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Trump should be tried for treason
Wednesday, 22 June 2022 11:39
By BILL PRESS
Syndicated Columnist

We’ve never seen anything like this week’s first public hearing of the House Select Committee on January 6. 

By any standards, it was a blockbuster event: The first House committee hearing produced like a Hollywood action movie. 

The first House committee hearing aired live in primetime, not only on cable news, but by all three major broadcast networks. 

And the first House committee investigating, not just some legislative proposal, but an attempt to overthrow the U.S. government.

After a year of hard work, interviewing over 1,000 witnesses and scouring 450,000 pages of documents, the committee clearly had one goal for this public hearing. It didn’t have to show us there was a violent assault on the Capitol on January 6 where property was destroyed, five police officers were killed, and lawmakers, including the vice president, had to run for their lives. We knew all of that.

The committee’s goal was to show that the man behind this attempt to overthrow the government of the United States was none other than the President of the United States himself. And it did so convincingly. 

In Congresswoman Liz Cheney’s memorable phrase, “Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.” 

And then, as the committee showed, once the attack on the Capitol was underway, Trump did nothing to stop it. In fact, Trump called it “the greatest movement in the history of our country.” And, over video of rioters beating Capitol police officers, Trump’s voice could be heard bragging about all “the love in the air.”

Very powerfully, to make its case against Trump, the committee turned to a powerful set of witnesses: members of Donald Trump’s own White House. 

Top Trump political aide Jason Miller testified that Trump knew weeks ahead of time he was going to lose the election. Former Attorney General Bill Barr dismissed Trump’s claim of massive voter fraud as “bullshit.” 

First Daughter Ivanka Trump said she believed Barr, not her father. And Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley confirmed that Trump did not call the Pentagon on January 6 for help in stopping the violence. They only heard from Mike Pence, who was trapped under the Capitol on a loading dock as protestors chanted: “Hang, Mike Pence.”

And what was Trump’s reaction? In one of the most stunning revelations of the hearing, Trump was quoted as telling White House staffers: “Maybe our supporters have the right idea. Mike Pence deserves it.”

The committee also wisely limited in-person testimony to two witnesses on the front lines. Documentary filmmaker Nick Quested established that this was no “spontaneous” riot. 

He showed footage of leaders of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers meeting the night before and scoping out the Capitol Building early on January 6, before Trump’s rally on the Ellipse had even begun. Members of both groups were later shown affirming that they came to D.C. on January 6 because Trump invited them.

And in the evening’s most dramatic moment, Capitol police officer Caroline Edwards described being assaulted by the mob and knocked unconscious, then getting up and jumping back in action to protect the Capitol. “I was slipping on people’s blood,” she told the committee. “It was carnage. It was chaos.”

In the end, it was Cheney again who brought it all back to Donald Trump: “All Americans should keep in mind this fact. On the morning of January 6, President Donald Trump’s intention was to remain President of the United States, despite the lawful outcome of the 2020 election and in violation of his constitutional obligation to relinquish power. Over multiple months, Donald Trump oversaw and coordinated a sophisticated, seven-part plan to overturn the presidential election and prevent the transfer of presidential power.” That sacred transfer of power, Cheney added, “has been honored by every American president – except one.”

And that raises the most important, yet unanswered, question raised by the committee: What happens next? 

The committee cannot stop at making the case against Trump without calling on the Justice Department to act. 

And the Justice Department cannot stop without holding Trump accountable for his criminal conduct.

We know, without a doubt, that Donald Trump knew he lost the election, yet lied about it, and orchestrated an effort to overturn the election and overthrow the United States government, summoning his supporters to Washington on January 6 to stage a bloody assault on the U.S. Capitol.

How much more evidence does Attorney General Merrick Garland need? Donald Trump should be tried for treason.
© 2022 Tribune Content Agency, LLC
(Bill Press, a liberal, is host of The BillPressPod, and author of 10 books, including: “From the Left: My Life in the Crossfire.” His email address is: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Readers may also follow him on Twitter @billpresspod.)
 



 


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