Wall Street Times

Opinion: Raskin says Trump needs to take accountability

After months of interviews, meetings, and evidence gathering, the House Select Committee has closed its investigation by implicating former President Donald Trump on four felony offenses. Representative Jamie Raskin said that Trump must respond to these accusations.

The panel’s indictments include conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an official process, supporting individuals engaging in an insurgency, and conspiracy to defraud the United States of America. The committee will bring these before the Department of Justice and other members of Congress for not responding with court subpoenas. However, analysts believe that the ethics committee would take no steps to involve the members of Congress. Representative Raskin stated that it must be enacted. Otherwise, “a terrible precedent for the future” would be formed.

“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 noted that Trump needs to explain the issues he is responsible for. He underscored that there is adequate evidence to convict Trump on all of the charges that the panel would refer to the Department of Justice. Raskin believes Trump should be made liable 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 must act

Raskin believes that the ethics committee should act on the evidence. Many professionals, however, believe that because the Republicans now control the House of Representatives, the panel would quash the suit brought 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 stated that he planned to share the committee’s conclusions with the rest of the country. He said that it is one opportunity to convey that the US government is promoting democracy for the future 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 must be held liable

The representative also stated that Trump must pay for all of his crimes, as enabling him to go free would be destructive to the aim of American democracy. He then asks questions about the disparity between the wealthy and the poor, who are charged with crimes. And, in most cases, the latter gets condemned more 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.”

Opinions expressed by The Wall Street Times contributors are their own.