- Attorneys representing people arrested in connection with the Capitol riot are focusing on Trump.
- They’re blaming him for inciting the deadly siege with his spread of disinformation about the election.
- The allegations bolster House Democrats’ impeachment case against Trump and expose him to more legal risk.
At first, the rioters were adamant when they stormed the US Capitol: Joe Biden and the Democrats had stolen the 2020 election from Donald Trump. Congress wasn’t doing anything to stop it, so it was up to patriotic Americans like themselves to save the country.
Now many of the insurrectionists, facing a multitude of federal charges and lacking the protection of a presidential pardon, are changing their tune and laying the blame for their actions squarely at the former president’s feet. It’s an inconvenient development for Trump, who is not only staring down a looming Senate impeachment trial but also may face criminal liability for his actions.
“Let’s roll the tape,” said Al Watkins, the defense attorney representing one of the defendants, Jacob Chansley. Chansley is more widely known as the “QAnon Shaman,” “Let’s roll the months of lies and misrepresentations and horrific innuendo and hyperbolic speech by our president designed to inflame, enrage, motivate.”
“This goes directly to Trump’s impeachment trial” and any criminal case he could face, said Jeffrey Cramer, a former federal prosecutor. “His words and actions for months directly led to an armed and deadly insurrection at the Capitol. He can’t argue that nobody took him seriously or that his words didn’t provoke violence.”