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Donald Trump's First Amendment defense is 'deranged,' Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin says

Ken Tran

WASHINGTON — Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., slammed former President Donald Trump’s legal defense in his criminal case over the 2020 election as “deranged.” 

A former member of the now-dissolved House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, Raskin went after John Lauro, one of the attorneys representing Trump, for saying a “technical violation” of the Constitution is not a violation of criminal law.

“Our Constitution is designed to stop people from trying to overthrow elections and trying to overthrow the government,” Raskin, a former constitutional law professor, told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But in any event, there's a whole apparatus of criminal law which is in place to enforce this constitutional principle. That's what Donald Trump is charged with violating.”

The sprawling indictment over Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election alleges Trump knowingly spread false claims of election fraud as part of his strategy to subvert his loss. Trump’s lawyers have argued the First Amendment protects him from the charges outlined against the former president.

“That’s deranged. That is a deranged argument,” Raskin said. The Jan. 6 committee, the Maryland lawmaker said, saw testimony and evidence that shows Trump was aware there were no credible claims of fraud in the 2020 election. 

Raskin pointed to Trump’s second impeachment trial in 2021, where the Senate, which requires a two-thirds vote to convict the accused, voted to acquit Trump 57-43. Back then, Raskin claimed, Trump escaped the rule of law, but now he has “met his match.”

“I think that he's met his match now in a special counsel who is holding him to the letter of the criminal law,” Raskin said.

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Washington, DC, USA. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., testifies during the first hearing of the newly formed Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government on February 9, 2023 in Washington.
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