WASHINGTON (AP) – Speaker Nancy Pelosi has named a Maryland Democrat as leader of the nine House Democrats who would prosecute President Donald Trump during his expected Senate impeachment trial.
The team includes three women, four people of color and lawmakers from states stretching from Rhode Island to California.
Rep. Jamie Raskin will be lead manager, a former constitutional law professor, the 58-year-old has often been an energetic presence during floor debates and taught constitutional law for 25 years.
He authored a House resolution that called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and declare Trump unable to complete his term, which expires next week. Pence ruled out doing that Tuesday night. That left the chamber quickly moving to articles of impeachment, which Raskin also helped draft.
“That is the groundwork for fascism, when you add racism, anti-Semitism, conspiracy theory and magical thinking. That is an absolute powder keg in terms of an assault on democracy,” Raskin said of the riot in an interview. “So we have to be very tough, and very strong right now in defending the Constitution and democracy.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi named him lead manager of the House team that will present testimony during Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate, similar to the role Raskin played when the president was impeached in 2019 and ultimately acquitted last year.
Many of the rioters storming the Capitol, Raskin said, were used to a world in which white people were “a comfortable, commanding majority in this country.” They were unsettled by Barack Obama becoming the nation’s first African-American president, he added, and now “have a full blown, independent reality, totally cut apart from the world of facts.”
Raskin noted a wooden gallows that was erected on the nearby grounds and suggested that the rioters, some of whom had chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” intended to kidnap the vice president and other leaders and execute them.
“The president didn’t want to let go, and the fruit of his obsession with his big lie that he had actually won the election was this nightmarish assault on Congress,” Raskin said. “The president has become a clear and present danger to the Republic.”
For his part, Trump insisted Tuesday that what he said shortly before the mob forced its way into the Capitol “was totally appropriate” and called his looming impeachment “a continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics.”
“I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country,” the president said. “And it’s causing tremendous anger.”
Other managers will be Reps. Diana DeGette of Colorado, David Cicilline of Rhode Island; Joaquin Castro of Texas, Eric Swalwell of California, Ted Lieu of California, Joe Neguse of Colorado and Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania and Stacey Plaskett, the Democratic delegate from the Virgin Islands.
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