanders promising revolution. but when he was no longer an option, they went with a guy promising to break everything. and most democrats didn't but some did. and the republicans obviously consolidated biting. he didn't break everything but of course he did not do anything with the people he referred to as the forgotten. for those of us who covered parts of the campaign are set with people at their's kitchen tables and heard their stories, it was clear there was a big interest in his candidacy. his democrats learned, have you learned has your party learned how best to win back
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people who seem to have moved in his direction and are firmly in a camp that you and others find so dangerous to democracy? >> we have that was the key to joe biden's success. he was able to win back a number of people who voted for trump. and make the case of what a disaster he had been for the country. >> host: do think that could happen again could trump win again? >> guest: i think he certainly running again. i think the idea for donald trump somebody else could be in the lime light other than him, nikki haley or mike pence could be the nominee and get all the attention would be absently intolerable to him. i think pathologically he's not capable of not running. could he get elected again? certainly could get elected again. and we underestimated him once to me times already myself included.
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and given what a clear and present danger he poses to our democracy and way of life, we are going to need to beat him at the polls. and we will. we will. i think as time continues, more and more americans realize how precarious our country is right now. how precarious our democracy is. and come to appreciate just what an awful. we went through with this presidency. as we put more distance between that time and the present, i think people will increasingly recognize they don't want to go back to that. they want to go back to the person in the united states gets up every morning to new and inventive ways to divide it and play the poison politic. was for continued popularly with his base, i think like a lot of other autocrats and would-be autocrats around the
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world, trump gives the simple answer for people's predicament. it's because people who do not look like you, but he also adds another bit of poison which is those other people look down on you. and you know, everybody is a crook. but i am your crook. it obviously does not articulated that way, there is no other way to explain how he feels he could pardon steve bannon after steve bannon ripped off his own supporters. it really is an astonishing thing when you step back from it and imagine a guy runs for president on a platform of building a wall mexico is going to pay for. of course mexico does not pay for. it does not get built. his cronies then start a fund to build a wall. they steal from the fund and the president pardons them stealing for his own people now. how does that happen? you've got to be a really good
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grifter to get away with abbott he is a really good grifter. when he lay in bed at the night you think of the worst in your mind that could happen if the former president were to win reelection again. the country survived it had some guardrails that exist today. >> i don't think the guardrails will hold another four years. they convert to not holding this time. we were fortunate, number one we won by a large margin that he did paper fortune of the president is poorly represented as these would bite truly giuliani's world absurd displays with the hair dye running down their face, and their ridiculous lawsuits. and we were fortunate that people have the courage to defend our democracy when donald trump called him on the phone and asked them to find
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both that don't exist. which, by the way anybody else would've been indicted by now. we may not be so lucky next time. i think with the republicans are doing around legislatures around the country is running with this big lie to position themselves to succeed where they failed the last insurrection by overturning an election through because i legal means. if that should happen, not only would we have someone cheat their way into office, but the turmoil in the country would be unprecedented. that is my greatest fear for the future. but i do want to mention and i devote a lot of time in the book to this, there are some really hold heroic figures that came out of this dark
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chapter. they are the ones we have to look to for inspiration about how we get through this. they are the reason i feel optimistic about my future. they are people like bill taylor who served this country in vietnam, he graduated in the top of his class in west point. he chose to go to vietnam he chose to a big grade that would seek combat. he did was highly decorated. he continued to serve throughout his life since then. and he was not going to be dishonest no matter who the president of the united states was. he was going to do his duty when he was subpoenaed and come in and tell the truth he did. and so many others did. we went a lot in the book about some of those figures from the impeachment trial. it is a moment in the trial these civil servants were making headlines for themselves because of their testimony.
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it is an interesting lesson to think about, when you talk to young people or other people i'm sure you're talking to candidates who might run, how much do you draw on those figures in making your case about what civil servants can look like in this country? the people you write about lieutenant colonel vindman, some of the of is you write about. you had quite a relationship with him afterward, right? you personally called him. >> i was so moved by his testimony, there was a quality to his testimony in his demeanor that was really quite innocent. hopeful and almost prayerful in the way he talked to our committee about how, and this country right matters.
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he felt confident to tell his father not to worry about him. >> that's right he was an immigrant to the country. speech of his parents and grandparents came for a part of the world not far from where my great-grandparents came from. his experience was very relatable. i called him after words and thanked him for the service he did and he was essentially hounded out of the military by the president. his twin brother was hounded out of his position as well. to thank you for the incredible service and to tell him how much my father reminded him of his father and a pass on my father's regards to his father. one of the things asked about candidates the class of 2018
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for example critics the nickname we probably cannot say on television. [laughter] i remember reading. >> that's probably finest hyatt we have had ever. the terrible loss of the country the ugliness in the same way after trump people thought i have to serve again. a lot of them veterans survey running for congress to defend our democracy. >> since were talking policy let's jump a little bit. it seems like there's a lot of
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thought they might lose the house the next election that such a slim hold on the chamber right now. if you seat majority. that would queue up the potential for kevin mccarthy, now the republican leader of the house to become the speaker. he write a story about kevin mccarthy in the book. in fact, basically call him a liar in the book. what kind of speaker do you think he would be? >> i think it would be an absolute disaster. >> why is that? works for many reasons, lack of character. his relationship with the former president. if kevin mccarthy were ever to become speaker essentially donald trump will be speaker. he would not disagree with him ever. and you have an outside party effectively running the house
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of representatives. and that's an unethical one to boot. the story as you know i told in the book i told because it's so uncharacteristic. mccarthy and i are sitting on a plane flying back to washington, this was in 2010. the midterms are about six months away. we were having an idle conversation who's going to win in the midterms he said the republicans would win and the movie started and i was relieved to escape to the movie. [laughter] we planted i thought nothing of the conversation. we went our separate ways. that night but not steamy debriefing with the press he said it set next to adam schiff and admitted republicans are going to win the midterms. i didn't learn about this until morning when the newspaper came out. i was aghast. i was astounded and sought him out of the house floor and said kevin, first will having a private conversation is going to be a private conversation. and if it wasn't you know i said the exact opposite of
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what you told the press. he looks at me and said yeah i know adam, you know how it goes. i was like kevin, no i don't know how it goes. you just make stuff up and that's how you operate because that's not how i operate. that is how he operates. you cannot have someone with with such little regard for the truth serving as speaker of the house. and indeed this is one of the most destructive things of the last several years. the lack of devotion to the truth but over the last four years has been this relentless result by trump and his acolytes on the truth itself. probably best expressed by giuliani who said the truth is not the truth in conway said there entitled to their own alternate facts. if we cannot agree on very basic facts. if we don't have the shared experience it doesn't work.
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and so, i think that is more the most corrosive things which is a relentless attack on truth. i'm sure you feel it. i'm sure you feel it keenly as a journalist because the press has been among the biggest targets for the former president and his accolades. it's an autocratic playbook which says you need to discredit objective media. you need to persuade people the only truth is what you tell them. and so we cannot have another president like that. we certainly cannot have a speaker of the house like that. >> what is your prescription? there is a divide in this country and it only deepens over the years. we know it well they watch their own favorite channels, they read their own favorite publications. there is a polarization
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ideologically if you're trying to build a common truth in narrative how do you convince a country that does not believe. sure, maybe not the same policy goals. but even for example on the 16 insurrection on january 6, a good number of the country thanks maybe it didn't quite happen that way. what is your prescription? how do you reach people who perhaps won't see it the way you see it or the way it has happened? >> guest: it's very difficult. i think the only answer is relentlessly confronting people with the truth. there is just no alternative.
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one environment in which my colleagues from chicago summed up better than anyone, he said it used to be people would say i will believe it when i see it. now, it is more i will see it when i believe it. you can show people video of the capitol being attacked. but if they are not ready to believe it they won't see it. they will not see what is right in front of them. a part of it is we get our information from such different places. it's very hard to break through those barriers. sometimes the only way to do it is one on one. tell a story in the book but being in the airport in charlotte i have some of my most meaningful conversations in airports. this guy comes up to me one waiting for mike uber and in conspiracy tony says there's nothing to this collision stuff is there? you can tell me there's nothing to this collusion stuff? i said let me ask you a
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question. what if i told you and i flipped the facts for him. what if i told you that the russians had approached not the trump campaign but the clinton campaign. they offered dirt on donald trump and they said it was part of the russian effort to help friends and campaign. set up for objecting at the clinton campaign said we would love that. instead of a secret meeting in brooklyn headquarters attended by hillary's daughter chelsea in her manager in campaign chair, and he met secretly with the russians to get the dirt for their only disappointed the dirt wasn't better than they lied about it. would you call that collusion? he says i think i see where you're going here. what if i told you that hillary clinton's national security advisor, susan rice was secretly meeting with the
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russian are talking with the russian ambassador trying to undermine the sanctions over russia for interfering in the election. and then lied about it. would you call that collusion? he looks at me and says you know, i probably would. i was like waurika. now if i could just talk to 100 million more people. but sometimes that's what it takes. it takes conversations that are very difficult right now between a neighbor to neighbor, sometimes within our own families. there are things we are looking at that might help. i think the way social media has divided us and amplified for fear, anger, clothing and division should mean we have to change that immunity that they have. but you know, among the most difficult things is the country with the first
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amendment. there's a wide berth of lies. that is a really difficult problem when those lies travel. >> synthesis book tv we probably should talk a little bit about writing and the craft of writing this book. why don't you tell us the title of midnight in washington i am envisioning your writing it at midnight. but tell me what are your writing practices? how did you put this book together? >> that is very interesting. that is not where the title came from but that's very true. i was writing a lot of this at midnight over the past several years i would have colleagues on the house floor come up to me and others and say i hope you are writing this down. you better be writing this down. you are living through a historic time in the eye of the hurricane. it always say to them, when do i possibly have time to write any of this down? for years i did not have time. then suddenly the pandemic hits.
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like the rest of america i found myself confined to quarters. and i thought you know, if i'm ever going to write it down i should write it down now while it is fresh. and i wanted to write it down in an engaging way but i also wanted to write it down to preserve a historic period. there've only been four impeachments in history. i wanted to let people what it's like stepping into that senate chamber. feeling the heart beating in your chest and realizing people are watching all over the world. but it was a labor of love. sometimes traumatic. i had to live through all the stuff again. and that was not always easy. the editor at random house that was fabulous. i have been other writing before but nothing of this length.
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but i have to tell you, the most fun was nearing the audiobook. i got to do something i've always wanted to do which my family doesn't let me do. which is of my kids were very young they would let me read to them. i always try to reset my wife eve. now i got to read this whole book for anybody who wanted to listen to it. that was real fun. >> host: that's great 500 pages must've taken some hours of reading. can you tell me, you're such a student of history, do you have any historical writings in mind? any other books that you look to when you're thinking of writing your own? >> i think one thing that made it a bit easier for me has a love to read history and
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biography. i was very familiar with the genre. and some i look to in particular as to the pillars in the field like ron, and others. and so i have these great models to follow. there are things we never think about just fabulous he will be speaking in the present who feel free to jump forward until you when you are talking to people or even writing things that are shorter in length. but all the sudden when you're writing a book like this you need to think okay, the
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audience knows what happened here. and so, how much do you acknowledge of what is to come? when i was writing about the first trial, and trump persuaded the senators if they did not convict him, if they did not remove him he was going to try to cheat again. i remember saying what are the odds he will try to cheat again not 5%, at 10%, not 50% but one 100%. one 100%. now, the reader knows what happens. and it is worse than i imagined during that trial. i could have never imagined the bloodied insurrection. and ironically, when the four of us the speaker in charge, was planning for the joint session mapped out every contingency. but what we didn't map out is what happens if there is a violent attack on the capitol? but it was really, i know you
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hear this but it really is a journey when you write something like this. you live it again. you live it knowing how it turns out. >> host: how much time are you devoting? how many pages a day? how many hours a day? did you do it all in one fell swoop? was it hits and start? all the writers out there are wondering how you pulled together a big book. >> i am a night owl. i found out in law school that if i could set the world clock to my schedule, i would be up until 3:00 a.m. in the morning and sleep until 11:00 a.m. i did not have a day job that permitted me too do that so sleep deprived for much of this. but i have a day job so nighttime was the only time i could write. but i also like the nighttime. in the epilogue i talk about
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the cicadas. and how, as i'm writing at midnight the cicadas are asleep for the night. and they will be up in the morning with those cries. i thought to myself, what does the world going to look like and 17 years when they wake up again? that's the kind of thought that only comes to me anyway, at midnight. >> the house is quiet, the city is quiet. >> everyone is asleep. what you think is dangerous at one in the morning you need to read again in the morning. very good. i want to ask you about moving
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forward you're more in line with congress you are proposing a package of bills that talks about rebuilding or re- strengthening democracy. i don't know that those have a whole lot of a chance in a very narrowly congress right now. can you talk a little bit about those and why you think they are needed at this point and what prospects they have for making it through? >> guest: probably about a year end a half ago, i approached the speaker about the need for our own post- watergate reforms. after watergate the congress responded with a whole series of guardrails to protect against abuse of executive power.
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she too the fact cannot feasibly there's no clear enforcement mechanism and we need to create one. it's a very long list of ways of attacking abuse of the part of power other members working on other pieces and we pulled them all together in a package called protecting our democracy act. we introduced last session republicans were afraid of their shadow, they were not
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going to do anything even perceived as a criticism of the former president. now he is out of office, now we have a democratic president. i expect they are viewing this package a little differently. they may be thinking to themselves we really want a democratic president to say i'm going to stonewall subpoenas we really want want the president to the republicans really think they may view it differently now for a lot of the provisions have sponsors in the past, my
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expectation will take it up in the fall. take it with the peace mill in the senate, frankly however we can get it done we should get it done. i would not neglect bipartisan support in a normal world or normal america these things are the common sense. who beat united a busy executive that didn't like it. and in fact we are negotiable with the biting house to our concerns they have. i do view it as a key part of our approach democracy agenda along with hr-1 and the john lewis voting rights legislation. >> also second congress unable to move right now.
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but obviously endorsing pieces of legislation that are very high-profile right now as well. as we start to close, people know you as i said from the outset perhaps most from the impeachment trial. of course former president had all sorts of nicknames and hurl them at you. if something is said in your book about this nicknames i thought was interesting, sort of gave a reciting of all the names the president called you. but then you said something at the end, perhaps you can remember it better than me. it wasn't the names that sort of drove you crazy so much was the fact it was the president saying them. can you expand on that? i think there's something the former president has captivated so many voters because he tells it like it is. i have heard that a million times on the campaign trail.
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people love the former president because he was not a politician, polished. yet, we have come to a point in this country we have some agreed-upon rules of discourse. there is reasons we don't say things that might have been okay to say some years ago and are no longer considered okay to say. can you talk a little bit about your experience being someone who was on the receiving end of those comments from the president much or take away from that was? >> sure. one of the stories i relate in the book is the first time the president attacked me on twitter. she spends too much time pushing the russia hoax or something along those lines. you realize okay this is going up to tens of millions of people. this is coming from the president of the united states. and, my kids were fairly young
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at the time for young teenagers but i think my son had just turned 14 he was at summer camp. thankfully at summer camp they take your electronics away. but when my wife and i went to pick them up from camp, i was hoping he hadn't heard it yet so i could tell him. like a lot of young teenage boys are not that communicative about what they've been thinking. by then i be the subject of a lot of hate. i did not know how it was affecting him. and so we picked him up and i said eli, something happened with your campus on a big deal but i want you here for me. the president of the united states called your father crazy. i waited for a reaction he looks kind of pensive for a moment. he turned to me and said, can i call you sleazy? i said if you want me too call you sleazy junior and mess up the kids going to be all right.
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but, what i overwhelmingly felt then and in the years that followed, that was followed by whatever nicknames and whatnot, this this is the president of the united states. i had such a veneration for that office. and to hear these childish things coming from the president of the united states, was so demeaning of the office. the first time i went into the oval office while he was president, there he was sitting behind that desk that other presidents had sat behind. he looks so out of place. a member having the feeling here was a guy whom private lise pretended to be a essential businessman when he was a failure. now he's pretending to be the president of the united states. every time he would engage in that type of buffoonery, it struck me as he is diminishing that office.
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and maybe because i chair the intel committee have a lot of interaction with people around the world, i have been so conscious of how the rest of the world perceives america. and to realize they had such little respect for the president of the united states that he could be so easily manipulated by others like putin. trust was heartbreaking. during the presidency and came to visit washington the first line i think the headline and politico was leader of the free world meets donald trump. and i saw that, it was very clever in its narrative. but it was also heartbreaking because it was true with the president of the united states was no longer the leader of the free world. he was attacking the free world. and it was merkel who is now
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the beacon of hope. to see that torch passed away from the united states, it was heartbreaking. it was heartbreaking. on january 6, to realize what was happening to our capitol and how it looks to the rest of the world is a terrible tragedy for us. in many ways it's the worst tragedy around the world. there is nowhere else for them to turn. people who are in prison cells, journalists who are in prison cells and turkey, they look to us. there is nowhere else for them to turn. political prisoners have been present and around to us. they're not going to look to china, they're not going to look to russia. and increasingly they don't recognize what they see. it is a terrible tragedy. >> host: amnon that i think we will leave it there.
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he is there anything for our views you feel is important to add? >> yes i don't want to leave it there. i think what this most debilitating for people right now as they see what is going on and they are powerless to do anything about it and they are ready to give up. number one, we can't get up we cannot give in to despair of our circumstances. we are going to get through this. what we do right now will determine how quickly we get through this. everyone has a role to play in getting through it. we cannot be first through the breach, there are ways, every one of us in our public and private life can make a real difference to our democracy and pushback around the country these efforts to undermine our elections and undermine our democratic way of life. so, this is a call to arms. it is not a call to
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surrender. it is a call to arms. and notwithstanding its dark title, it holds the prospect of a lot of light. we are going to get through this. >> host: thank you congressman adam schiff and midnight in washington thank you. >> guest: thank you. >> after words is available as a podcast. to listen visit c -- span.org/podcast or search c-span after words on your podcast app. and watch this and all previous after words interviews @booktv.org. just click the after words button near the top of the page. ♪ ♪ weekends on cspan2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday american history tv documents america's story and on sunday, book tv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors.
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funding for cspan2 comes from these television companies and more. including comcast. >> are you thinking it's a community center? >> know it's way more than that. comcast is partnering with 1000 community centers to create wi-fi enabled list so students from low income families get tools they need to be ready for anything. >> comcast funk the television company support cspan2 as a public service. >> during a recent virtual program hosted by the harvard bookstore, atlantic staff writer clint smith looks at the legacy of slavery in america and how it has affected history. here's a portion of that discussion. >> watching the statue of robert e lee, jefferson davis come down to my hometown of new orleans and thinking about what does it mean that i grew up in a majority by city where there were enslaved people. just started thinking about how the city failed to reckon
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with its own relationship to the history of slavery. a history that is ingrained and embedded in the physical infrastructure of that city and a profound way. and then kind of opened it up started thinking about other places across the country and across the ocean and how they were telling that story. so much of this, i have been writing it for years. so much of this is animated by trying to write into the gaps and to fill the gaps i feel like i had experienced and i was carrying from a young age and trying to answer a lot of questions and fill voids in my own education but i had not had answers too. the book was almost a process of attempting to fill those gaps. >> watch the rest the program visit booktv.org search for clint smith of the title of his book how the word is passed is in the search box at the top of the page. >> here's a look at them the
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best-selling nonfiction books according to the boston globe. topping the list is apparel a report on the transition between the trump and biden administration by the "washington post" bob woodward and robert costa. followed by two memoirs, actor stanley chase my life through food and musician the storyteller. next cnn anderson cooper and historian catherine, mr. cooper's mother's family the vanderbilts. once one of the wealthiest families in the country. wrapping up or look at some of the boston globe's best-selling nonfiction books is selections from humorous diary. some of these authors have appeared on book tv and you can watch the programs any time at tv.org. : : :

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