Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calf. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat of the House intelligence committee, told the AP that while the U.S. is facing external threats like Russia's interference in the 2016 election, in some respects "the threat from within is more serious."

"We have a president who takes issue with the first amendment, and describes the free press as an enemy of the people, and people in very top levels of Republican leadership who are unwilling to challenge that. You have a president saying our justice system is a joke and a laughing stock...we are tearing down our government from within. That is a serious problem."

More highlights from Schiff:

  • "I think part of what the President is trying to do is disparage the Congressional investigations, disparage Bob Mueller, disparage all of you in the free press, so no matter what is produced, he can say it's a fake."
  • "We need the White House to get the message now that there will be a dramatic pushback should he try to fire Bob Mueller."
  • "GOP members will tell you privately their misgivings about the President and what a difficult position it puts them in, frankly I have no sympathy. I don't want to hear people's private misgivings, people need to talk publicly and show some courage."
  • On Republicans investigating the Clinton uranium deal: "The Speaker -- ultimately the buck stops with him...in this case what he is blessing is an effort, which I think was orchestrated by the White House and its external allies, to distract from the Russia probe...this is disturbing at many levels."
  • "I think we're all going to be held to account one day for what we did when our democracy is under threat."

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