At IOP Forum, 1983 Rep. Jamie Raskin Says Jan. 6 Committee Has “Made Tremendous Progress” in Investigating Capitol Attack | News
U.S. Representative Jamie B. Raskin ’83 (D-Md.) discussed the state of U.S. democracy and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol at a Harvard Institute of Politics forum Wednesday night.
Raskin, a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, serves on the US House Jan. 6 Special Committee, which is investigating the attack on the Capitol that took place that day.
“Our January 6 select committee has made tremendous strides in defining exactly the character of the January 6 events and the causes behind them,” Raskin said at the forum.
“So I think we’re making progress, but obviously we’re in a very polarized situation in the country,” he added, blaming the Republican Party.
Raskin, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, was the House impeachment lead in the second impeachment of former President Donald J. Trump in January. Trump was impeached by the House, but later acquitted by the US Senate by a vote of 57 to 43, 10 votes short of the required two-thirds threshold.
When asked in an interview before the event if the January impeachment proceedings and the select committee had done enough to hold Trump accountable, Raskin said, “We convicted him in the court of public opinion. .”
“I think we’ve doomed it in the eyes of history, and we’ve certainly doomed it in the eyes of the world,” he said.
The IOP distributed free paperback copies of the US Constitution to all attendees of the forum, which was moderated by Tarina K. Ahuja ’24 and Lauren A. Perl ’25.
“In a democracy, healing comes from the truth; it doesn’t come from everyone holding hands,” Raskin said at the start of the event. “In fact, my father used to say that democracy needs a foundation to stand on, and that foundation is truth.”
Raskin, who was elected to Congress in 2016, served the majority of his term with Trump in office. On Wednesday, he criticized the Trump administration for its “outburst against civil rights, civil liberties and democracy across the country.”
“I think we have a party that is a party of democracy, and that stands for democracy in America and in Ukraine and all over the world,” Raskin said. “And we have another political party that today looks a lot less like a modern political party and looks a lot more like an authoritarian cult of personality.”
In the pre-forum interview, Raskin said he viewed the Republican Party as “a shrinking minority party” that uses “tricks” to gain power, pointing to tactics such as gerrymandering and voter suppression.
During the forum, Raskin called on young people to get involved in activism and politics.
“We need a younger generation of Americans who are committed to this fight for democracy and in my opinion, this is not a partisan fight,” Raskin said.
Raskin said young people should study history, calling them “heirs” to the “civilizing movements of our times”, including the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the LGBTQ movement and the human rights movement.
“Young people are going to get explosively involved and make much stronger demands on the government system to address climate change and health care,” Raskin said. “Things that concern your generation.”
Perl, one of the forum’s moderators, told Raskin that his faith in young people “gave me such hope and confidence that I hope everyone walks away with it.”
“My dad always used to say, when everything seems hopeless, you are the hope,” Raskin replied.
-Writer Miles J. Herszenhorn contributed reporting.