After more than a thousand interviews and hours of televised hearings, one of Congress’s most high-profile investigations since Watergate, the January 6 Committee, will soon release a far-reaching report. The question is, will the report prompt the Justice Department to prosecute former President Donald Trump?
For the moment, the committee is timid. But Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin, one of its top members, came to his own personal conclusion about whether Trump committed a crime. “Well, absolutely,” he said. “I mean, on the one hand there is this mega-crime of coup and insurrection against constitutional democracy. But then this mega-crime includes hundreds of criminal offenses. And I think – personally – that Donald Trump could be prosecuted for several of them.”
CBS News Chief Elections and Campaign Correspondent Robert Costa asked, “But this report could be the basis of a lawsuit in your view?”
“Yeah, I think it might be,” Raskin replied. “It was Donald Trump who sent the overheard tweet” around the alt-right underworld to rally on January 6. He wanted to ride like Mussolini on the shoulders of the crowd so that he could seize the presidency. “
Raskin and David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker magazine, sat down to discuss the potential impact of the Committee’s report. Remnick will publish the report in book form, which will include an essay by Raskin (who received no payment).
Costa asked, “Are you sure people will sit down and read this report?”
Remnick said: “I think about it all the time when we publish a 25,000 word article in The New Yorker which is deeply detailed and verified. And I’ve come to the conclusion over time that it’s absorbed in different ways. Yes, there are the people who read it immediately, they read it with avidity. Then two weeks later it’s, ‘By the way, did you look at that article in The New Yorker? ?’ And it has an effect.”
To have an effect has been the mission of the Committee. But his work was challenged by many in Washington who said the hearings would change their minds little, even when revelations were startling, such as reports of attempts to influence witnesses to testify about deceitful way.
The results of the midterm elections, where Trump’s allies were defeated, shattered this conventional wisdom.
Raskin said: “If we had lost this election by 40 or 50 votes, as various pundits, strategists and historians had predicted, everyone would undoubtedly have said, ‘The Democrats shouldn’t have focused on the Constitution and democracy. Democrats should ‘I haven’t focused on reproductive liberty and people’s rights and freedoms.’”
Coast asked, “Perhaps, looking back, was the alarm loud enough?”
“Well, we certainly sounded the alarm as loudly as possible,” Raskin said. “I think the American public got the gist of the story: Donald Trump was a guy who just wouldn’t take no for an answer from the American people and set out to flip an election.”
Last week,for a plot to keep Trump in power. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
The former president who declared his 2024 candidacy denied any wrongdoing and refused to testify before the House committee. But Trump still faces multiple state and federal investigations.
Coast asked Remnick, “What would it mean for the country if there were, ultimately, no consequences for Trump?”
“I still think that if there’s no consequence for Trump, even if he loses, even if he burns out like a lot of commentators are suggesting he’s doing, I think it’s a sad day, that there’s no consequence,” he replied.
Raskin said: “People crave justice, accountability and consequences here. Injustice runs free for a long time before justice mechanisms and the rule of law can work. That’s what it means to live in a free society. We don’t just sweep people off the streets, even a tyrant like Donald Trump, and just convict them and throw them in solitary confinement.”
“So people should have patience? Even though these trials last a long time, grand juries last for years?”
“Yes,” Raskin said. “There have been over 950 prosecutions, I think that’s now. We’ve had dozens and dozens of people convicted. But I know people think we need to make sure accountability goes all the way to the top Just because you’re elected president, or have been president, doesn’t give you the right to freely indulge in crimes.”
This Tuesday, a ceremony will be held in the Capitol Rotunda to honor the U.S. Capitol and the Metropolitan Police who have defended the center of our democracy.
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Story produced by Ed Forgotson. Publisher: Joseph Frandino.