Donald Trump incited an insurrection in the nation’s capitol that directly led to the death of a Capitol police officer and the GOP is likely to make good on his infamous brag.
In January 2016, then presidential candidate Trump stated during a campaign rally in Iowa: “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
Who knew he was being so modest.
House impeachment managers have drawn a direct line from Trump’s “Big Lie” about election fraud months before the Jan. 6 riot to the death of Capitol police officer Brian D. Sicknick at the hands of rioters.
Not only was Sicknick murdered, but Trump, by his actions, also led to the deaths of four others and tens of thousands of dollars in damages to the historic building.
Some 140 police officers were injured, some seriously.
Trump’s role inciting the mob, clearly makes him an accessory to murder.
An accessory is someone who is not present during the commission of the offense but who “assists, procures, encourages, or counsels the offender before the crime has been committed,” according to legal references.
In most jurisdictions the accessory must perform an act of assistance, and evidence of intention to facilitate the crime must be presented.
In an inflammatory speech, Trump set the stage for the insurrection and “lit the fuse,” as House managers argued, by exhorting his followers to march on the Capitol and “stop the steal.”
It was no coincidence Capitol Hill lawmakers were meeting to certify the results of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential win, a largely ceremonial function.
They were clearly Trump’s target. He wanted to “stop the transfer of power so that he could retain power, even though he had lost the election,” argued Rep. Joe Neguse, a member of the House impeachment team.
Neguse meticulously connected the dots between Trump’s “big lie” about the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 rally that provided the fodder for the insurrection.
“This clearly was not just one speech. It didn’t just happen,” he said.
It was part of a carefully planned, months-long effort with a very specific instruction: Show up on January 6th and get your people to fight the (election’s) certification. He incited it. It was foreseeable.”
By carrying out his plan, Trump knew or had to know that the potential for violence was high and would likely result in injuries and deaths.
Trump’s complicity in the events that unfolded were confirmed by his reaction to the riot and his refusal for at least two hours to stop the violence or call out the National Guard to aid police.
New revelations yesterday confirmed that Trump was aware the riot was underway, but engaged in a profanity laced argument with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
McCarthy pleaded with Trump to issue a statement calling off the rioters but was rebuffed.
“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Trump told McCarthy, according to a CNN report published Friday.
Trump’s lawyers did the best they could to muddy the waters raising procedural questions about the inquiry. But they did not address the evidence, or what the president knew, when.
They noted that the president called for a “peaceful and patriotic protest” during an 11,000-word speech, where he mentioned the word “fight” at least 20 times.
And that may be enough to give Republican senators a justification to acquit the president.
No matter what the evidence shows, Republicans let it be known, even before the trial began, that the would vote to acquit the former president.
A number of GOP senators such as Sen. Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell and others, have shown contempt for the proceeding through their inattentiveness.
A conviction would require a two-thirds vote, which means at least 17 Republicans would have to side with Democrats.
Right now, no more than five or six Republicans are leaning toward conviction.
The upshot is Trump really is getting away with murder. What’s more, nothing will stop him from running again and using the same tactics, should he lose.
By acquitting Trump, the GOP is ending a 200-year tradition at the heart of the nation’s democracy– the peaceful transfer of power.
Instead, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has set the new bar– “trial by combat.”