Testimony from the House select committee investigating the assault on the U.S. Capitol confirms that the former president sought to lead a self-coup d’état
On the morning he asked his supporters to march to the Capitol, Donald Trump was aware that many were armed. He was told this by the police. On Jan. 6, 2021, he attempted to go with them to disrupt the joint session of the U.S. Congress. When he was prevented from doing so for security reasons by Secret Service agents, he confronted them. He then watched on television from the White House as thousands of people stormed the Capitol — and did nothing. When he was told that the mob wanted to “hang” his vice president, Mike Pence, Trump replied that he “deserves it.” These details were revealed on television by Cassidy Hutchinson (an aide who worked a few meters from the Oval Office) before the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. It is the latest and most explosive testimony from a commission that, during the month of June, completely stripped Trump of any possible justification for his actions and portrayed him, even according to his own inner circle, as an isolated and unhinged liar.
The Justice Department’s investigation has already resulted in more than 800 arrests and more than 300 convictions. To charge Trump or his entourage with these crimes, the prosecution requires evidence that he intended to launch the armed mob at the Capitol and that it was not a spontaneous event. Although the House select committee has not yet decided whether to refer its findings to the attorney general’s office, the narrative has managed to take hold in the six televised sessions. There is no room for confusion: Everything that has happened since the election defeat was part of a plan not to hand over power. It was led by Trump and sustained by scattered supporters who spurred on the former president. The legal battle, discredited by more than 60 courts, was engineered by three advisers: John Eastman, Peter Navarro and Rudy Giuliani. On the political level, a group of Republicans shamelessly spread lies about the election. And, finally, on the appointed day, violent supremacists (The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers) led an armed uprising executed by thousands of acolytes who, summoned by Trump, flocked to Washington. Several of these key figures attempted to obtain a presidential pardon from Trump in the days following the events in order to shield themselves from justice. There can be no greater admission of guilt.
All involved were aware that there was no basis for disputing the election result. In another unprecedented moment, Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, declared that the alleged election theft was “a hoax.” The former president’s own daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, agreed that there was no fraud. He was told the same by campaign lawyers, White House lawyers, his own campaign manager and his election data specialist. In Barr’s words, the president was not interested “in what the actual facts were,” only in the voices of the cabal of conspirators who irresponsibly gilded his ego to the point of putting democracy itself in peril. Almost all the questions have already been answered. It only remains for justice to act.