Capitol Attack Committee Blames Trump for Instigating ‘Overtly Homicidal’ Plan for Jan. 6 | International

Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, in his recorded testimony before the commission of the attack on the Capitol, issued this Tuesday in Washington.
Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, in his recorded testimony before the commission of the attack on the Capitol, issued this Tuesday in Washington.SAUL LOEB (AFP)

The competition is, without a doubt, very tough, but the meeting on the night of December 18, 2020 in the Oval Office takes the award for “the most insane of the Donald Trump presidency.” It was possible to reach such a blunt conclusion after hearing the conclusions presented in Washington on Tuesday, during the seventh session of the Congressional commission investigating the attack on Capitol Hill. That meeting was convened urgently, and it was attended by people from the close circle of the still president, such as one of his campaign lawyers, Sidney Powell, the former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, or General Michael Flynn, who was then a counselor to National security. Several of his advisers from within the White House joined the march, including Pat Cipollone, whose testimony, taken behind closed doors last Friday, has provided new data to the investigation.

There were shouts, insults, and the group moved around the White House complex, from one wing, the west, to the other, in the heat of a discussion that pitted two sides against each other: those who defended that the election of the previous November it had been stolen by the Democrats, with the help of countries like Iran, China or Venezuela, and those officials, Cipollone among others, who tried to convince Trump of the “nonsense” of those theories. Three days earlier, even the leader of the Republicans in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, had accepted defeat. Little did Trump care about that… and everything else. At the end of the White House meeting, one of his uncontrollable tweets did the rest, instigating, according to the committee, an “openly homicidal” plan for January 6 among his most radical supporters.

During this Tuesday’s hearing, which has served the commission to establish the links of the former president and his circle with groups such as the Oath Keepers (Guardians of the oath) or the Proud Boys (Proud Boys), a recorded testimony has been projected behind another from people close to the tycoon, including his daughter Ivanka or members of Giuliani’s legal team, who repeatedly told him they didn’t believe such unfounded election-stealing theories. Members of both extremist organizations face severe penalties for their participation in the assault on the seat of American democracy, as part of the parallel investigation being carried out by the Department of Justice into the events of January 6.

At that meeting on December 18, vividly recreated in a seven-minute montage of taped interviews, the still president came close to issuing a decree that would have empowered a special counselor, at the time, Sidney Powell, to seize vote to recount the ballots. Common sense prevailed and in the end a decision was not made that would have been without precedent. “This is not how we do things in the United States,” Cipollone told the committee during an eight-hour confession, who has already joined the young Cassidy Hutchinson, who testified a couple of weeks ago, on the list of “witnesses.” explosives” of this complex process. Cipollone was, to paraphrase the famous song from the musical hamiltonabout one of the founding fathers, the man who “was always in the room” in those chaotic weeks at the end of the Trump presidency, hence the importance that he has finally agreed to collaborate.

Once the meeting ended, after midnight, Trump, annoyed with the opposition of his most complete collaborators (“You see what I have to tolerate; I have to deal with these people every day,” he lamented to Powell, who replied that if for her it was “I would fire them and escort them out”) he did what he knew best: tweeting at dawn. He sent a message “that changed the course of history in our country”, as defined by the Maryland Democrat, Jamie Raskin, one of the most prominent members of the committee. Written in the unmistakable and nervous Trumpian literary style, it concluded with these words: “Great protest in [Washington] DC on January 6. Be there. It will be wild.” And the rest, in effect, is part of the darkest history of the United States. That day in January, the tycoon gave a rally in the capital, harangued the mob despite the fact that, according to what Hutchinson revealed in his session, he knew that she was armed. He encouraged them to go to the Capitol, which they seized by force in an act of extreme violence, and wanted to accompany them despite being advised against it by the members of the secret service in charge of his security that day.

The commission has shared with those present in the solemn Cannon Room a string of terrifying videos taken from the darkest corners of the Internet, in which the extremists who picked up Trump’s gauntlet spoke openly of killing Democrats and going armed and with bulletproof vests to the capital. “It became an openly homicidal invitation. They talked about celebrating a ‘red wedding’, which in popular culture is used to speak in code of a massacre”, explained Raskin, who has been one of the most active members of the commission, in part, for tragically personal reasons. His son Tommy committed suicide on the morning of New Year’s Eve 2020. A few days later he had to make an effort to attend the certification process of the new president in the Capitol on January 6 along with his wife and one of the two other daughters of his. The three, with the trauma still fresh, lived in the first person a few hours in which it seemed that the mass was going to end their lives. “I lost a son and I was about to lose a democracy,” he explained in February in an interview with EL PAÍS. The other protagonist has been Florida representative Stephanie Murphy, who is among the nine congressmen (seven Democrats and two Republicans) who have spent more than a year collecting evidence and interviewing people close to Trump in those days.

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In its opening speech, one of the two Republicans on the commission, Liz Cheney, explained that they had noticed a “change in attitude” among the witnesses. “They have gone from trying to deny and delay our work to adopting the argument that the president was manipulated by people outside his Administration, who persuaded him to ignore his closest advisers to the point of rendering him incapable of knowing right from wrong. ”, said Cheney, who added that this strategy seeks to exculpate Trump and hang the owl “on people like John Eastman, Sidney Powell or Congressman Scott Perry”, the “group of crazy people”.

“This, of course, makes no sense,” added the representative from Wyoming, a Republican who is playing it all or nothing by becoming the face of friendly anti-Trumpism. “He is a 76-year-old man, he is not an impressionable child. He is responsible for his own actions and his own choices. As our investigation has shown, he had access to more details and information and knew with more certainty that the election was not actually stolen than almost any other American. They told him over and over again. No rational or sane man in his position could ignore that information and come to the opposite conclusion.”

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