Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said Donald Trump's use of far-right supporters to promote fear among Democrats and non-MAGA Republicans could be linked to Solomon Pena, a 2022 Republican candidate for the New Mexico state House who's accused of shooting attacks on six Democratic lawmakers.
Speaking to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Monday, Raskin explained that the Jan. 6 committee warned that this type of "dangerous extremism" being "embraced as part of the political system" would persist if action wasn't taken.
"We know that Donald Trump used dangerous extremists for his own purposes on Jan. 6th., but they have used him as well and have been brought into the political system," said Raskin. "And now we're ending up with people like George Santos or Lauren Boebert or Solomon Pena in New Mexico as actual Republican nominees for Congress. I mean, it's an extraordinary thing. So, if you have a policy of no enemies on the right, you are going to get people entering into public office and entering into political campaigns who behave in such ways."
Pena was among those who participated in the Jan. 6 attack and proclaimed himself the MAGA king on his Twitter account.
Last year, he lost his challenge for a seat in the state legislature and insisted that the race had been rigged. He was arrested in Albuquerque on Jan. 16 and accused of taking part in shootings at the homes of Democratic lawmakers.
"When you say no enemies on the right, do you mean that's the internal dynamic within Republican circles as pertains to extremism?" Maddow asked.
Raskin agreed, saying it appeared it was Donald Trump's attitude.
"Essentially, if you were willing to support Trump, it didn't make any difference if you were a Holocaust revisionist, if you were marching in Charlottesville, if you were a liar, a cheat, a swindler, what have you," he explained. "And when Kevin McCarthy decided to embrace Trumpism, he by definition, embraced that credo too. The chickens are coming home to roost with people like George Santos and Lauren Boebert and this guy in New Mexico. I mean a political party has got to be big and a big tent, but it really can't stand for dangerous extremists and criminals and other elements like that, that will use electoral politics for their own purposes, whether they're financial, ideological or political in an extremist sense."
Maddow noted that the new Republican Congress is trying to stage its own investigation of the Justice Department, FBI, and Homeland Security for what they say was weaponizing the federal government. She asked Raskin if this is really just the GOP's attempt to target the FBI and the DOJ and intimidate them.
"Well, that's one of the central purposes of it. You know, you have a lot of people who were involved at different levels in the Jan. 6th attempted political coup against the vice president, against Congress, and the insurrection which stormed the Capitol," said Raskin. "A lot of those people are involved, which is why we are calling the new committee the Select Committee on Insurrection Protection because a lot of these people are in it to try to make sure they don't get investigated and they don't get prosecuted."
He described it as a bigger issue than just the Jan. 6 probe, and it's the GOP's attempt to ensure "there's no neutral, objective law enforcement that comes to their door for any crimes that may have been committed."
See the full interview below or at the link here: