[Host] George Stephanopoulos: This Department of Justice is . . . saying they’ve turned over almost the entire Mueller report unredacted. The attorney general, William Barr, has testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. They’re saying they’re prevented by law from giving over this grand jury information so what’s the difference here?Adam Schiff: There are categorical differences. So, first, the Obama administration made dozens of witnesses available to the Congress, provided numerous thousands of documents, as you just heard, to the Republicans in Congress. And yes, it made specific claims of privilege. But here, the Trump administration has decided to say a blanket no; no to any kind of oversight whatsoever, no witnesses, no documents, no nothing, claiming executive privilege over things that it knows there is no basis for. There’s no executive privilege over the hundreds of thousands of documents regarding events that took place before Donald Trump was president.You can’t have a privilege — an executive privilege when you’re not the executive. So, they know that vast categories are inapplicable to the privilege here. So they’re just stonewalling. . . . Well, we’re going to have to enforce so much of this in court, and we’re seeing signs already and I think this is positive that the courts understand the urgency here. And the first case to get to the court involving the accountants, the House Oversight Committee, the judge has said essentially we’re going to expedite the schedule; I’m going to give you a quick judgment on it. And look, we are going to have to consider other remedies like inherent contempt, where if the courts take too long we use our own judicial process within the Congress.
Time and again, we have seen power-hungry leaders of other countries chip away at the freedom and independence of the press, threatening their citizens’ access to critical information. These democratically elected leaders know that they must neutralize or co-opt the press to eliminate a check on the government and pave the way for them to increase their power and cause their countries to “back-slide” into autocratic regimes. These leaders also know that the suppression of the press and the transformation from democracy to autocracy does not occur overnight. Rather, these democratically elected leaders follow a “playbook” pursuant to which they slowly and methodically  undermine the public’s trust in the press,  block access to press organizations viewed as critical of the regime,  harm the interests of the owners of disfavored press organizations, and  punish or otherwise censor disfavored journalists and press organizations. History shows that when democratic leaders employ this playbook in a systematic effort to control the press, their countries do not remain democracies for long.
It is difficult to imagine that the United States could be on the path toward abandoning its democratic principles. But it was similarly difficult for citizens of other democratic nations to imagine that they would see their countries back-slide into pseudo-autocratic or autocratic regimes. It does not happen overnight. Indeed, it is the slow drip of the concentration of power by elected strong-man leaders that corrode democracies. A necessary step in that corrosive process is the undermining of the free press. As we have seen throughout the world, strong-man leaders employ similar tactics from the autocratic playbook to stifle the free press. Without a strong and independent judiciary to protect the freedom of the press, we too could see our democracy back-slide from its founding principles.