“We’re going to have hearings for the American people which I hope will seem somewhat like the Watergate hearings did in that they will be a daily occurrence so people can follow the unfolding narrative," he said.
January 18, 2022

Mehdi Hasan filled in for Chris Hayes and welcomed Rep. Jamie Raskin as his guest.

"I was asking you about the focus of your committee on Donald Trump, and you were telling me about his affinity with Stalinistic dictators. Let's pick up there," he said.

"Vladimir Putin was the head of the KGB for 15 years. That's Donald Trump's hero. Putin said that the greatest tragedy of the 20th century was the collapse of the Soviet Union, so he's been wrapped up with Stalinist authoritarian and totalitarian politics for a long time," Raskin said.

"Look, we're getting overwhelming cooperation from people who were involved on January 6th. Probably more than 90 or 95% of the people we've contacted have come in freely and volunteered to cooperate. As we get closer to Donald Trump, we are running into that brick wall of, you know, Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon and Donald Trump as we close in on the ringleader of all of the activity.

"But we still have lots of ways of finding out what he was doing and what he was saying. Now, of course, in the Senate impeachment trial, I invited Donald Trump to come in and testify. Certainly the vast majority of Americans if they were accused of conspiring a violent insurrection against their own government would come and testify if they hadn't done it, but Donald Trump's lawyers blew that off in less time than it took him to respond to the insurrection in the first place.

"I think it was just about two hours when we heard back from him that, no, they would not do that. Why would Donald Trump not testify?" Raskin said.

"You have said that the committee's planned public hearings this year are going to, quote, 'blow the roof off the House.' What makes you confident that these hearings will have that effect on the American people? And how do you avoid some of your Republican witnesses from turning them into a circus on live TV?" Hasan asked.

"Well, the first thing is that the Senate impeachment trial was about one guy, Donald Trump, and one crime, inciting a violent insurrection. The mandate of the select committee is far broader. It's much more sweeping than that. We're looking at all of the events of the day, all of the causes and what needs to be done to fortify democratic institutions in the future. So we're looking at that mob riot, which surrounded a violent insurrection which had white extremist groups surrounding a coup against the vice president and against the Congress.

"We'll tell the story of each dimension of this attack on American democracy. The American people have not yet seen all of the evidence laid out in this way. So we're going to have hearings for the American people, which I hope will seem somewhat like the Watergate hearings did, in that they will be a daily occurrence so people can follow the unfolding narrative. And we'll give America a report and Congress a report about what happened and what we need to do to strengthen our resiliency against future authoritarian attacks like this."

Hasan asked what the committee would do about the members who are not cooperating.

"The committee has not yet decided what to do about different levels of interference and noncooperation that we have received from various witnesses," Raskin said.

"So that's something that's going to, you know, require us to show some tactical nimbleness. We don't want to get pulled down into some wild goose chases. On the other hand, everybody has a responsibility to comply with congressional orders when it comes to an investigation, and nobody knows that better than Mark Meadows or Jim Jordan, people who in the Benghazi investigation or any number of other investigations against Democratic presidents, insisted upon absolute compliance.

"But you know, they don't see the double standard and the hypocrisy of the position they're acting out here. I think America does see it, and it's a rather scandalous thing not to cooperate with a demand for information. And if, God forbid, they were ever to control a gavel again, they would undoubtedly go right back to saying everybody has got to cooperate with their Benghazi investigations, or whatever."

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