Jamie Raskin understands the gravity of the situation in which he's been placed.

On Monday, the House of Representatives forwarded one article of impeachment against former president Donald Trump to the Senate.

When a Senate trial begins on Feb. 9, Raskin, the congressman from Maryland's eighth congressional district, will be in the spotlight as the lead manager presenting the House's case to the assembled senators.

The evening before the House's impeachment vote, Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Raskin – a constitutional law professor at American University's Washington College of Law – to ask if he was prepared to accept the solemn responsibility of leading the impeachment team in the Senate.

In a recent phone interview, the exhaustion in Raskin's voice was palpable.

The national attention of the impeachment comes as Raskin also wrestles with personal tragedy.

On Dec. 31, his son Tommy, 25, died from suicide, leaving his family a note that read in part, “Please forgive me. My illness won today.”

Raskin said Tommy's memory has helped give him strength as he and the other managers prepare their case.

“I'd be letting him down if I did not live up to this responsibility,” he said.

Their case will focus on what they see as Trump's role in attacking and undermining the results of the 2020 election, including filing dozens of lawsuits challenging the results, pressuring and coercing officials involved in tabulating those results and threatening Congress by helping inspire followers to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 while Raskin and his colleagues were inside certifying the Electoral College results.

As for those who argue that the impeachment is pointless now that Trump has already left office, Raskin said the timing of events makes it even worse.

“We don't give presidents a free pass for their last three or four weeks in office,” he said.

A Monmouth University poll released Monday showed that 56 percent of people who answered favored impeachment, while 44 percent were opposed, according to the political newspaper The Hill. 

Meanwhile, mounting Republican opposition to the proceedings indicates that many GOP senators would eventually vote to acquit Trump. Democrats would need the support of 17 Republicans — a high bar — to convict him, according to the Associated Press.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said he doesn’t believe the Senate has the constitutional authority to convict Trump after he has left office.

“I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton said.

Raskin and the other managers will be describing a narrative of what happened leading up to the election and the events at the Capitol, said Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law scholar and the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard Law School, who first met Raskin when the congressman was a “star” student at Harvard Law in the 1980s.

Along with helping set Raskin on his path as a constitutional expert, Tribe noted that his class was also where Raskin met his wife, Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former member of the Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve and a deputy treasury secretary in the Obama administration.

Along with being a legal scholar, Raskin is also a “tremendous human being,” Tribe said.

Raskin, Tribe said, understands the role that impeachment plays in the constitutional system and is good at articulating a broad range of ideas and emotions.

While Trump's lawyers will argue that the Senate has no jurisdiction to try the case, Tribe, like Raskin, believes the House managers will have little trouble disproving that point.

The thing the founders most feared was a “charismatic demagogue” who could stir up the emotions of the people, he said.

“Donald Trump is exactly what they were afraid of,” he said.

As he and his fellow managers prepare their case, Raskin said he realizes how much work the country has to do to heal and unite the political divisions that have arisen within it.

That will be the next step once they get through holding people accountable, he said, and he hopes to be able to play a small part in the process.

While he's respected across the political spectrum – former Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy once described Raskin to the News-Post as one of his favorite colleagues – and has been able to develop friendships with some Republicans in Congress, Raskin said he misses the closer relationship between Democrats and Republicans that marked his tenure in the Maryland Senate from 2007 to 2016.

Everyone needs to do a better job with that, he said.

But for now, he prepares for his role at the center of the storm with his son's memory in his heart, facing trauma on both a personal and national level.

“Destiny sends us all to places we would not have expected to go,” Raskin said.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(28) comments

jloo

Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution gives the Senate “sole power to try all impeachments” and sets forth three requirements that underscore the seriousness of an impeachment trial: 1) senators are put under oath; 2) the Chief Justice presides, not the vice president; and 3) a two-thirds “supermajority” is required to convict.

Anyone of you law and order folks see something missing here? The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has refused to preside. That should tell you all you need to know.

veritas

Impeachment Redux: Democrats just Democrat'in. It's what they do. No matter that they are Wile E. Coyote to Trump's Roadrunner. They're going to keep on keeping on. Trump's a bounder for sure, but he's also a private citizen. Seems like the Dems might be well advised to seek another avenue to satisfy their fanatical obsession, but just like Wile E., they don't know when to quit. The sad part is, whether or not they finally nail Trump, the evidence suggests they're not going to stop with him. Their cancel culture proclivities compel them to search out and destroy and/or re-educate as many fellow citizens as they can who ever publicly supported a Trump administration policy or position, or even typed a kind word about him on social media. Democrats just Democrat'in.

NewMarketParent

@veritas

Ignoring Rule of Las: Republicants just Republicanting. It's what they do. No matter that they are the rocks in the expression dumb as a bag of rocks. They're going to keep on keeping on. You can't have truth and reconciliation without truth. Seems like the Repubs might be well advised to seek another avenue to escape justice, but just like the bag of rocks they will probably try an insurrection again. The sad part is whether or not they finally accept reality and confess to trying to implement fascism, the evidence suggests that unless they are accountable, then this attempt at a coup was just a practice run. They loathe accountability because they have largely lived their lives without encountering any consequences for their poor decisions and seek to largely punch down on those who they can "other". Republicants just Republicanting.

Jim Hartley

One question, ole veri: Did Joe Biden win in a free and fair election? No equivocating or qualifying, this is not a question with any gray in it. Thank you for clarifying your world view.

threecents

Now that he is a private citizen, I would prefer Trump be tried in a federal court, rather than in the Senate. I think the main things we don't know is if Trump was briefed on the risk of violence and why he did not act to stop it right away. These questions go to whether Trump was aware that he could be inciting the crowd and whether he was truly against the violence. Remember he clearly incited violence during 2016 rallies, so there is precedent. Personally, I would rather the focus be on Trump's attempts to pressure governors to change their state's election results. It seems to me that is where any reasonable person would conclude he is guilty, even if they love him. That alone should be punishable with jail time.

FrederickFan

Raskin is a wonderful human being. He is respected by many on both sides of the aisle. His passion for our democracy and our country are admirable. The country is well-served.

pdl603

Another waste of time since DJT is out of office. Time to move on, but the dems love to waste money and time.

MD1756

Addressing potential insurrection and treason is never a waste of time. Do we let murderers go if they killed a loved one because they are not a danger to the general public? Some crimes must be punished regardless of the person's current employment status or position.

gabrielshorn2013

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

NewMarketParent

@PDL

Keep moving the goalposts. Your orange god cannot escape consequences even though I am sure you would let him.

shiftless88

Piddle; remind me how many times the Republicans in the House voted to repeal Obamacare.

phydeaux994

piddle, we just went through 4 years of a Legislative Desert. Without the Prison Reform Bill, which had the full support of the Dems, nothing else except a HUGE TAX CUT FOR THE RICH was passed. How’s your Stock Portfolio doing???

MRS M

Choosing a name such as "blueline" implies a connection to, and a respect for, policing and law and order. Yet "blueline" is unable to make a connection which all of America saw play out on January 6th. That the former POS_POTUS incited an attack on the US Capitol, with life-threatening acts against the VP of the United States, members of Congress, and Capitol police. 5 Americans died. Since "blueline" can't accept these facts, he has to attack the process of justice itself. Funny for someone who wants to associate himself with law and order, except when applied to those of his own party's leadership. Attacking Jamie Raskin is the easy....and only...... way out for "blueline". So much for law, order, and honestly respecting the blue line.

olefool

Having endured the loss of a beloved young family member some time ago, I think I know grief, sorrow, regret and stagnation.... Shalom aleichem Jamie Raskin...

Blueline

What happened to Adam Schiff & his trove? I realiz re Raskin is a one-trick pony, but you would think that with everything else going on he could spend his time on something more productive.

Fredginrickey

Raskin, is not a one-trick pony, he’s highly respected by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. And holding the most dangerous, corrupt man in America accountable is in the country’s best interest. Cotton, aka Tehran Tom, didn’t he get exposed for lying about being an Army Ranger this week?

gabrielshorn2013

Raskin is very respected amongst his colleagues in both chambers. Off topic, but as for Tom Cotton, he did complete Ranger School, and was allowed to wear the Ranger tab. He did not serve at Ft. Benning, home of the 75th Ranger Regiment. The names sound similar, but the functions are different.

In July 2010, Cotton transferred to the Army Reserve (USAR). In May 2013, after almost 8 years of service, Cotton was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army. During his time in the service, Cotton completed two combat deployments overseas, was awarded a Bronze Star, two Army Commendation Medals, Combat Infantryman Badge, Ranger tab, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and Iraq Campaign Medal.[12][14][15] Cotton spent five years on active service.[16]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Cotton

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2021/01/24/you-shouldnt-be-calling-yourself-ranger-tom-cottons-military-service-under-scrutiny-fellow-army-vet.html

gabrielshorn2013

Fredginrickey, I couldn't find where Cotton ever made a claim of being a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment from Ft. Benning. Could you cite a reference where he did? Everything I found clearly said he went to Ranger School, and was entitled to wear the Ranger tab on his uniform. I provided you with some of those references above.

Fredginrickey

Cotton claimed to be “a US Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan” in numerous campaign ads. Simple google search, easily verified. Salon has a short article about it.

gabrielshorn2013

I am aware of what the Salon article said Fredginrickey. And for those salon-style articles there is one of these:

https://www.radio.com/connectingvets/news/opinions-analysis/is-tom-cotton-a-ranger

https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/01/salon-smears-tom-cotton/

Even the press and the military don't seem to have a distinction about who is called a "Ranger", although there certainly is a distinction in the two very different paths to become one, and wear the tab. Both paths lead to being called a "Ranger", just as your example of attending and passing law school and a bar exam affords one to be called a lawyer, whether or not you take it up as a profession. I know MDs that went through med school, but do not practice. They are nonetheless "Doctors". Maybe a more salient example is between a MD and a PhD. Both are "doctors", but only one has the legal ability to practice medicine.

Fredginrickey

Check out Military.Com. Unless you served with the 75th you’re not a Ranger. If you graduate from law school and don’t pass the Bar, you aren’t a Lawyer. If you graduate from Nursing School, and don’t pass the NCLEX, you’re not a Nurse. If you go to Ranger school, which anyone in the Army can attend, you get to wear a Ranger tab, that’s it. He knows it, you know it....he lied.

gabrielshorn2013

Well, that's your opinion fredginrickey. If you read the radio.com article (written for military folks), you will see that neither the military nor the press can come to an agreement on the term, and he gave prominent examples of recent events. The 75th might just be pi$$ing on trees to mark their territory too. If I get a PhD, can I still be called "doctor", even if I am not an MD?

bosco

"Holding the most dangerous, corrupt man in America accountable is in the country’s best interest. Biden, aka The Big Guy, didn’t he get exposed for lying about graduating at the top of his law school class?

threecents

Yah, It looks like Biden was caught lying about his class standing decades ago. You should remind us of that every week or so to remind us of the unending hypocrisy of the left. The Big Guy who is always spending money and living the lavish lifestyle. Did you hear he used an old White House emergency button to order Diet Cokes STAT? https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-diet-coke-button-oval/

Fredginrickey

Maybe, Big diff between law school and military service, “both sides”, right? If Tehran Tom had not lied about serving as a Ranger, in a Ranger unit, no big deal. Pompeo also lied about being a combat vet....don’t get me started on Cadet Chaos Von Bonespurs...

NewMarketParent

@reek

Did your guy release his taxes yet? That's an awfully long time to be under audit.

Did he ever release his transcript yet or did he sue so that no one would see what a complete imbecile of a student he was?

Please continue to throw rocks oh resident of the glass house.

Greg F

Blue, you seem to the the one trick pony commenter, with all things squarely aimed at protecting your orange monstrosity at all costs. Trump was the single most damaging force to this nation in terms of one individual and his actions practically since this country was founded. He has usurped the office for his personal gain and family gain above all other responsibilities. He has undermined the very foundation of democracy and principals on which this nation was founded, pushed away decades old alliances our nation has had wars to establish and protect, with millions dead in the process. And YOU want to protect that guy? A pu**y-grabbing pathological liar and narcissist that sat fiddling as things collapsed around him like Nero? Lies about stolen elections STILL being repeated by his followers and elected officials who pledged fealty to the wannabe king? I bet you thought ol' Chuck Manson was a nice guy too and was just misunderstood.

olefool

We already had our one trick pony for this year blueline, his name is Donald John Trump... Yer, ole one and done Donny....

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