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Rep. Jamie Raskin on His Son’s Suicide, Jan. 6, and the Second Trump Impeachment – Mother Jones


Rep. Jamie Raskin on His Son’s Suicide, Jan. 6, and the Second Trump Impeachment – Mother Jones

Editor’s note: This interview first appeared in This Land, David Corn’s new newsletter. This Land is written by David twice a week and provides behind-the-scenes stories about politics and media; his unvarnished take on the events of the day; film, books, television, and music recommendations; interactive audience features; and more. Subscribing costs just $5 a month—but right now you can sign up for a free 30-day trial of This Land here.

On the last day of 2020, Tommy Raskin, the 25-year-old son of Rep. Jamie Raskin, ended his own life. Days later, Raskin was at the Capitol on January 6, with his daughter Hannah and the husband of his other daughter, Tabitha, for the certification of the electoral vote. The three lived through the harrowing hours, as Trump-inspired insurrectionists attacked Congress and tried to stop the transfer of power. These two traumas were distinct, one personal and intimate, the other with ramifications for an entire nation. Yet for Raskin, his wife, Sarah, and their daughters, these different nightmares were intertwined, each striking at and undermining core assumptions about life and their world. One could be broken by either.

Yet Raskin, amid the deepest grief, took on a weighty assignment: leading the House managers for the second impeachment of Donald Trump. That entailed devising the legal arguments and strategies for the trial in the Senate—and assuming the high-profile role as chief prosecutor. How to do that with the burden of immense suffering? The trial ended in a majority vote for conviction, 57 to 43, with seven Republicans finding Trump guilty, and the other members of the minority party essentially accepting Trump’s betrayal. That was 10 votes shy of the 67 votes required for a conviction but the largest bipartisan vote for an impeachment conviction in US history. Quite an accomplishment for a former constitutional law professor, especially under the horrific personal circumstances.

Raskin has written a poignant, sad, insightful, and compelling memoir of those weeks: Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy. It is a stunning work: a…

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