Raskin chokes up during Trump impeachment speech

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In an emotional statement Tuesday at the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, Rep. Jamie Raskin recalled the terror experienced by lawmakers — and his own family — when a violent mob breached the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“They thought they were going to die,” Raskin, the Maryland Democrat leading the impeachment case against Trump, said on the Senate floor, describing how his youngest daughter, Tabitha, and his son-in-law, Hank, felt while they were barricaded inside the office of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer with Raskin’s chief of staff.

U.S. House lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) becomes emotional as he discusses his and his family's experiences inside the U.S. Capitol building during the siege on January 6 and his daughter subsequently telling him that she never wants to return to the building, as Raskin addresses the U.S. Senate at the start of the Senate's second impeachment trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump, on charges of inciting the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, on the floor of the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 9, 2021. (U.S. Senate TV/Handout via Reuters)

Raskin’s family was at the Capitol to observe the certification of the Electoral College vote. They were in Hoyer’s office when the mob breached the building, Raskin said Tuesday. Afraid that the mob would kill them, Raskin said his family “placed final texts and whispered phone calls.”

Raskin, meanwhile, was on the House floor when the rioters broke in and was unable to be with his family. He had just returned to Congress to count the votes following the funeral of his son, Tommy, who died by suicide in December.

Pro-Trump supporters

Trump supporters storming the Capitol on Jan. 6. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

“All around me people were calling their wives and their husbands, their loved ones, to say goodbye,” he said. “Members of Congress were removing their congressional pins so they wouldn’t be identified by the mob as they tried to escape the violence.”

Raskin said he remembers hearing “the sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram. The most haunting sound I’ve ever heard, and I will never forget it.”

When Raskin finally rejoined his family, he said he apologized to them and told his daughter that a riot would not happen again when she came back to the Capitol. It was then, Raskin said as he choked up, that she told him she did not “want to come back to the Capitol."

“Of all the terrible, brutal things I saw,” he said, “that one hit me the hardest.”


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