Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin had just buried his 25-year-old son last week when, a day later, he entered the United States Capitol with his youngest daughter to carry out his sworn duty to certify the election of President-elect Joe Biden.
Hours after Raskin entered the Capitol with his daughter and a son-in-law, his family faced a violent insurrection, which now marks one of the most horrific days in modern U.S. history.
Raskin was named the House’s lead manager in Trump’s impeachment trial this week. He authored a House resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment and then drafted articles of impeachment accusing President Donald Trump of “incitement of insurrection.”
On Jan. 20, Trump will be forced to step down and President-elect Joe Biden will take power. With the end of his term approaching, some people have questioned why Congress would pursue Trump’s removal from office.
“We’re trying to put every tool in the constitutional toolkit on the table,” Raskin told ABC News’ daily podcast “Start Here.” “The president is a clear and present danger to the people and to the republic. So we have to use whatever levers are still available to us to remove him from office.”
Raskin said he hoped the 25th Amendment, which would remove Trump from his post and put Pence in power, would be “a middle ground solution that everybody, people who are strongly for impeachment and people who are against impeachment, can converge upon.”
As an alternative route, he believes impeachment will pass on Wednesday.
“I think there’s overwhelming sentiment that this president cannot remain in office another single day,” Raskin said. “We need him out of office. He is a clear and present danger to the people of the United States right now.”
With regard to Trump’s first impeachment, Rasking said the “Senate did not do their duty and did not convict and remove him.” The president, he said, has continued to commit “impeachable offenses.”
Raskin says the president’s tweets were anything but innocuous in the days leading up to the insurrection on Capitol Hill.
“The president was trying to shut down the counting of Electoral College votes,” he said. “Remember, they were saying, ‘Hang Mike Pence.’ They were yelling, ‘Where’s Nancy?’ That was ringing throughout the building. They set up the gallows outside of Congress, and to this day, the president has not denounced what they did.”
Despite the continuing fallout from the Capitol siege, Raskin believes the president will continue to act out brazenly, fueling support for the false claim that Biden’s presidential win was illegitimate.
“On the right-wing websites, they’re calling for President Trump to make pardons for the ringleaders who conducted this violent riot and invasion and attack on the Congress,” Raskin said. “He could very easily do that. He’s just been pardoning all of his political buddies and loyalists… Could we live with ourselves if we didn’t try to remove him from office and he proceeded to pardon people who conducted an armed attack on the Congress of the United States?”
The congressman reflected on the events of last week. Raskin’s family had just buried his son, who died by suicide on New Year’s Eve, last Tuesday. His son had long struggled with severe depression, he said.
He remembered Tabitha had asked him to stay home on Wednesday. But Raskin said he needed to be a part of the Electoral College vote count, and he invited her and his other daughter’s husband to come with him.
“They came down and they ended up barricaded in a locked office off of the House chamber, hiding under a desk as people pounded on the door. They heard the same sickening sounds I heard of people trying to barrel into the House chamber,” he said.
“Listen to the stories of people who lived through this nightmare. This is not some abstract question about Donald Trump just pocketing emoluments,” Raskin continued. “He helped to unleash a furious, savage mob on the Congress of the United States, our staffs and, in my case, on members of my family.”
This report was featured in the Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2020, episode of “Start Here,” ABC News’ daily news podcast.
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