Adam Schiff tells what’s next after the Jan 6 committee report

The congressman outlined several reforms the committe wants Congress to take in order to prevent another insurrection attempt

Graig Graziosi
Wednesday 28 December 2022 19:28 GMT
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Congressman Adam Schiff has laid out what the House Select Committee hopes to see happen now that it has filed its final report on the Capitol riot.

The committee wrapped up its final hearing, issued a report earlier this month and made a criminal referral to the Justice Department for former President Donald Trump.

Writing in the Orlando Sentinel, Mr Schiff explains that in addition to the criminal referral, the committee has also suggested steps for Congress to take to prevent future attempts at disrupting the peaceful transfer of power in the US.

"One of these key reforms is included in the year-end omnibus spending bill, and will reform the 19th century Electoral Count Act, the law that governs the congressional process used to certify the winner of a presidential election," he writes.

Mr Schiff said it was "this archaic law" that Mr Trump reportedly tried to "exploit" via Vice President Mike Pence to select alternate state electors who would vote in favour of Mr Trump. Had Mr Pence done so, it would have invalidated millions of Americans’ legally cast votes.

According to Mr Schiff, the reform would reaffirm that the vice president does not have the power to take those actions and prevent states from changing the rules for awarding their electors after an election.

The committee also called for a law clarifying the House’s ability to "enforce its own subpoenas, and to seek expedited enforcement in the courts."

"Even now, committee subpoenas are being litigated in the courts, their enforcement stalled by the litigious practices of Trump and his enablers. When the current session of Congress ends on Jan. 3, 2023, those subpoenas will lose their force, and would do so even if the new majority were not bent on thwarting our work," Mr Schiff writes. "The subjects of congressional investigation should never again be able to evade oversight by exploiting the glacial speed of the courts."

He also stressed the need for US institutions to reckon with the threat posed to democracy by white nationalist groups. The committee recommended reforms that would "achieve a whole-of-government approach to combating domestic violent extremists and violent anti-government militias."

Mr Schiff said the reforms would also narrow the circumstances under which a president can invoke the Insurrection Act, which Mr Trump’s supporters called on him to enact in order to stall the joint session of Congress certifying the election.

"The oversight the Jan. 6 committee did was difficult, and the pursuit of justice may be even more so," he writes, "but the steps we take to prevent another despot from subverting our democracy in the future may be the most challenging and consequential of all."

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