Politics

SoCal Rep. Adam Schiff says Russian intervention is clear

File: U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) talks on his phone while he is riding the House subway Jan. 28, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
File: U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) talks on his phone while he is riding the House subway Jan. 28, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
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Rep. Adam Schiff, who also serves as the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released a statement on Friday on Russian interference in the presidential election.

“The report makes it clear that the Russian intervention was directed by Putin himself," the statement reads, "and was designed not only to sow discord in the United States, but was also motivated by the desire to help Donald Trump’s election chances by discrediting Secretary Hillary Clinton."

Two weeks from Friday, President-elect Trump will be sworn into office. Ahead of the release of that report, Schiff took time away from inauguration preparations to speak with KPCC, sharing his outlook on Trump's upcoming administration, the inauguration — and his relationship with the intelligence community.

Trump has been critical of the intelligence community's claims that Russia interfered with the election, most recently denouncing the information presented to him by senior officials. 

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/816999062562107392

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/817004210529116160

"[President-elect Trump] is going to rely on them whether he likes it or not," Schiff said. "At some point if we have a crisis he’s going to come before the American people and he’s going to want the American people to rely on the information that he’s getting. And if he’s doing so much to belittle them now, he’s undermining his own ability to persuade the country whatever action he thinks is warranted is supported by good insight and intelligence."

Schiff said that in the weeks following Trump’s general election win, hundreds of concerned voters called his office — some losing sleep, others having trouble eating. But the congressman, whose district includes Burbank and Hollywood, also balanced dozens of incoming demands for inauguration tickets.

“I’ve never heard anything quite like it to be honest,” Schiff said. “I’ve never seen an election have this visceral an impact on people as this one.”

Interview highlights

On issues he plans to pay attention to during Trump's time in office

There is a creeping authoritarianism that is emanating from the Kremlin that is a real danger to liberal democracy. I have great confidence in the intelligence that Russia was behind the hacking and the dumping of information [during the election]. There may be disagreements about the mixture of motivations that the Russians had. But the fundamental fact of Russian involvement and what the Russians did — I don’t think that’s subject to any serious question.

On how his office has been preparing for the inauguration

We’ve heard a lot of outreach from constituents who want to come to the inauguration. So we’ve been coordinating with them, trying to help them with logistics, trying to find them a place to stand or sit as the case may be. Just getting ready for the day. It’s [always] a bit of pandemonium and this inauguration will be no different.

On what he tells concerned constituents

I share the worries about it. And I tell them the best thing to do is get involved. Because then you feel like you have some control over your own destiny as well as the country’s destiny.

Find the issues you care about the most, where you want to devote your time or resources to and get involved in those issues. If you’re concerned about disenfranchisement of voters and if you have legal skills to offer, get involved in some of the legal efforts to ensure people’s voting right aren’t undermined. If it’s the environment and climate change, then get involved in an environmental organization or find like-minded people that are concerned about the issue. These are all ways to empower yourself and make a difference.

KPCC will broadcast the inauguration live on Friday, Jan. 20.