The latest progress in the investigation into the January 6 insurrection
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Now, the members of the House Select Committee include Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, who's on the line. Congressman, welcome back.
JAMIE RASKIN: Hey. Good morning, Steve.
INSKEEP: What makes Steve Bannon specifically of interest to you?
RASKIN: Well, he was out there immediately before January 6, on the 5th and the 4th, saying things like there was going to be a cataclysmic battle, all hell was going to break loose. He clearly knew a lot about what was going to happen in terms of the violent insurrection part of the events of the day. But obviously, he was also in the inner political circle that was planning what I think of as a coup, an attempt to reject Electoral College votes that was being foisted on Vice President Pence, which would have kicked the whole contest into a contingent election where the GOP had a majority of the states.
INSKEEP: When you try to investigate what you just described as a coup, do you think you are, in fact, going to get testimony from other witnesses who didn't show up on time but do not face criminal contempt proceedings?
RASKIN: Well, we expect witnesses from everyone who we testify. I mean, we have one job, which is to determine what happened on January 6 and why, who perpetrated it, who paid for it and what was the grand design. You know, we didn't set out here to be prosecutors. We set out to be investigators. But now there are people who are attempting to blockade our investigation. That includes some people who are in the government - who were in the government, like Kash Patel and Mark Meadows, and some people who are outside of it but closely aligned with President Trump, like Steve Bannon.
INSKEEP: Do you see - when you say, what is the grand design? - do you see a grand design larger than sending protesters down to the Capitol to intimidate Mike Pence into interfering with the counting of electoral votes? Do you think something larger was going on within the government?
RASKIN: Yes. Now, I'm speaking personally as the lead impeachment manager. And obviously, this is the purpose of our investigation now on the select committee. But it seems clear to me that Donald Trump's inner coterie of advisers and Donald Trump were engaged in an enterprise where they were trying to coerce Mike Pence to assert unilateral and unprecedented powers, to reject Electoral College votes - specifically from Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania - in order to lower Biden's total below 270. And then this would have kicked the whole contest over to a contingent election. But of course, this meant they had to mobilize extraordinary pressure, both political pressure and governmental pressure - and violent pressure from the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the Aryan Nations and the other extremist groups who were mobilized for action on that day.
INSKEEP: But this is what I'm wondering when I ask about a larger design. I think about the witnesses on your list. Mark Meadows is kind of obvious. He's the chief of staff. He's there with the president. He would know about at least some of his communications. But there's one who's less obvious, Kash Patel. He's out in the agencies. He had a Defense Department position. He was reportedly considered to be part of some plan to take over the CIA. Are you pursuing the idea that there were other means being used to seize the security agencies and take control of the government that way?
RASKIN: Well, we're pursuing all the facts, obviously. And there were people being deployed and stationed at the very end of the administration into different, key governmental departments, including the Department of Defense, including various intelligence agencies, including the National Guard and, you know, other points of intervention for events on January 6. So we think that there is this kind of governmental infrastructure component to the president - the former president's plans for that day.
INSKEEP: Are you saying that you're pursuing the question about whether there was some kind of delay put on as far as securing the Capitol? Or are you thinking bigger than that?
RASKIN: Well, that's obviously part of our investigation. We're looking at all of the different pieces that were put into place for January 6. And, you know, some of them are deep inside the bowels of the government bureaucracy. And some of them were right out in front. And a lot of them did involve mobilizing violence.
INSKEEP: What discussions has your committee had about calling any current members of Congress?
RASKIN: Well, obviously, I'm not going to talk about the internal discussions of the committee. And, you know, we would take something like that very seriously because that takes us to a different place. On the other hand, we have to include within our investigation all of the facts relating to this extraordinary attack on the Congress and the Capitol, something that we had not seen, essentially, since the War of 1812.
INSKEEP: Congressman, in a few seconds, how are you making sure that your findings have credibility given that most Republicans are portraying your work as partisan?
RASKIN: Well, the committee itself is completely bipartisan. In fact, it's the most bipartisan committee I've ever been part of. Instead of spending time engaging in polemics and tirades against each other, we all have one common focus, which is finding the truth.
INSKEEP: Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland. Always a pleasure talking with you. Thank you so much.
RASKIN: And thank you, Steve.
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