Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) vowed that the upcoming hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection will “tell a story that will really blow the roof off the House.”
Raskin called the bid to overthrow the results of the 2020 election the “most heinous and dastardly political offense ever organized by a president and his followers and his entourage in the history of the United States.”
He called it a “coup.” It was “not a coup directed at the president,” Raskin said Thursday in Washington at a “Truth and Trauma” talk hosted by Georgetown University’s Center on Faith and Justice. “It was a coup directed by the president against the vice president and against the Congress,” he added.
The House select committee investigating the insurrection will present evidence in hearings expected to begin in June that will demonstrate there was coordination among Donald Trump, his inner circle, and supporters who attacked the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election, said Raskin.
“No president has ever come close to doing what happened here in terms of trying to organize an inside coup to overthrow an election and bypass the constitutional order — and then also use a violent insurrection made up of domestic violent extremist groups, white nationalist, racist, fascist groups, in order to support the coup,” the lawmaker added. “That will be the story that people hear.”
With enough violence, Trump’s ultimate strategy — like what occurred during Hitler’s “Reichstag moment” — would have been to declare martial law and seize the government, according to Raskin. “I’m going to save you from the insurrectionary chaos I unleashed against you,” he imagined Trump’s rationale would have been.
Raskin said that the committee has spoken to some 800 witnesses. A report should be completed by early fall at the latest that will “define the events” of Jan. 6, 2021, with recommendations for legislative strategies “to prevent future coups and insurrections and subversion of American constitutional democracy,” he said.
An initial plan for a bipartisan commission to investigate the insurrection was vetoed, said Raskin, by the “fourth branch of government, Donald Trump, who told the GOP he didn’t want any investigation at all, of the insurrection against us” — and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy agreed. So the House launched it own select committee.
Had Trump’s coup been successful, “it’s anybody’s guess what could have happened” next, Raskin said, speculating: “martial law, civil war. You know, the beginning of authoritarianism.”
Check out his full interview in the video here.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.