D.C. attorney general prepares for protests over Electoral College

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District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine is preparing for another round of protests in the nation’s capital next week, when supporters of President Trump are expected to travel to Washington to protest Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory in the 2020 presidential election.

“My level of anxiety is high. My preparation is even more intense than that,” Racine told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett in this week’s episode of “The Takeout” podcast. Racine is worried the far-right, white supremacist group known as the “Proud Boys” will return to the District and “pick fights, create damage, damage property, and then act in a very threatening way” towards historic Black institutions in the city like the group did in mid-December 2020.

“[President Trump] literally really has given breath, fresh air and encouragement to hate groups. Hate is up dramatically since the president came into office,” Racine added.

Racine also advocated for Congress to grant statehood to Washington, D.C. 

“If you believe in the fight at the Boston Tea Party, no taxation without representation, then you should be an ardent supporter of D.C. statehood.” Racine said. 

He said D.C. statehood shouldn’t be treated as a partisan issue — it would likely add two Democratic senators and one Democratic congressperson —  but instead an exercise in democracy. 

“Our system works when we respect people equally and don’t make distinctions just based on politics,” Racine said. “The idea that Democrats should be denied an opportunity just because they’re Democrats is as offensive as the idea that Republicans should be denied an opportunity because they’re Republicans.”

Racine, who is president of the National Association of Attorneys General, also called the lawsuit brought to the U.S. Supreme Court by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and 17 other Republican attorneys general contesting the 2020 election results “frivolous,” but said it was important not to vilify the attorneys general for signing on to the lawsuit.

“[Those attorneys general] are in a tough place. They’ve got a president of the United States who has a hard core constituent group who won’t hesitate to run people against them, and he’s essentially putting withering pressure on them to yield,” Racine said, adding that he was willing to put aside partisan differences in 2021. “I’m ready to shake their hand once we get on the other side of President Biden’s inauguration and see if we can do some work together. That’s what our country needs.”


Highlights:

  • Racine on President Trump and racial divisiveness: “The facts are that with respect to President Trump, he literally really has given breath, fresh air and encouragement to hate groups. Hate is up dramatically since the president came into office.”

  • Criminal justice reform: “What we’ve got to do is really narrow the door, the front door of the criminal justice system and only bring in to the jails those people who are a danger to you, me and our community…No person because of their race or because of their class should be held to a different standard in our criminal law. “

  • Pro-Trump protests expected in Washington on January 6: “My level of anxiety is high. My preparation is even more intense than that.”

  • D.C. statehood: “If you believe in the fight at the Boston Tea Party, no taxation without representation, then you should be an ardent supporter of D.C. statehood…There’s no reason why the District of Columbia should not be a state and have all those benefits, including two US senators and a congressperson who can vote in the House.

For more of Major’s conversation with Racine, download “The Takeout” podcast on Art19, iTunesGooglePlaySpotify and Stitcher. New episodes are available every Friday morning. Also, you can watch “The Takeout” on CBSN Friday at 5pm, 9pm, and 12am ET and Saturday at 1pm, 9pm, and 12am ET. For a full archive of “The Takeout” episodes, visit www.takeoutpodcast.com. And you can listen to “The Takeout” on select CBS News Radio affiliates (check your local listings).  

Producers: Arden Farhi, Jamie Benson, Sara Cook and Eleanor Watson
CBSN Production: Eric Soussanin, Julia Boccagno and Grace Segers
Show email: [email protected]
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