Rep. Jamie B. Raskin was Democrats’ lead impeachment messenger on Tuesday as the chamber approached an expected floor vote on the issue.
The Maryland Democrat testified for hours before the House Rules Committee, where he defended the Judiciary Committee’s vote last week to advance two articles of impeachment against President Trump. He stood in for Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), whose wife was reportedly ill.
Raskin serves on the 13-member Rules Committee, where he is chairman of the Subcommittee on Expedited Procedures.
Raskin, a former constitutional law professor, has been one of the most vocal House Democrats advocating for impeachment. He’s widely considered to be a contender to be a House manager in a Senate trial if the articles of impeachment advance to the upper chamber of Congress as expected. The floor vote is slated for Wednesday.
During the lengthy rules panel debate on Tuesday, Raskin was tasked with bolstering Democrats’ case while fending off complaints about an impeachment process that Republicans say was rigged against the president from the start.
“The Judiciary Committee is now in possession of overwhelming evidence that the president of the United States has committed high crimes and misdemeanors,” Raskin said.
The two articles of impeachment charge Trump with abusing power and obstructing Congress. The charges surround allegations that the president improperly pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate one of Trump’s political rivals ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Raskin described Trump’s actions as a “Ukraine shakedown,” and said that the “scheme to corrupt an American presidential election subordinated the democratic sovereignty of the people to the private political ambitions of one man, the president himself. It immediately placed the national security interests of the United States of America at risk and it continues to embroil the nation and our government in conflict.”
He also criticized Trump for directing a “wholesale, categorical and indiscriminate obstruction of this congressional impeachment investigation.”
Raskin lauded the courage of the civil servants who testified before the House in defiance of Trump, but warned that “the president’s aggressive and unprecedented resistance to congressional subpoenas for witnesses and documents is blatantly and dangerously unconstitutional.”
As Raskin was making the case for impeachment before the Rules Committee, where he sat alongside Judiciary ranking member Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Trump was sending a six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), blasting the impeachment process.
The letter ranged from Trump calling the charges against him “baseless,” to accusing House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) of being a serial liar, to boasting about his Electoral College victory in 2016, to ticking off a list of his accomplishments as president.
“More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials,” the president wrote.