‘Blah, blah, blah’: Jamie Raskin acts dismissively to Matt Gaetz in shouting match over 6 January

‘Our apologies to the stenographer, we’re going to do it civilly like two lawyers,’ says senior Democrat

Justin Vallejo
New York
Thursday 21 October 2021 00:40
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Blah, blah, blah': Jamie Raskin clashes with Matt Gaetz in House committee hearing

Jamie Raskin and Matt Gaetz threw down over the 6 January committee’s investigation into the riot at the US Capitol.

The two talked over each other in a heated exchange at the House Rules Committee hearing over the criminal referral of Steve Bannon, who has refused to comply with a congressional subpoena.

Mr Raskin grilled the Republican congressman, one of Donald Trump’s staunchest allies, on whether he accepted Joe Biden won the election, while Mr Gaetz shot back that the Democrats’ obsession with 6 January was to hide their lack of progress in Congress.

“Blah, blah, blah,” said Mr Raskin, who himself objected to the Electoral College vote certification in 2017 on a legal technicality.

The fiery but mostly collegial repartee between the two came after the 6 January committee formally approved a criminal contempt report to hold Mr Bannon in contempt of Congress. He could be jailed for up to a year if convicted.

Mr Gaetz said the focus with Mr Bannon and 6 January is a “uniquely Washington obsession”.

“Is there a single American who believes that if the Democrats had a reconciliation deal and an infrastructure bill we’d be doing this this week? Absolutely not,” Mr Gaetz said.

“They’d be working on the legislative promises they made to constituents, but they can’t get a bill, they can’t deliver for the people and so all of this January 6 obsession is the sophistry.”

Mr Raskin pressed Mr Gaetz on whether he accepts Mr Biden won the election. Mr Gatez accepts Mr Biden is the president, but says Mr Trump would be in the Oval Office if the scales weren’t tipped by mail-in ballots.

Fireworks ensued as Mr Raskin said judges rejected all the claims of fraud while Mr Gaetz shot back that, actually, no court took up the cases on procedural grounds and so none of the facts of those cases were reviewed.

They were both scolded as the stenographer struggled to keep up with the back and forth.

“Our apologies to the stenographer, we’re going to do it civilly like two lawyers,” Mr Raskin said.

Mr Raskin continued, asking what if it wasn’t the Proud Boys who stormed the Capitol but Isis. Would he not want an investigation into what happened with that attack on America?

“If Al Qaeda or Isis attacked the US Capitol I would think the least capable institution to bring them to justice would be this January 6 committee, I would far prefer the legal process to play out or the military process to play out,” Mr Gatez replied.

“If the American people had to rely on the Congress itself as an institution to protect them from Isis without law enforcement, without the military, we would be in deep, deep, trouble,” he added.

The stenographer got another workout when Mr Raskin asked if Mr Bannon can just not show up in response to the committee’s subpoena. Mr Gaetz began to invoke former Trump Administration lawyer Donald McGahn, who was subpoenaed to testify before the Russia investigation in 2019.

“Hold on hold on, now you’re the one giving challenges to the stenographer,” Mr Gaetz interjected amid the interjections.

“The reason you all waited on McGahn is because the Russia hoax wasn’t going well for you and the reason you’re not waiting now is because you have no other legislation or other solutions for the country. That’s why you had the McGahn playbook but you ditched it because you need January 6 so bad.”

Somewhere in the midst of that last salvo, Mr Raskin mumbled under his breath “ok, alright, blah, blah, blah, ok” before turning his questioning to Jim Jordan.

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