- Rep. Adam Schiff criticized Republicans, including Kevin McCarthy, calling them “insurrectionists in suits and ties.”
- In his new book, Schiff describes an incident in which McCarthy lied to the press about a conversation they had.
- Schiff also said that it would be a “disaster” if McCarthy becomes House speaker after the 2022 midterms.
Rep. Adam Schiff in an interview on Tuesday criticized the dozens of Republican lawmakers, including GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, who amplified former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election and challenged the results in Congress on January 6.
“What angered me the most, I think, about that day were these insurrectionists in suits and ties who were still, even after the bloody insurrection, even after the shattered glass and the death of that day, were back on the House floor trying to overturn the election,” Schiff told CNN’s John Berman.
At the time, Trump and his GOP allies had baselessly pushed the false theory that the election results were rigged because of widespread voter fraud. State and federal officials repeatedly debunked the claims, saying the election was accurate and fair.
Still, 147 Republicans objected to the results on January 6, when Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol building. The chaos left five people dead, and four police officers who responded to the riot later took their own lives.
“Unlike those people climbing outside the building, they knew it was a lie,” Schiff told CNN of the GOP lawmakers. “The true believers were out there attacking the building. But inside the chamber, my Republican colleagues know it’s a big lie.”
Berman then asked Schiff if House Minority Leader McCarthy, who objected to the election results, is “an insurrectionist in a suit and tie.”
“Absolutely, absolutely,” Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, responded.
—John Berman (@JohnBerman) October 12, 2021
A spokesperson for McCarthy did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.
Schiff’s comments come as his new memoir, “Midnight in Washington,” which delves into the Trump era and discusses the current state of US democracy, was published on Tuesday.
In the book, Schiff recounts a private conversation he had with McCarthy shortly before the 2010 midterm elections. The two California lawmakers had left their home state and landed in Washington, DC, where they engaged in “small talk.” Both of them said they think their party will win the majority, according to Schiff.
Yet McCarthy went on to tell reporters that Schiff said Republicans would win.
Schiff then confronted McCarthy on the House floor, telling him: “Kevin, if we were having a private conversation on the plane, I would have thought it was a private conversation. But if it wasn’t, you know I said the exact opposite of what you told the press.”
“I know, Adam,” McCarthy replied, “but you know how it goes.”
Schiff brought up that scene from his book to CNN on Tuesday, saying it represents the “relentless attack on the truth” and “alternate facts” that later became a hallmark of Trump’s presidency.
The California Democrat also said that it would be a “disaster” if Republicans win in 2022 and McCarthy becomes House speaker.
“He will do anything that Donald Trump tells him,” Schiff said of McCarthy. “We cannot have someone with absolutely no reverence for the truth, no willingness to uphold his oath in that position in line to the presidency.”
“Trump will control whatever he does,” Schiff added.