As Donald Trump ended his January 6th speech to the supporters who had showed up in solidarity with his claims that the election had been ‘stolen’ from him, he spoke of marching to the Capitol Building. His former press secretary has spoken to Congress, and says that there will be an important hint to his culpability for the attack that ensued in documents pertaining to that walk.
NPR has a transcript of Trump’s speech from that day, which included multiple references to marching on the Capitol Building, and the implication that he would be joining the crowd for the trip.
Here are just some of those key references, scattered through the speech, telling listeners what they must do to stop the election from being certified, telling them to march on the Capitol, and indicating that Trump would be a part of that march:
We will never give up, we will never concede…We will not take it anymore…We will stop the steal…And after this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down, we’re going to walk down… I think right here, we’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them…So we’re going to, we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I love Pennsylvania Avenue. And we’re going to the Capitol, and we’re going to try and give…We’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Nowhere in that — or in the full speech — does Trump ever directly say that his fans should try to breach barriers, or threaten the life of Mike Pence or other legislators. However, we do know that some of his fans — specifically, a group of Oath Keepers — is accused of stockpiling weapons and supplies to hold for 30 days, and that they had allegedly planned to deploy those stockpiles and quick-response teams and only didn’t do so because the mob was able to enter the Capitol without aid.
The question becomes how much of this plan, if any, Trump or any others close to him were aware of, or had input into.
According to the Guardian, his former press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, has told the January 6th Committee that Trump held secret meetings in the White House in the days before the attack,. Bear in mind that Trump has fought all the way to the Supreme Court — where he just lost — to keep records out of the hands of Congress. Those records include visitor logs for the White House in the days leading up to the attack.
Soon the committee should know exactly who Trump was meeting with, and Grisham has offered one other key piece of advice on what to look for in the documents they’ll receive.
She says that the question of whether Trump ever actually intended to join his fans on a march (or perhaps a ride) to the Capitol Building will be answered in Secret Service documents, since, if he had participated, he would have had to have Presidential protection along. Documents should show whether he never intended to make the trip, or if he changed his mind or was stymied by his protective forces.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com