Reprinted with permission from DC Report
The violent mob Donald Trump sent to attack and loot our Capitol receded during the night, but his efforts to overthrow our government continue. Trump signaled in a Tweet that even after he leaves office his criminally seditious behavior will persist.
This is "only the beginning of the fight to make America Great Again!" Trump declared at 3:49 a.m. Thursday. (An aide tweeted his message after Twitter locked Trump's own account for spreading dangerous lies.)
While Trump's middle of the night statement also promised a peaceful transition of power when Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20, it came without a critical word about the chaos and violence Wednesday by fanatical Trumpists in California, Kansas, Georgia, Oregon, Washington, and Utah.
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, among others, defended or excused Trump's solicitation of mob violence. Eight senators and a majority of House Republicans voted to reject the certified election results from two states. Hawley should be ousted by the rest of the Senate, not the least because Hawley gave a raised fist in solidarity with the mob as he entered the Capitol Wednesday.
Support for Rioters
Trump's baseless claims that he won by a landslide in November—for which he produced no evidence in 60 failed lawsuits—are believed by a large share of Republicans. A poll during the siege found that 45% of Republicans support the mob attack while more than two-thirds of the GOP believe the violence and looting pose no threat to our democracy.
If other polls support this finding it is a powerful measure of how much enduring damage Trump has inflicted on our democracy by promoting disrespect for the rule of law. That Republicans, of all people, would support lawlessness and violence after decades of "law and order" sloganeering shows their fervor for authoritarian rule.
Propaganda favoring Trump plays a major role in the willingness of many Republicans to excuse Trump's criminal behavior and contemptuous violation of his oath of office.
Primetime hosts on Rupert Murdoch's Fox News repeatedly told the lie Wednesday evening that Capitol invaders were not Trumpist thugs, but Antifa posing as Trump supporters or at least some of them were Antifa. Fox News even posted a story excusing Trump's attempted coup. Fox politics writer Brooke Singman wrote:
"Trump said 'these are the things and events that happen,' referring to violent protests that sent the U.S. Capitol Building into lockdown when a 'landslide victory' is 'vicously [sic] stripped away from great patriots,' while urging America to 'remember this day forever'. "
Trump's remarks at the rally, where he told the mob to go to the Capitol while he headed in the other direction to the security of the White House, make him liable for prosecution for at least three federal crimes: inciting insurrection, sedition and advocating the violent overthrow of the government. He could be liable for criminal conspiracy charges and local District of Columbia criminal charges.
Adding to the liability for criminal charges over the attack were the words used to rile up the crowd by his son Don Jr. and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who called for "trial by combat."
While some Capitol Police engaged in combat with the attackers, and one lone uniformed agent was forced to retreat up stairways as a menacing crowd closed in on him, some Capitol Police held doors open for the invaders and others smiled at them, video showed.
Had the invaders been Black instead of white it is likely the attack would have been met with batons, handcuffs and even indiscriminate gunfire by Capitol Police. As CNN reporter Omar Jimenez tweeted: "I saw more arrests during protests in Minneapolis this summer than I have watching people storm the US Capitol."
Racists In The Capitol Police?
That conduct raises questions about whether racist and fascist groups have infiltrated the Capitol Police, just as they have many local and state police agencies.
Extensive video, including Congressional security cameras, can be used to identify the perpetrators of the first sacking of our Capitol since the British attacked in 1814. Every one of these insurrectionists must be identified, arrested, indicted, tried and if convicted given long prison sentences.
The most important question that should be asked of Merrick Garland, the federal appeals court judge Biden is nominating to be attorney general, is whether he will commit to ensuring the prosecution of every one of these criminals.
Other than making deals to leverage some perpetrators into admitting guilt to the most serious crimes in return for very slight reductions in sentences, these enemies of America should be shown no mercy by our Justice Department. They also should all be tried in Washington, D.C., where they committed their many felonies.
A variety of actions by Trumpists from Atlanta to the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday showed how deeply their desire to overthrow our government permeates American society. Posing as patriots, these people spout conspiracy theories, make remarks showing they lack even a junior high school civics understanding of our Constitution, and many call for violence against minorities, notably Muslims and Black Americans.
Some of what these American brown shirts did Wednesday:
- Armed Trumpists marshaled outside the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City.
- In Sacramento police arrested 12 Trumpists for illegal possession of pepper spray during protests at the California State Capitol.
- In Salem, Ore., Trump's Proud Boy thugs fought outside the state Capitol, prompting police to declare an unlawful assembly. A woman burned in effigy Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat.
- In Olympia, Wash., Trumpist thugs broke down the fence at the governor's official mansion while Gov. Jay Inslee and his family were inside.
- In Atlanta, armed Trump thugs gathered outside the Capitol, prompting state police to hustle Brad Raffensperger, the top state elections official, out of the building, partly out of concern about the presence of a former KKK leader who now directs one of Trump's faux patriot support groups. Officials in Fulton County, which surrounds much of Atlanta, suspended vote counting because of safety concerns.
- Trump's thugs also harassed random people. In Los Angeles, a Black woman walking down the street was surrounded by a score of Trump's thugs who menacingly demanded she declare who she voted for in the November elections.
- In Topeka, Kansas some demonstrators, echoing Trump's baseless claims he really won the November election by a landslide, entered the state Capitol, but were peaceful.
- On an American Airlines flight from Texas to Washington, "flight attendants are struggling to control a plane full of Trump supporters as they display a pro-Trump projection and harass others passengers bound for D.C.," freelance journalist Maranie R. Staab reported, posting a video to authenticate her story.
That a poll found many Trumpers support the insurrection Wednesday is not surprising if they rely only on supposed new organizations that act as propaganda arms of Team Trump.
Fox News hosts on Wednesday evening described the violent mob not as Trump supporters, but leftists posing as Trumpists, a conspiracy theory with even less factual basis than Trump's delusional claims of election fraud.
What Trump made clear early Thursday morning is that after his term ends on Jan. 20, he will continue his efforts to overthrow the government he swore on oath to defend.
The question of the day is what Democrats, now that they control the House, Senate and White House, will do to protect our democracy? Will they decide to let bygones be bygones and move ahead, or will they do their duty and bring Trump and those who committed crimes on his behalf to justice?