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Unpacking the latest Jan. 6 hearings


Today's January 6 hearing was all about the states - the pressure campaign aimed at state officials by former President Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Well, we have one of the January 6 committee members with us now live, Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland. Congressman, good to speak with you again.

JAMIE RASKIN: Thanks for having me.

KELLY: You know, we have heard so much for a long time now about the violence at the Capitol itself on January 6. I was struck today listening to the accounts from state officials about the threats of violence made against them, made against their families. What did you learn from their testimony?

RASKIN: Well, there was violence built into this thoroughgoing assault on democracy. You know, the elections that take place across America in a presidential year are state-based. And they require tens of thousands of people like, you know, Shaye Moss, who we saw today; people who register voters, who get people their absentee ballots, who are there to check people in.

KELLY: This is the election worker in Fulton County, Ga., talking about death threats against her, her mom.

RASKIN: I mean, you know, they were beside themselves. I mean, they were completely transformed and just shocked by what happened as Donald Trump unleashed the wrath and the fury of his mob on them. So, you know, the same thing with Speaker Bowers in Arizona. You know, a lifelong, passionate Republican, evidently a great political leader who supported Trump, wanted Trump to win, by his own testimony, but said, I don't want to be a winner by cheating. And he said there was no way he was going to violate his oath and start concocting vote totals and the kinds of things that Trump was asking people to do. Just like Raffensperger, another Republican who had contributed to the Trump campaign, was involved in trying to get votes for Trump, but he said he would not cheat and, you know, just find 11,780 votes.

KELLY: Right. You're describing a lot of testimony today that was very powerful, that was very personal. What is its significance set against the rest of your investigation? Why does it matter in the - in terms of the stakes of the inquiry your committee is doing?

RASKIN: Well, when you step outside of the constitutional order and you step outside the rule of law, ultimately violence is going to be your destination. And that's just what happened on January 6. There was no way that Donald Trump could win through the counting of electors by the House and the Senate in joint session. It required violence to try to upset the whole apple cart and put that coercive pressure on to Mike Pence just to reject electors. So violence was the ultimate destination of this tyrannical plot.

KELLY: Is your panel any closer to deciding whether to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department?

RASKIN: You know, I think that's a bit of semantic confusion, because there is a statute that allows us to make a criminal referral when it comes to contempt of Congress. And so we made a bunch of those that everyone was saying, well, are you going to do criminal referrals on these other things, like conspiracy to interfere with a federal proceeding and so on. There's no statute that calls for that. So in some sense, all of our hearings and our whole report is an attempt to get the information out to everybody now. It's the country, it's the Congress, as well as the prosecutors. So it's a referral to the country of this emergency that we're still in.

KELLY: Well, in terms of the information you have seen so far - I'll say another of your committee colleagues, Adam Schiff, told me last week he thinks the Justice Department should open a criminal probe into former President Trump, setting aside the issue of a referral or not. Do you agree? Is the evidence there?

RASKIN: I think there's overwhelming evidence that crimes took place. And look, the Department of Justice has not been sitting on its hands. They've already brought more than 850 prosecutions against people for everything from assaulting a federal officer to seditious conspiracy, which means conspiracy to overthrow the government. So, you know, I've got every reason to believe that the crimes committed by the people at the top will be ultimately investigated and prosecuted because of their severity and because of the culpability of the actors.

KELLY: Just a few seconds left. More subpoenas coming?

RASKIN: From our committee?

KELLY: Mmm hmm.

RASKIN: Well, again, we're still in the middle of the investigative process, and more evidence is turning up every single day as people come forward. So we're not...

KELLY: So, yes, it sounds like is the answer.

RASKIN: ...We're not done yet.

KELLY: That is Democrat Jamie Raskin of Maryland, member of the congressional committee investigating January 6. Thank you.

RASKIN: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Mary Louise Kelly is a co-host of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine.
Ashish Valentine joined NPR as its second-ever Reflect America fellow and is now a production assistant at All Things Considered. As well as producing the daily show and sometimes reporting stories himself, his job is to help the network's coverage better represent the perspectives of marginalized communities.
Ashley Brown is a senior editor for All Things Considered.