Thirty-eight House Democrats led by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., are demanding that former President Trump’s federal criminal trials be televised for the public.
“We are writing to request the Judicial Conference explicitly authorize the broadcasting of court proceedings in the cases of United States of America v. Donald J. Trump,” they said in a Thursday night letter to federal officials.
“It is imperative the Conference ensures timely access to accurate and reliable information surrounding these cases and all of their proceedings, given the extraordinary national importance to our democratic institutions and the need for transparency,” they wrote.
It was sent hours after Trump pleaded not guilty to four charges related to his and his allies’ alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Trump was arraigned in a Washington, D.C., court on Thursday after Special Counsel Jack Smith announced the second of two federal grand jury indictments against the former president. He is also under an earlier criminal indictment in New York City.
Federal courts largely do not allow cameras, with a few exceptions.
Howerver, the dozens of Democrats who addressed the Judicial Conference, which guides federal court policy, insisted that putting Trump’s trials on TV is critical for Americans to “fully accept” their outcome.
“As the policymaking body for the federal courts, the Judiciary Conference has historically supported increased transparency and public access to the courts’ activities. Given the historic nature of the charges brought forth in these cases, it is hard to imagine a more powerful circumstance for televised proceedings,” the lawmakers wrote.
“If the public is to fully accept the outcome, it will be vitally important for it to witness, as directly as possible, how the trials are conducted, the strength of the evidence adduced and the credibility of witnesses,” they wrote.
Schiff was censured this year for promoting claims, while chairing the Intelligence Committee last Congress, that the Trump 2016 campaign colluded with Russia to win the election.
He also played a central role in both of Trump’s impeachment proceedings by House Democrats. He was an impeachment manager during the first, and was a member of the January 6 select committee when the former president was being impeached over the Capitol riot.
Other members of the now-defunct Jan. 6 panel signed Schiff’s letter, including its chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., as well as Reps. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Pete Aguilar of California, and Zoe Lofgren of California.
A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately return a request for comment.