After months of interviews, meetings, and gathering evidence, the House select committee has already concluded its investigation by charging former President Donald Trump with four criminal charges. And Representative Jamie Raskin said Trump must answer for these charges.
Among the charges raised by the panel include conspiracy to defraud the US, obstruction of an official proceeding, aiding individuals involved in an insurrection, and conspiracy to defraud the United States of America. These will be referred to the Department of Justice and other Congress members for failing to adhere to subpoenas from the court. However, according to experts, it would be unlikely that the ethics committee will act on the case involving the members of Congress. And Representative Raskin said it needs to push through. Otherwise, it would set “a terrible precedent for the future.”
“It’s of special concern when there’s an attempt to overthrow our election and essentially subdue our constitutional order and have someone seize the presidency who didn’t win it,” Raskin said.
“And if members of Congress have knowledge of that and may have been involved in it but refuse to say anything about it, we’re setting a precedent for future attacks on democracy itself. And that’s really the burden of our committee, to make sure that we prevent coups, insurrections, electoral sabotage and political violence in the future,” he added.
Raskin added that Trump needs to answer for all the cases he’s involved in. He emphasized that there is enough evidence pointing to Trump being guilty of all the charges the panel will forward to the Department of Justice. Raskin argues that Trump needs to be held accountable for all of these.
“In a society where all of us are treated equally under the law, the fact that he’s a former president would make no more difference than the fact that he’s a former businessman or TV star,” he adds.
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The ethics committee needs to do something
Raskin strongly suggests that the ethics committee must act on the evidence. However, many experts said that since the Republicans have gained control over the House of Representatives, there is a high chance that they will dismiss the complaint lobbied against them.
“The ethics committee is split between Democrats and Republicans, and they’re facing a pretty profound question, which is: If members of Congress get subpoenaed to testify about their knowledge of a criminal offense, and this one an attack on the constitution itself, can they just blow off the subpoena?”
“We’re not able to take them to court, likely because of the Speech or Debate Clause, which says that we can’t hold people to account who are members of Congress outside of Congress; We have to hold them to account within the channels of Congress. And so all we really could do is refer them to the ethics committee. And I trust and hope that the members of the ethics committee on a bipartisan basis will consider this very serious problem.”
Raskin said he wanted to reveal the committee’s work to the country. He said it is one way to show that the US government is standing up for democracy for the next generation.
“The work of our committee is an open book. We want the whole country to see all of the transcripts, all of the interviews, everything that took place, so we’re going to try to make it public as quickly as possible.”
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Trump needs to take accountability
The representative also said that Trump must pay for all his crimes, as letting him run free would defeat the purpose of American democracy. He then proceeds to ask about the unfair situation between the rich and the poor, who are charged with crimes. And most of the time, the latter is more persecuted than the former.
“More than 900 people have been prosecuted for crimes like assaulting federal officers, destroying federal property, seditious conspiracy, and attempt to overthrow or put down the government. Why should the foot soldiers be going to jail and not the ringleaders and the masterminds of this scheme to defeat American democracy?”
“Look, if Donald Trump had succeeded, he’d be bragging about it, how he was the one who came up with the whole plan. It’s very clear to those of us who’ve given two years of our lives to studying this that none of it would have happened without the will of Donald Trump.”
“I think most of the public understands that Donald Trump’s own attorney general said that his claims in the big lie are, quote, “BS.” They understand that Donald Trump wanted to wave in all of the armed people that he was perfectly aware were in the crowd.”
“They understand that he took no concern to try to protect us against the mob that he unleashed against us — so he didn’t call the Army, he didn’t call the National Guard. He sat there in his little dining room, watching this unfold like a perfect bystander or someone from another country or another planet. He showed no interest in trying to defend us. I think that story is indelibly imprinted in the public imagination.”
Photo Credit: New York Times