“A top lieutenant of the Proud Boys’ chairman, Enrique Tarrio, described on Wednesday a growing desperation among the group’s leaders as Jan. 6, 2021, approached and then-President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results sputtered.
That’s when the group’s thoughts turned to “all-out revolution,” according to Jeremy Bertino, the Justice Department’s star witness in the seditious conspiracy trial of Tarrio and four other Proud Boys leaders, who are charged with orchestrating a violent attempt to derail the transfer of power from Trump to Joe Biden.
Bertino, who pleaded guilty to his own seditious conspiracy charge last year, gave jurors an insider’s view of the Proud Boys’ leadership as Jan. 6 approached and the group became increasingly convinced that the Biden presidency posed an existential threat. Those views, prodded along at times by Trump’s own efforts to subvert his defeat, intensified after Tarrio was arrested on Jan. 4, 2021, upon arriving in Washington.
Now, the group’s leaders — Tarrio and Joe Biggs of Florida, Ethan Nordean of Seattle, Zachary Rehl of Philadelphia and Dominic Pezzola of New York — are facing the gravest charges to emerge from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.”
““I thought I was watching history,” Bertino recalled. “I thought it was historical. I thought it was a revolution starting.”
When one member of the group informed others that then-Vice President Mike Pence had resisted Trump’s entreaties to overturn the election on his own, Bertino assured them: “Don’t worry, boys. America’s taking care of it right now.”
Bertino’s jubilance turned into fury after Trump told rioters to go home and law enforcement cleared the Capitol.
“We failed,” he told other Proud Boys in various Telegram chats, after Congress had returned to continue certifying Biden’s victory. He lamented that the rioters caused mayhem simply to “take selfies in Pelosi’s office.”
That sentiment continued into Jan. 7.”
“Bertino also clarified an odd text to Tarrio that read “They need to get peloton.” It was an autocorrect for Pelosi, Bertino said.
“She was the target, as far as the one who had been pushing the information [about the election],” Bertino recalled thinking. “She was the talking head of the opposition. And they needed to remove her from power.””
““Very little about Jan. 6 was organized or violent. Surveillance video from inside the Capitol shows mostly peaceful chaos,” Carlson said, falsely, playing clips of Capitol police security footage that he argued depicted a calm scene. In reality, the insurrection was a violent breach that led to five deaths and the assaults of about 140 police officers. Carlson’s points echo arguments made by Trump voters and members of the Republican base, who’ve increasingly incorrectly suggested that the riot was more of a legitimate protest than a deadly incursion.
Since Carlson’s segment aired, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger issued an internal memo denouncing it and noting that the Fox News host “cherry-picked” footage that portrayed the attack in a “misleading” way.”
““It was a mistake, in my view, for Fox News to depict this in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here in the Capitol thinks,” McConnell said at a weekly news conference”
““I think it’s a very dangerous thing to do to suggest that attacking the Capitol of the United States is in any way acceptable and is anything other than a serious crime against democracy and against our country,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who was shown during congressional January 6 hearings as having narrowly avoided an encounter with an angry mob. “To somehow put [Jan. 6] in the same category as a permitted peaceful protest is just a lie,” added Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND).”
“For a brief moment following the January 6 Capitol riot, it looked like most Republican lawmakers and pundits would condemn Trump’s lies and the riot they spawned. But a funny thing happened on the way to what should have been a reckoning: A whole lot of conservatives decided to back Trump’s narrative about a stolen election. Meanwhile, those who vocally opposed it found themselves on the wrong side of the ongoing inter-GOP war, one in which more moderate or conventional conservatives were demonized by Trump and his populist lackeys and Republican rising stars fought to position themselves as “the craziest son of a bitch in the race” (to quote Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie on what he realized voters swinging from libertarian-leaning candidates to Trump were looking for).
Flash forward two years, and whack job populism has suffered a smidge of comeuppance. The 2022 midterm elections weren’t kind to Trump-backed candidates and election deniers, and—Trump’s 2024 candidacy notwithstanding—it looks like the fever dream that culminated in the events of January 6, 2021, has started to break.”
“The quick thinking of Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman may have prevented a shootout at the doors of the Senate chamber on Jan. 6, 2021, a top Capitol Police official said Friday.
Inspector Thomas Loyd, testifying in the trial of five members of the Proud Boys leadership charged with seditious conspiracy, recalled the outnumbered Goodman’s effort to lure the first wave of rioters inside the Capitol to a position away from the doors of the Senate and toward a waiting line of Capitol Police officers.
In a famous video of the incident, Goodman lures the group of rioters — which included one of the Proud Boys defendants, Dominic Pezzola — up a staircase and away from the unguarded Senate doors. For a moment, one of the rioters, Douglas Jensen, considered veering away from Goodman and toward those doors. But he ultimately followed Goodman and ran into the line of police reinforcements.
“If those doors had been breached,” Loyd told jurors, “most likely there would’ve been gunfire at that point.””
“The committee laid out just how much effort Trump and his allies put into schemes to convince state and local officials to overturn the election. According to the report, “between the November election and the January 6th insurrection, President Trump or his inner circle engaged in at least 200 apparent acts of public or private outreach, pressure, or condemnation.”
This tally does not count other efforts by Trump campaign staffers to contact state legislators, which included efforts to contact 190 Republican elected officials just in Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan. The Trump campaign also put on a full-scale whip operation to organize its efforts to select fake electors and ensure they convened on December 14, when the Electoral College met, so they would have an alternate avenue to challenge the election results.
For a sense of how invested the former president personally was in his efforts, Trump tried to speak with Brad Raffensperger “at least 18 times” before that infamous January 2 phone call where he asked the Georgia secretary of state “to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.””
“The report provides evidence the committee collected to assert that Trump knew throughout his campaign to remain in power that he’d lost, that he knew the conspiracy theories he publicly advanced about election fraud were false, that he pressured officials to back his bid to challenge the results despite being told he could be breaking the law, that he lied in federal court, and that he spurred on the insurrectionists even after he’d been told they were armed, some heavily. The violence and death of January 6, the report argues, was the culmination of that failed effort.
The nearly 850 page report was compiled following more than 1,000 interviews with figures with firsthand knowledge about the attack on the Capitol and the events that led up to it”
“Trump wanted to go to the Capitol after his speech at the Ellipse, is said to have had a physical altercation with a Secret Service agent, and broke things at the White House when his aides wouldn’t let him join the insurrectionists”
“Witnesses claimed Trump said Vice President Mike Pence “deserves” the threats of hanging he received while at the Capitol to certify the election”
“Far-right Reps. Scott Perry (R-PA), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) all were said to have asked Trump for pardons for their roles in the January 6 riot; many have denied doing so”
“In the end, the insurrection was just the back-up plan. That’s one critical finding by the Jan. 6 select committee to keep in mind when digesting its sweeping criminal referrals of Donald Trump.
The former president floated the idea of marching on the Capitol with a “large and wild crowd” only after his White House advisers and lawyers aggressively tried to quash a quilt of crazy schemes to use federal courts, election administrators, state legislators and ersatz presidential electors to thwart the lawful, peaceful transfer of power. It was a last-ditch resort. And the violence of Jan. 6 would have had its intended effect only if some of those legal machinations had already put enough sand in the gears of the democratic process.”
“consider the sitting politicians who coordinated with Trump’s illegal efforts to thwart the democratic process. A facile take would be that election denialists allied with Trump were roundly defeated in the midterms. But this is just not so: Incumbent Republicans who denied the truth about the election, in fact, overwhelmingly won last month, and their voters continue to have low levels of trust in the election process. And as misinformation explodes afresh on Twitter, it would be reckless to imagine that candidates’ lies about how our democracy and laws are working will somehow abate.”
“there is no durable mechanism in place to forestall or punish elected representatives who violate the public trust in this way. Specifically, there is no clear, legislated structure to bar insurrectionists from holding office as required by Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
“consider those who participated in the fake slates of electors. The process of certification, and wide array of state officials and private citizens involved in it, remains vulnerable to wrongdoing at multiple points. The committee’s referral to DOJ on making false statements rightly homes in upon the fake presidential elector slates. Such prosecutions may well have real deterrence effects. This is important because so far, state prosecutors in six out of seven states are failing to investigate or bring charges after false slates were assembled, voted upon and transmitted to the U.S. Archivist.”
“the Jan. 6 committee has plausibly broken through to the broader public. It would be a profound shame if the committee’s vital work was misunderstood as a howl for revenge, rather than the more profound call for democratic renewal that it truly is.”