“We’re now at an inflection point where the number of people living in democracies may be smaller next year than it is this year,” said U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, ranking member of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “Autocrats around the world are on the march…this is what is broadly at stake here.”
Schiff joined Loyola University Chicago law alumnus U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (JD ’89), a member of the same committee, at the School of Law on June 20 for a special panel discussion on current intelligence, security, and foreign policy issues. The event reflects the law school’s expanding role as a locus for community dialogue on issues relating to justice, democracy, and the rule of law. Barry Sullivan, Loyola’s Cooney & Conway Chair in Advocacy, and Jessica Droeger, member of panel cosponsor Lawyers for Good Government and a leader of Indivisible Lincoln Square, moderated the discussion.
The House intelligence committee is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and whether individuals associated with President Trump’s campaign and administration were involved in that interference. Without discussing details of the committee’s work, Schiff and Quigley spoke in general terms about why a full and complete investigation matters.
“The American public has a right to know” the nature and extent of Russian interference, Quigley said, noting that full knowledge of those activities is the only way to prevent future incursions. “This investigation is key to preserving the public trust in government.”
“We need to get to the bottom of what happened, what the Russians did and how they did it, not just for our democracy but for those around the world,” added Schiff. “The Russians will be back; in reality, they never left.”
Acknowledging that citizens across the political spectrum are eager for the investigation to wrap up, Quigley compared widespread demands for committee findings to asking jurors their opinions a quarter of the way through a trial. He counseled Americans “to be patiently impatient and let the investigation take its course.”
Added Schiff, “We are closer to the beginning of the investigation than to the end…it would be worse than negligent for us to stop before we do our work.”