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Jamie Raskin’s plan to hold Trump accountable

On what ought to’ve been the main focus of Trump’s first impeachment

“Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t because I had any doubts about impeachment, but I thought that the central impeachable offense and the original sin of the Trump presidency was that he had converted the presidency and the entire executive branch into a money-making operation. This was the founder’s worst nightmare. He had converted the position of president into an instrument of self-enrichment, and he said on the first days of taking office, he would not give up his more than 500 companies and profit-making ventures. He might turn over day-to-day responsibility over some of them to his kids. But he was still going to be — as everyone knows, Donald Trump’s personality — in control and he would be profiting from them. So he raked in millions and millions of dollars in foreign emoluments. They just flagrantly violated that on an almost daily basis, just like they violated the domestic emoluments clause, which says the president is limited to his own salary in office and can’t receive any other money from the federal government. Yet all of these federal departments and agencies under Trump’s control were spending money at his hotels and golf courses, millions and millions of dollars in money paid to his businesses, and he would say, ‘Oh, well, I’m not accepting my salary.’ That’s the only thing he’s allowed to accept.” — Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), member of the Jan. 6 choose committee

On working to persuade Republicans that Trump is harmful

“Well, because he is dangerous. I spoke to Republican senators if they came to talk to me during the trial and I said, ‘You’ve got to do this for the country, you’ve got to do it for the Constitution and you’ve got to do it for your party, because he will destroy the Republican Party as we know it.’ I am more convinced of that than ever today. But I predicted that at the time because you see, I had written a letter to Donald Trump urging him to come and to testify. They were whining about due process. I said the heart of due process is the opportunity to be heard, so come and be heard. Of course, they said no. Imagine any other American president or any other American citizen saying no, they don’t want to testify if they were falsely being accused of incitement to violent insurrection against the union. But he didn’t want to do it. So he didn’t come and he wouldn’t participate. His lawyers denounced the insurrection and they said they had nothing to do with it. But again, I predicted back then that Trump would come to embrace the insurrection, and he would try to lionize the insurrectionists and make heroes and martyrs out of them. Of course, that is precisely what’s happened. But he’s such a snowflake. He wasn’t willing to stand up at the time and proclaim his great stature as the Mussolini of America. He just didn’t have the courage to do that.” — Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), member of the Jan. 6 choose committee

On what success would appear like for the Jan. 6 committee

“Success for us is telling the truth — in comprehensive and fine-grained detail — a story that makes sense to the American people, and a story that demonstrates how far outside of our American constitutional system and outside of our American political culture these events were. And to turn huge numbers of people against political coups and against insurrections, and then to follow through on a set of policy recommendations and legislative recommendations that will allow us to fortify our institutions.” — Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), member of the Jan. 6 choose committee