Adam Schiff accuses Republicans of setting stage for Trump dictatorship at tense hearing

California Democrat Adam Schiff has accused the Republicans of setting the stage for former President Donald Trump to make the US into a dictatorship.

Mr Schiff, who’s running for Senate, made his comments at a hearing of the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, which featured testimony from Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“Today at a momentous time in our history, the country is about to go through a great trial. By this, I do not mean any of the several trials of the former president, but rather a trial of the proposition that we are a nation of laws committed to the rule of law and that no one is above the law,” Mr Schiff said. “It is a proposition well known around the world because it is the one essential ingredient in all democracies. We have all professed our belief in this principle, but it has never been truly tested. Not like it is today.”

The representative went on to say that the judiciary panel is “engaged in a portion of that trial”.

He went on to accuse Chairman Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, of intending to “abuse the power of this committee by trying to interfere in the prosecutions of Donald Trump by trying to use the committee's power of subpoena to compel criminal discovery”.

Mr Schiff said that this would “in effect,” make the House panel a “criminal defence firm for the former president”.

“In doing so, the chairman of this committee would establish a very different proposition. Through Mr Jordan's actions, he would establish the principle that the rule of law should apply to almost everyone, just not the leader of his party,” he added. “According to this alternate proposition, if you were the president of the United States, and you lose your reelection, you can violate the law and constitution to try to stay in power. And if you are successful, well then maybe you get to be president for life. And if you fail, there was no repercussion.”

“This proposition is also well known to the world and it is called dictatorship,” Mr Schiff said. “Mr Jordan hopes to camouflage his assault on the rule of law by falsely claiming that Donald Trump is the victim of unequal justice and Hunter Biden its beneficiary.”

“It is a claim as transparently political, as it is devoid of any factual basis,” the Golden State Democrat argued. “And it is cynical based on the belief that the American people cannot discern fact from fiction. But I am betting on America.”

“History has shown that those who bet against her are rarely successful and more often, they end up covered with shame,” he said.