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Democrat Representative Raskin Defends Biden After DOJ Statement

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


If Democrats have one rule they stick to, it is that the rules do not apply to them.

Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the House Jan. 6 select committee, spoke to CNN host Anderson Cooper on Friday and made excuses for why what Joe Biden said about prosecuting those who do not comply with Congressional subpoenas is not the same as things Donald Trump did as president, The Washington Examiner reported.

“The first thing he said was that the committee should aggressively enforce our right to get people’s testimony and to get the documents we’ve subpoenaed, and there is no problem with that,” the Democrat said.

“I also don’t have a problem with him, as a citizen like me, saying he hopes the Department of Justice will aggressively enforce the law, so people don’t get away with committing crimes like this,” he said.

“Obviously, four years of Donald Trump has made everybody a little bit rusty in terms of executive branch relationships with the president and law enforcement in the Department of Justice, and I don’t think he was telling the Department of Justice what to do, but they will make their own decision, and we have confidence that the attorney general will do the right thing and DOJ will make the right decision,” he said.

But Rep. Raskin’s comments are contrary to those of Biden’s own Department of Justice who issued a stunning push back to what Biden said.

As he was outside the White House on Friday a CNN reporter asked him if those people, like former White House chief strategist Bannon, should be prosecuted.

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“Mr. President, what’s your message to people who defy Congressional subpoenas on the January 6 committee?” the reporter said.

“I hope that the committee goes after them and holds them accountable criminally,” he said.

“Should they be prosecuted by the Justice Department?” the reporter pressed.

“I do, yes,” the president said.

The Department of Justice was not thrilled with the president’s statement and DOJ spokesperson Anthony Coley made it known that the department will not be told what to do.

“The Department of Justice will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law. Period. Full stop,” he said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki attempted to fix Biden’s message on Twitter.

“As @potus has said many times, January 6th was one of the darkest days in our democracy. He supports the work of the committee and the independent role of the Department of Justice to make any decisions about prosecutions,” she said.

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Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist for President Donald Trump, is now the subject of the Democrats’ political witch hunt.

Unable or unwilling, so far, to go for Trump himself and issue him a subpoena they have trained their focus on Bannon, the host of the hugely popular “War Room” podcast.

It could be because Bannon hosts the popular show and they fear him as much as they fear Trump, or it could be that they believe they have a real case.

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But even CNN believes that by possibly holding Bannon in criminal contempt for not complying with the subpoena from Congress it could backfire on the Democrats.

Action that will unfold next week against the ex-President’s ideological soul mate is intended as a warning sign to those in Trump’s wider orbit. And the chairman of the January 6 committee, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, warned on CNN that no one is “off limits” in terms of being compelled to testify — including Trump himself.

The panel is determined to use every method possible to find the truth about the lead-up to a pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol on January 6. But the committee’s efforts may also end up emphasizing a dark truth revealed by Trump’s time in power — and highlighting the increasing threat for the future, too — as Trump relentlessly attacks US democratic institutions ahead of a possible 2024 White House bid.

Attempts to hold the former President’s inner circle accountable often fall short and end up having the unintended effect of further politicizing the vital institutions of government. This committee’s effort will face exactly the same kind of obstruction and intransigence as previous investigations of the former commander in chief meant to subject him to the checks and balances of the US constitutional system.

In a wider sense, the coming legal duel will also underline how the constitutional promise of oversight has been constantly shredded by Trump both in and out of power. Bannon never hid his desire to tear down the rules set by Washington’s establishment, so he may relish the challenge and the chance to launch a political cause célèbre.

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