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Posts distort Rep. Adam Schiff’s comments on Jan. 6 evidence

November 29, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff said the Jan. 6 committee will “scrub” evidence before the Republicans take control of the House next year.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: Missing context. Schiff, a California Democrat, did not say the panel is going to get rid of evidence. During an appearance on a CNN segment Sunday, he said that all of the evidence would be made public, but that the committee would “scrub” any identifying personal information that could compromise peoples’ security before releasing it.

THE FACTS: Social media users and conservative news outlets are distorting the committee member’s words to suggest that he said the panel is going to obscure some evidence it has obtained about the 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Because the Jan. 6 panel is a temporary, or “select,” committee, it expires at the end of the current Congress. Since Republicans took the majority in November’s elections, they are expected to dissolve the committee in January. The panel is planning to issue a final report by the end of December.

“Adam Schiff said the Jan. 6 committee will ‘scrub’ evidence before the Republicans take control of the House next year,” wrote one Twitter user on Sunday, gaining nearly 5,000 shares and 10,000 likes.

The claim was also shared in a misleading headline by a conservative news outlet, which wrote: “Adam Schiff: Jan. 6 committee will ‘scrub’ evidence before final report.” The article later went on to detail Schiff’s full quote.

But the headline and similar posts repeating the language distort Schiff’s comments, delivered during a Sunday appearance on CNN’s State of the Union. His full remarks make clear that Schiff, a committee member and head of the House Intelligence Committee, was referring to redacting parts of the evidence for identifying information.

Schiff made the comment after host Dana Bash asked him to clarify whether any evidence would be kept from the public when the final report is released.

“Jim Jordan has already said that he is going to — he will be the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, likely — he is going to go through the evidence you left out,” Bash asks. “You’re saying that there won’t be evidence that will not be made public?”

Schiff responds that “the evidence will all be made public.”

“Now we’ll have to make sure that we scrub that evidence for personally identifiable information, that the evidence that we provide protects peoples’ security, doesn’t put them at risk,” he continues. “So there are things that we’re going to have to do along those lines. But yes, we want to put the evidence before the American people.”

Schiff did not say entire pieces of evidence would be withheld.

Teddy Lake, a spokesperson for Schiff, said the lawmaker’s words were being taken “drastically out of context.”

“As he said on Sunday, the Chairman expects that along with the committee’s final report, the committee will be releasing the transcripts and all of the evidence,” Lake said in a statement to the AP.

Prior to asking about the evidence, Bash and Schiff had discussed a report by The Washington Post that detailed concerns by former and current Jan. 6 committee staffers that findings unrelated to Trump would only be listed in the report’s appendix, or excluded from it entirely, amid a push by U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who serves as vice chair of the committee.

In responses to the Post, spokespeople for both Cheney and the committee pushed back on the allegations.

The committee, having conducted more than 1,000 interviews, held 10 hearings and obtained countless documents, has produced a sweeping probe of Trump’s activities from his defeat in the November election to the Capitol attack, the AP has reported.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.