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Home / World / Rioters say Trump urged them on

Rioters say Trump urged them on

A Virginia man has told the FBI that he and his cousin marched on the Capitol because Trump said “something about taking Pennsylvania Avenue”
Trump supporters at the west entrance of the US Capitol.

Alan Feuer, Nicole Hong   |   New York   |   Published 19.01.21, 01:12 AM

In the two weeks since a raging mob stormed the Capitol, President Trump has shown no sign that he believes he shares responsibility for the worst incursion on the halls of Congress in more than two centuries.

Shielding him further, his loyalists have started shifting blame for the attack to an array of distracting bogeymen: far-Left anti-fascists, Black Lives Matter activists, even vague conspiracies of a set-up involving Mike Pence.

But one group of people has already come forward and directly implicated Trump in the riot at the Capitol: some of his own supporters who were arrested while taking part in it. In court papers and interviews, at least four pro-Trump rioters have said they joined the march that spiralled into violence in part because the President encouraged them to do so.

In the past few days, a retired firefighter charged with assaulting members of the Capitol Police force told a friend he went to the building following “the President’s instructions”, according to a criminal complaint.

A Virginia man has told the FBI that he and his cousin marched on the Capitol because Trump said “something about taking Pennsylvania Avenue”. And a lawyer for the so-called QAnon Shaman said that Trump was culpable, and he planned to ask the White House for a pardon.

“Does our President bear responsibility?” the lawyer, Al Watkins, told The New York Times. “Hell, yes, he does.”

The nationwide dragnet for those accused of breaking into the Capitol is only in its early stages, and it is likely to take weeks until the full scope and contours of the investigation are known.

But with dozens of people now in custody and starting to appear in court, the accounts they give about Trump could end up not only as fodder in criminal proceedings but also at an impeachment trial.

In the two weeks since a raging mob stormed the Capitol, President Trump has shown no sign that he believes he shares responsibility for the worst incursion on the halls of Congress in more than two centuries.

Shielding him further, his loyalists have started shifting blame for the attack to an array of distracting bogeymen: far-Left anti-fascists, Black Lives Matter activists, even vague conspiracies of a set-up involving Mike Pence.

But one group of people has already come forward and directly implicated Trump in the riot at the Capitol: some of his own supporters who were arrested while taking part in it. In court papers and interviews, at least four pro-Trump rioters have said they joined the march that spiralled into violence in part because the President encouraged them to do so.

In the past few days, a retired firefighter charged with assaulting members of the Capitol Police force told a friend he went to the building following “the President’s instructions”, according to a criminal complaint.

A Virginia man has told the FBI that he and his cousin marched on the Capitol because Trump said “something about taking Pennsylvania Avenue”. And a lawyer for the so-called QAnon Shaman said that Trump was culpable, and he planned to ask the White House for a pardon.

“Does our President bear responsibility?” the lawyer, Al Watkins, told The New York Times. “Hell, yes, he does.”

The nationwide dragnet for those accused of breaking into the Capitol is only in its early stages, and it is likely to take weeks until the full scope and contours of the investigation are known.

But with dozens of people now in custody and starting to appear in court, the accounts they give about Trump could end up not only as fodder in criminal proceedings but also at an impeachment trial.

Capitol scare

The Capitol as shut down for an hour on Monday out of an abundance of caution after a small fire broke out nearby, underscoring security jitters days before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The Capitol as shut down for an hour on Monday out of an abundance of caution after a small fire broke out nearby, underscoring security jitters days before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

New York Times News Service

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