Donald Trump has announced that he will be arrested and tried for the assault on the Capitol. The Prosecutor’s Office has not yet revealed what he is accused of, but the investigation commission of January 6, 2021 already recommended to process it for various offenses including inciting and supporting an insurrection, conspiring against the United States, obstruction and misrepresentation.
The biggest problem for the former president is that the evidence against him is overwhelming. Trump pushed his supporters to go to Congress that day with a very clear objective: to prevent his electoral defeat from being certified and thus be able to illegally perpetuate himself in power.
Later, while watching the invasion in all its violence on television, he refused to send any help and also to ask his supporters to abandon the assault. Finally, he defended the culprits and torpedoed the investigation. Everything is extensively documented.RELATED
a premeditated act
Trump could not have been caught by surprise by the assault. He himself summoned his followers in Washington on the 6th (“Come on, it’s going to be wild!”) and the same specifically told them that morning to head towards the Capitol: “If you don’t fight like hell, you won’t have a country. We are going to go down Pennsylvania Avenue and we are going to go to the Capitol.”
He did not hide for a moment that the goal was to intimidate lawmakers. His last words to the crowd were: “We are going to give him the pride and courage to take back our country. Let’s go down Pennsylvania Avenue.”
It is also important to know that it was not an outburst, but a premeditated act: since his defeat at the polls, the chief of staff feared that Trump tried to carry out a coup and his main advisers knew that on January 6 he wanted to go personally to Congress with his people.
Of course, they also knew what was at stake: Before Trump left the White House, his advisers they lamented that “they were going to charge them with every imaginable crime” and the then-president considered including in his speech a promise of pardon for supporters who got into trouble for going to the Capitol.
In fact, as confirmed by Trump himselfThe only reason he didn’t personally go to the Capitol that day was because his Secret Service bodyguards wouldn’t let him. One of his former advisers in the White House stated that almost came to blows with the head of his security service when he told him that they could not take him there because it was impossible to guarantee his protection.
The testimony of that adviser It is also key in that it indicates that Trump was perfectly aware of the risk that that crowd posed. The former president knew before his speech that many of his supporters were armed to the teeth: they had preferred not to enter the fenced area where he was going to speak so as not to go through the Secret Service metal detectors and have their weapons seized.
“I don’t give a shit if they’re carrying guns,” Trump said, according to his adviser, “they’re not here to hurt me, take down the f***ing detectors.”
According to many of the assailants, Trump’s speech that morning was for them. a direct order to take the Capitol. He explained to them that the then vice president, Mike Pence, had it in his power to “stop the robbery” by annulling the electoral result, thanks to the fact that he presided over the plenary session of Congress that had to certify the winner.
At the same time, the crowd began to receive the news that Pence had decided to stay within the law and do no such thing. It was the end, the defeat. Biden was going to be president, unless they “went down Pennsylvania Avenue” to stop him, as his leader had requested.
Trump saw it all on TV
At that time, Trump was already in a situation that came very close to the offense of “obstructing an official proceeding” and “conspiring to defraud the United States.”
Also perhaps “inciting an insurrection”, although the worst part of the crime of “aiding an insurrection” was yet to come and began just after 1:00 p.m. local time on January 6, when a grumpy Trump returned to the White House. As he walked through the door, one of his aides told him that there were protesters skipping security controls and trying to force their way into Congress, which was in session certifying the electoral result.
During the next three hours, the ex-president attended the assault on the democratic parliament of the country he presided over without taking any action: he saw it all on television, but refused to ask his supporters to leave the Capitol and did not lead the government’s response to a armed insurrection.
For reasons that are not very clear, during those hours the White House call records are not kept and there are no photos of the former president, since he was prohibited from approaching the official photographer who must follow his every move. What we know about what Trump did and did not do during the crisis is thanks to witnesses who spoke to the commission of inquiry, messages from some senior officials, and his relentless activity on social media.
We know that he was “in a good mood” while his supporters fought with the police protecting the building and that the shouts of “let’s hang Mike Pence” he especially liked. We know that different advisors, in addition to his sons, tried for more than three hours to convince him over and over again to publicly ask his family to leave the Capitol. We also know that he never contacted the director of the FBI or his Ministers of Security or Defense to draw up a plan to defend legality.
At 2:00 p.m. local time, with the mob already inside the building and senators and congressmen from both parties running for their lives, Trump was tweeting a snippet of his speech from that morning. Shortly before 2:30 p.m., when his vice president had already had to be evacuated along with his family, with the violent on his heels, Trump tweeted again, putting him even more on target: “Mike Pence has not had the courage to do what had to be done to protect our country.”
Trump watched television, but also had direct testimonies. He spoke on the phone with some legislators from his party who were experiencing everything from the inside, but he was still aware of his electoral conspiracy.
In a particularly tense conversation with the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, Trump tried to tell him that the violent ones were infiltrated left-wing extremists, first, and then, he clearly sided with the assailants: “Do you know what I see, Kevin? I see people who are more angry than you about the election, people who love Trump more than you do.”
Calls and messages piled up on his chief of staff’s phone, coming mostly from people horrified by what they were seeing: “He has to stop it”, “people are going to die”, “he has to do something now”… but Trump only agreed during the first hours to tweet a request to his people to “remain peaceful” and demanded “respect” for the police.
At 3:00 p.m. local time, half the world was already watching the most extreme Trump supporters enter the Senate, taking selfies, destroying offices and stealing furniture. The Capitol police had also had to shoot a protester when she tried to go through a door to approach the congressmen.
The Executive had finally ordered the deployment of the National Guard in Washington, but Trump did not participate in the decision. Finally, the former president stopped watching TV and went out to the White House garden to record a video for your faithful. His advisers had warned him that if he did not do so, his own government could activate legal proceedings to disable him.
It took him three attempts and he did not hesitate to include a declaration of love: “This election has been a fraud, but we cannot play the game of these people. We need peace, so go home. We love you, you are very special”.
Ever since he reluctantly asked his people to go home, Trump has stood up for them. Even on the same afternoon of January 6, while hundreds of police and National Guard soldiers were fighting to regain control of the Capitol, the former president tweeted (through his later suspended account): “These are the things that happen when they rip unceremoniously a sacred and bulky victory to some great patriots who have been unfairly mistreated for so long. Go home with love and peace. Remember this day forever!”
Trump did not even fully stop his attempted coup. Even with legislators having experienced the assault firsthand, his team continued to call them to try to get them to vote against certifying Biden’s victory. He did not succeed, after 03:00 in the morning local time, Congress gave the green light to the results and set the final expiration date for his mandate.
Since then, from time to time, Trump has tried to make us believe that the violence was the work of far-left “infiltrators”, but he has progressively moved towards glorifying muggers: promises pardons, raises money for your legal expenses and mentions them at his rallies. According to him, even those convicted of serious acts of violence against the police are heroic political persecutors.
He has also discreetly tried to dodge his own responsibilities. When her former adviser Cassy Hutchinson went to testify before the commission of inquiry on January 6, she received a message that said: “He knows that you are loyal and that you will do the right thing when you go.” Her testimony, however, was so damaging to Trump that he quickly went on to discredit her as “ridiculous” and “loudmouth.”
His version may be key to convicting the former president for some of the crimes that he probably committed and for which he is now going to be tried. Also to charge him with new charges that may be included in the indictment, such as “intimidating or assaulting members of Congress”, something that, in light of the facts, it seems evident that Trump did yes or yes.