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'They Thought They Were Going To Die': Raskin Recounts Family's Experience On Jan. 6

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., recounted his experience with his family as the Capitol was breached on Jan. 6.
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Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., recounted his experience with his family as the Capitol was breached on Jan. 6.

In emotional remarks, lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin detailed his experience during the Jan. 6 attack, including being separated from his family, who barricaded themselves in an office and hid under a desk.

His youngest daughter Tabitha, an algebra teacher, and his son-in-law Hank joined Raskin that day as he worked to ensure the Electoral College results would be tallied.

"It was the day after we buried her brother, our son Tommy, the saddest day of our lives," Raskin said.

Reporters in the chamber Tuesday noted that as Raskin spoke, lawmakers who were taking notes on the first day of the Senate trial fell silent and focused intently on him.

"The reason they came with me that Wednesday, Jan. 6, was because they wanted to be together with me in the middle of a devastating week for our family," he said.

They asked him, he recounted, whether it would be safe to attend, given that then-President Donald Trump was calling on his supporters to protest in Washington.

"I told them — of course it should be safe. This is the capital."

After delivering a speech on the floor that day, Raskin's daughter and son-in-law returned to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's office.

"By the time we learned about [the breach], it was too late. I couldn't get out there to be with him in that office, and all around me people were calling their wives and their husbands, their loved ones, to say goodbye," Raskin described.

He said his chief of staff, daughter and son-in-law barricaded themselves in Hoyer's office and hid under a desk, "placing what they thought were their final texts and whispered phone calls to say their goodbyes. They thought they were gonna die." Raskin's son-in-law Hank Kronick, who Raskin said had never been to the Capitol before the 6th, wrote his own account of the events of the day.

In a powerful moment, Raskin shared that once reunited, he apologized to his daughter.

"I told her how sorry I was and I promised her that it would not be like this again, the next time she came back to the Capitol with me. And you know what she said? She said Dad, I don't want to come back to the Capitol."

"Of all the terrible brutal things I saw, and I heard on that day, and since then, that one hit me the hardest."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.