Today, I am going to wrap up the facts we know so far due to the committee investigating the insurrection.
Trump was told repeatedly by top DOJ officials that the conspiracy theories he and allies such as Rudy Giuliani were broadcasting constantly had no basis in fact. Each one was investigated and found to be, according to Attorney General Bill Barr, bull (or a word to that effect). There was no evidence of massive fraud in the election, and Trump lost fair and square. Unsurprisingly, Trump’s efforts to claim election fraud were thrown out by over 60 judges, and neither he, Giuliani, the academic John Eastman, or for that matter the pillow guy ever produced the evidence they claimed to have.
Eastman persuaded Trump (inaccurately) he could stay in office if VP Pence, as president of the Senate, threw out the electors from states Trump claimed were fraudulent and simply declared Trump the winner during the official vote count. Barring that, Pence could throw out the official electors and throw it back to those states, where Trump supporters had drawn up fake electors. Turns out Eastman didn’t think that ploy in itself would work; the goal was to disrupt the vote count so it did not take place by midnight as the constitution required. Pence unequivocally refused, and Trump knew he refused.
Therefore, Trump tried to pressure Pence into changing his mind by stirring up the protesters outside the Capitol that day. However, we now know that the resulting mayhem was NOT spontaneous, as viewers at home assumed. It had been carefully planned. Members of the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys had coordinated their activities the previous day and showed up at the Capitol police line at 10:30 a.m. - 90 minutes before Trump’s speech even started - and began the havoc. That way, when the larger mob - many of whom probably WERE spontaneously stirred up by Trump - arrived, the attack was already underway. The two groups led the way in a carefully directed assault, and over 2,000 swarmed inside the Capitol.
Trump was informed of the violence and was begged to say something to calm down his followers. Instead, he tweeted that Pence did not have the courage to do the right thing. Immediately, cries were heard from among the mob that Pence had caved and was a traitor. The attacking mob began chanting “Hang Mike Pence” and quickly built a gallows outside the Capitol. When Trump was informed the crowd was threatening to kill Pence, Trump said, “Maybe he deserves it.” Proud Boys who were arrested said that they would have killed Pence or Nancy Pelosi if they had found them.
For hours, Trump ignored pleas to mobilize the National guard to suppress the assault and rescue the people in the Capitol building. Instead, he watched the riot on TV at the White House and cheered the crowd on. Six people died as a result of the assault - and insurrectionists came within 40 feet of finding Pence. The committee has implied there may be evidence Trump’s campaign was in communication with the Proud Boys leading up to the fateful day -which makes the whole thing a conspiracy. Not a conspiracy THEORY -an actual conspiracy to commit sedition, which the Proud Boys are charged with.
The Oath Keepers / Proud Boys had a small armory stashed in a nearby motel room. Why did they not bring it? Because the weapons were to be used in the event Trump declared martial law as a result of the riot… or the murder of the VP or other leaders. This would be an excuse to stay in power. The implication is that Trump may have INTENDED Pence and others to be killed and held back on sending help for that reason. At the very least, the votes would not be counted, and the election result would not be official.
This is looking bad, folks.
--Troy D. Smith, a White County native, is a novelist and a history professor at Tennessee Tech. His words do not necessarily represent TTU.
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