Jamie Raskin: Lead Trump impeachment prosecutor cries as he recounts terrifying Capitol attack

'They thought they were going to die'

Andrew Buncombe
Chief US Correspondent
Wednesday 10 February 2021 00:10
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Jamie Raskin tears up as he recounts terrifying Capitol attack
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The Democratic congressman leading the impeachment prosecution of Donald Trump broke into tears as he recalled the violent attack on the US Capitol just a month ago.

Jamie Raskin, whose son died weeks before the events on 6 January, had to pause several times as he concluded his remarks that marked the end of the Democrats' opening events.

“A sound I will never forget – the sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram – is the most haunting sound I ever heard, and I will never forget it,” said the Maryland congressman, recounting his experience after hundreds of supporters of Mr Trump stormed the building, and many went on the rampage.

“…The kids hiding under the desk. Placing what they thought were their final texts and whispered phone calls to say their goodbyes. They thought they were going to die.”

Trump impeachment trial opens with video of him telling supporters to march on Capitol and mob turning violent

Mr Raskin said he had invited his daughter and son-in-law to the Capitol to witness what he hoped would symbolise the imminent, peaceful transfer of power to Joe Biden, as the joint houses of Congress voted to affirm the electoral college votes of each of the 50 states.

He paused again and drank from a bottle of water as he told senators how he had spoken to his family a little while after they were reunited.

“My son-in-law had never even been to the Capitol before. And when they were finally rescued over an hour later by Capitol officers, and we were together, I hugged them and I apologised. And I told my daughter Tabitha … how sorry I was and I promised her that it would not be like this again the next time she came back to the Capitol with me.”

He added: “And you know what she said? Dad – I don't want to come back.”

Mr Raskin’s 25 year-old son, Thomas, took his own life in December, and the family had buried him just days before the attack at the Capitol building.

Mr Raskin, 58, who represents Maryland’s eighth congressional district, said the sight that shocked him the most on 6 January was the attack on a police officer, using an American flag. 

“An American flag pole – the flag still on it – [used] to spear and pummel one of our police officers, ruthlessly, mercilessly, tortured by a pole with a flag on it, that he was defending with his very life, but who died that day.” 

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