Random Thoughts on Rioting and Impeachment

 

I continue to believe that there is no basis for assigning blame to President Trump for the reprehensible rioting at the Capitol last week. Last Friday, I thought that calls for impeachment were premature, irresponsible, and I went so far as to call them “deranged.” Nothing that I have seen or heard over the past week has changed my mind about this initial conclusion. Indeed, further information has strengthened my position. I do, however, remain willing to consider additional evidence.

I’m going to walk through some important issues, in summary fashion. I’d appreciate your feedback.

I. Propriety of Impeachment

I was surprised by the number of Right-leaning commentators who initially favored impeachment, and asserted that President Trump “incited” the rioting. The two that I respect most, who expressed this opinion, were Andy McCarthy and our own Jon Gabriel.

Here are a few contrary viewpoints that have come out over the past week:

1. Alan Dershowitz, no man of the Right, has a column strongly opposing impeachment (here), contending that the President did not incite violence and that the impeachment is an unconstitutional violation of the free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. Part of his argument is:

Whatever one may think of President Trump’s speech last Wednesday—I personally found it deeply upsetting—one thing is clear: It was fully protected by the First Amendment. Nothing the president said constituted unprotected “incitement,” as narrowly defined by the Supreme Court over nearly a century of decisions. His volatile words plainly fell on the side of political “advocacy,” which is protected speech.

2. Ben Stein’s column titled Goodbye, America is strongly critical of the charges against the President, calling them “The Biggest Lie of the Postwar Era.” Stein has such a way with words. He concludes:

As soon as Mr. Trump heard about the rioting at the Capitol, he urged his supporters to stop and go home.

Nevertheless, the news media and the leftists and the RINOs insisted that Mr. Trump had “incited” his followers to attack the Capitol. To punish him, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Amazon, and every other large internet platform took away Mr. Trump’s email and then shut down the platforms for Parler because it had contributors who had defended Mr. Trump and thus were party to his January 6 “incitement.”

There was no precedent for this shutdown of free speech. Nazis and Muslim terrorists still have use of the internet. Only the president who got more than 70 million votes is shut off.

What’s even worse is this: I have read every word of Mr. Trump’s January 6 speech to his supporters. There is not one single word of “incitement” to lawlessness. In fact, Mr. Trump, explicitly tells his fans to be “peaceful.”

And so, over a clear-cut lie, the powers in media and politics have ended free speech in America. And Joe Biden has not even been sworn in yet. These are terrifying times. Goodbye, America.

3. Victor Davis Hanson, who I’ve been following closely, finally has a column out that strongly opposes the impeachment (here). His prior commentary, at least that I’ve seen, was a bit unambiguous, and he seemed to be reserving judgment. This article calls the impeachment a “farce” and “one of the greatest travesties of modern politics.” He concludes:

So what, then, was this latest impeachment gambit really about? Of course, it was a Parthian shot to discredit supporters of Trump—and perhaps stop Trump from running for president again.

But it was also aimed preemptively at opponents of what will soon be the most left-wing Congress in history—one that in days will try to change the very institutions of American government in ways never tried before.

I’m inclined to agree with these three gentlemen.

II. Further News Reports Regarding Timing and Pre-Planning

The specific details and timeline of the rioting on January 6 remain unclear to me. It does appear that the rioting at the Capitol started before President Trump even concluded his speech.

It is difficult to find reporting of this (I had to resort to DuckDuckGo). This article at the Conservative Review claims that the rioting began 20 minutes before the end of President Trump’s speech. As I understand it, the rally was a fair distance away from the Capitol, but I don’t know precisely how long it would have taken to walk the distance. I cannot vouch, in any way, for the Conservative Review, as I know nothing about this website.

This claim is consistent with a timeline published by USA Today, which reports (if you dig through it):

  • The President started speaking at about 11:50 am.
  • The President spoke for more than an hour.
  • Rioters began grappling with police on the Capitol steps at 1:10 pm.
  • Capitol police ordered the evacuation of nearby buildings (not the Capitol) at 1:26 pm.
  • A Congresswoman tweeted that she was being evacuated after a pipe bomb report at 1:46 pm.
  • Rioters breached the police lines on the west side of the Capitol at 2:11 pm.
  • C-SPAN reported that rioters crossed Statuary Hall at 2:33 pm.
  • At 2:38 pm, the President tweeted: “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
  • At 2:44 pm, “[s]hots are reported fired in the House chamber.” I have heard nothing more about shots inside the chamber. This may be the shooting of rioter Ashli Babbitt, which occurred just outside the House chamber.
  • At 3:13 pm, the President sent a second tweet: “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you.”
  • The DC National Guard was mobilized at 3:51 pm.
  • At 4:17 pm, the President tweeted a video which, among other things, told people to “go home now” and that “[w]e have to have peace.”

It’s hard to figure out precisely what happened. That’s a very tight timeline.

There are reports (for example, USA Today here), that the FBI issued a “dire warning” on the day before the riot about “violent extremists” planning an “armed uprising in Washington” that was “described as a ‘war’ to coincide with Congress’ certification” of the electoral vote. If true, such pre-planning would further undermine any claim that the President incited the rioting.

III. False-Flag and Antifa

There was a fair amount of speculation that the rioting was instigated, or even entirely conducted, by Antifa or other Leftist agitators. I have seen little evidence of this, though it remains plausible that some such “false-flag” operations occurred.

It is very difficult to reach a conclusion on this issue. Most of the rioters, in the videos that I have seen, looked and sounded like Trump supporters. This appears to be true of poor Ashli Babbitt, the rioting Air Force vet who was shot and killed.

I don’t think that the “false-flag” claims are entirely unsupported. Here is a Fox article about a left-wing activist who has reportedly been charged in federal court, after allegedly having participated in the rioting and made various statements urging others to participate.

IV. Poor Ashli Babbitt

I don’t want to litigate this issue in detail. The death of Ms. Babbitt is a tragedy, but I do not think that it was a crime. It looks like justifiable homicide, to me. This is a preliminary conclusion, as additional details may emerge.

The videos that I’ve seen show a very violent confrontation at the doors of the Speaker’s Lobby, which I understand to be the final doorway that could be defended before the very entry to the House Chamber itself. Ms. Babbitt was reportedly unarmed, but it also plainly wearing a large backpack. The scene was pandemonium, with rioters hammering on and breaking the glass doors and the flanking windows. Ms. Babbitt pushed to the front of the crowd, and tried to climb up through the broken sidelight window on the right. She was shot, reportedly by a Capitol policeman.

I disagree strongly with those who have called this a “murder.” It remains early, and I expect that an investigation is underway. I do think that such lack of support for the police, in difficult circumstances, is a major cause for both the Capitol rioting and the widespread rioting that we saw last year.

V. Republican and Conservative Support for Impeachment

This is difficult to gauge. My impression is that the overwhelming majority of Republicans and Conservatives find no basis for impeachment and no cause for allegations of incitement against President Trump, and find this to be another misleading Leftist narrative being pushed for cynical political purposes. Here are my data points.

First, the vote in the House on impeachment. The Republican vote was 197 nays, 10 ayes. Four were absent, of whom three (at least) have publicly stated their opposition.

Second, the Ricochet “poll” that I posted yesterday (here). Through the first 112 votes, 86% oppose and 12% support.

Third, the public opinion polling on Trump’s job approval. I am even more skeptical of polling than before, and the RCP average of polls shows a precipitous drop, from 44.2% approval on January 5, to 39.7% today. But there are a small number of polls, and I worry about “push polling.”

I generally find Rasmussen to be the best poll. I think that it’s a robocall poll, which perhaps makes it less likely to engage in “push-polling,” and I think that it reports a 3-day moving average. Per Rasmussen (here), there’s been essentially no change in Trump’s job approval. It was 47% on January 5, and is 48% today (January 15), ranging from a low of 46% to a high of 49% in the interim.

This has been a very troubling nine days for me. Thanks for providing a forum for me to share my thoughts. I look forward to your comment.

Wokeistan delenda est.

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  1. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    @arizonapatriot Did you mean “unambiguous” in describing Victor Davis Hanson’s early position?

    • #1
  2. PHCheese Member
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Had to resort to Duck Duck Go? I have found amazing discrepancies between DDG and Google in areas of even the slightest controversy. Google is probably more comprehensive when searching general questions but if you want honesty on the big ideas use DDG. As for the shooting murder is to far, manslaughter or something less works. A shot to the head should not have been the first option.

    • #2
  3. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: …“false-flag” operations occurred. …It is very difficult to reach a conclusion on this issue. Most of the rioters, in the videos that I have seen, looked and sounded like Trump supporters.

    Kinda the definition of the strategy.

    I saw several police briefings of last summer’s riots that included videos showing the “operations” and breaking down the movements like NFL replays. Some were from what looked like drone footage. Others from a variety of cameras. I would expect that at some point, if anyone in authority in DC has a brain or if anyone is interested in showing this case one way of the other, we would see something similar. But that’s just me…

    • #3
  4. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: I don’t think that the “false-flag” claims are entirely unsupported. Here is a Fox article about a Left-wing activist who has reportedly been charged in federal court, after allegedly having participated in the rioting and made various statements urging others to participate.

    Dressed to appear as a Trump supporter and I think he is the one who captured video of the shooting, or its aftermath, of Ashli Babbitt. He is also the person identified as a BLM/Antifa rioter in Provo, Utah last summer who fired a pistol shot at a driver who didn’t stop when the rioters surrounded his auto.

    • #4
  5. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    There is one factor I think you are leaving out:

    The rally itself. What was its purpose? Why the constant rhetoric about the end of America, and “Stop the Steal”? Why that particular day? The only point of it all was to pressure Pence into somehow overturning or halting the process. Parsing the timing of this or that is only narrowly looking at whether what Trump and the other speakers said right then and there, and when they said, what the nuance was, and so forth was directly inciting. Why were people there at all? The argument over incitement during the rally avoids addressing the charge that the rally itself was called as a form of intimidation.

    • #5
  6. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    There is one factor I think you are leaving out:

    The rally itself. What was its purpose? Why the constant rhetoric about the end of America, and “Stop the Steal”? Why that particular day? The only point of it all was to pressure Pence into somehow overturning or halting the process. Parsing the timing of this or that is only narrowly looking at whether what Trump and the other speakers said right then and there, and when they said, what the nuance was, and so forth was directly inciting. Why were people there at all? The argument over incitement during the rally avoids addressing the charge that the rally itself was called as a form of intimidation.

    This is a dangerous position to assume if you have any conviction at all about the individual’s freedom of expression and assembly. More often than not these public demonstrations through assembly are because there is some opposition to a government action. You want to cancel that?

    • #6
  7. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    As for the Thrill on the Hill, will we ever get an honest report? There should be oodles of video and 1000’s of interviews, but I don’t think we will get any official report that deviates from The Narrative. We’ll need to look toward alternate outlets for the truth, which is going to give the fabricators and prevaricators undue influence. 

    • #7
  8. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: There are reports (for example, USA Today here), that the FBI issued a “dire warning” on the day before the riot about “violent extremists” planning an “armed uprising in Washington” that was “described as a ‘war’ to coincide with Congress’ certification” of the electoral vote.

    There are also reports that the Chief of the Capitol Police, who is reported to have resigned, went to the Sargent-at-Arms for each House of Congress with this and got no action. Shouldn’t there be a public statement from those individuals. We’ll get it when the verbiage is prepared for them.

    • #8
  9. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    A couple of thoughts for now:

    The Article of Impeachment mentions the phone call to the Georgia Sec/State. It’s unclear to me what a private phone call has to do with “incitement to insurrection,” which is the charge. I’m assuming the purpose of this was to throw some mud against the wall.

    As the dust has settled, virtually all of the information we’ve received cuts against the charge. This includes the timeline and evidence that the riot was in the planning before Trump even spoke. It should be a cautionary tale to those who insisted on Jan. 6 that Trump should be removed.

    There’s a long way to go to establish that left-wing agitators were seriously involved (I know about John Sullivan).

    Regarding Ashli Babbitt, a final verdict should not be rendered by us now. My preliminary verdict based on numerous viewings of the shooting is that use of deadly force was unnecessary. I don’t know what the protocols are that the Capitol police operate under in that situation, however. I would note that there were officers in SWAT gear on the same side of the door as Babbitt who were within about six to ten feet of her when the fatal shot was fired from the other side of the door.

    • #9
  10. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: There are reports (for example, USA Today here), that the FBI issued a “dire warning” on the day before the riot about “violent extremists” planning an “armed uprising in Washington” that was “described as a ‘war’ to coincide with Congress’ certification” of the electoral vote.

    There are also reports that the Chief of the Capitol Police, who is reported to have resigned, went to the Sargent-at-Arms for each House of Congress with this and got no action. Shouldn’t there be a public statement from those individuals. We’ll get it when the verbiage is prepared for them.

    What did Nancy and Mitch know and when did they know it?

    • #10
  11. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    There is one factor I think you are leaving out:

    The rally itself. What was its purpose? Why the constant rhetoric about the end of America, and “Stop the Steal”? Why that particular day? The only point of it all was to pressure Pence into somehow overturning or halting the process. Parsing the timing of this or that is only narrowly looking at whether what Trump and the other speakers said right then and there, and when they said, what the nuance was, and so forth was directly inciting. Why were people there at all? The argument over incitement during the rally avoids addressing the charge that the rally itself was called as a form of intimidation.

    So…. we can’t have a first amendment because orange-man-bad?

    • #11
  12. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: As I understand it, the rally was a fair distance away from the Capitol, but I don’t know precisely how long it would have taken to walk the distance. I cannot vouch, in any way, for the Conservative Review, as I know nothing about this website.

    The report I’ve read said that the rally was 1.5 miles from the Capitol so it would have taken 20-30 minutes to walk the distance. 

    • #12
  13. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    There is one factor I think you are leaving out:

    The rally itself. What was its purpose? Why the constant rhetoric about the end of America, and “Stop the Steal”? Why that particular day? The only point of it all was to pressure Pence into somehow overturning or halting the process. Parsing the timing of this or that is only narrowly looking at whether what Trump and the other speakers said right then and there, and when they said, what the nuance was, and so forth was directly inciting. Why were people there at all? The argument over incitement during the rally avoids addressing the charge that the rally itself was called as a form of intimidation.

    This is a dangerous position to assume if you have any conviction at all about the individual’s freedom of expression and assembly. More often than not these public demonstrations through assembly are because there is some opposition to a government action. You want to cancel that?

    Argument ad absurdum, extending a limited point to general condemnation I didn’t make, thus strawmanning my point about this particular assembly.

    Peaceable assembly is fine in principle, but, for instance, do you treat all calls to assemble as peaceable? Over the summer, after multiple days where peaceable(ish) daytime marches and protests turned to violent riots at sundown, many cities simply started dispersing the crowds, or not letting them protest anymore. Was that “cancelling” all future peaceful assemblies? No, it wasn’t. But the cities were saying “no more for now, not till things cool off, because your daytime marches are providing cover for violent actions later.”

    By the same token, last week’s rally in DC was pointless except as protest, but with the “Stop the Steal” nonsense, and Trump himself used the rhetoric:

    And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.

    And a few sentences later:

    And I will tell you thank you very much, John [Eastman], fantastic job. I watched — that’s a tough act to follow those two. John is one of the most brilliant lawyers in the country and he looked at this, and he said what an absolute disgrace that this could be happening to our Constitution, and he looked at Mike Pence, and I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.

    So the rally wasn’t just to protest, it was to apply pressure on Pence and Congress. This is unambiguous. Trump didn’t have to tell people to go and riot, he just primed them for it. 

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/interactive/2021/annotated-trump-speech-jan-6-capitol/

    • #13
  14. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    @arizonapatriot Did you mean “unambiguous” in describing Victor Davis Hanson’s early position?

    Of course not.

    • #14
  15. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    There is one factor I think you are leaving out:

    The rally itself. What was its purpose? Why the constant rhetoric about the end of America, and “Stop the Steal”? Why that particular day? The only point of it all was to pressure Pence into somehow overturning or halting the process. Parsing the timing of this or that is only narrowly looking at whether what Trump and the other speakers said right then and there, and when they said, what the nuance was, and so forth was directly inciting. Why were people there at all? The argument over incitement during the rally avoids addressing the charge that the rally itself was called as a form of intimidation.

    So…. we can’t have a first amendment because orange-man-bad?

    Are you equating demagogic calls, made by the President himself, for a massive and upset crowd to intimidate Congress “free speech”?

    • #15
  16. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    There is one factor I think you are leaving out:

    The rally itself. What was its purpose? Why the constant rhetoric about the end of America, and “Stop the Steal”? Why that particular day? The only point of it all was to pressure Pence into somehow overturning or halting the process.

    First of all, maybe because they believe this and wanted to draw attention to their cause, and to ensure that their concerns could not be swept under the rug. Second, even if they were trying to pressure Pence or congress to vote or act in a certain way, that is a normal aspect of politics and nothing out of the ordinary; I haven’t seen anything to indicate that these people had any plans to physically force Pence or congress to accede to their wishes.

    • #16
  17. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    There is one factor I think you are leaving out:

    The rally itself. What was its purpose? Why the constant rhetoric about the end of America, and “Stop the Steal”? Why that particular day? The only point of it all was to pressure Pence into somehow overturning or halting the process.

    First of all, maybe because they believe this and wanted to draw attention to their cause, and to ensure that their concerns could not be swept under the rug. Second, even if they were trying to pressure Pence or congress to vote or act in a certain way, that is a normal aspect of politics and nothing out of the ordinary; I haven’t seen anything to indicate that these people had any plans to physically force Pence or congress to accede to their wishes.

    When was the last time a sitting president called a rally to pressure Congress to overturn a national election? How is that “normal”?

    • #17
  18. PHCheese Member
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    There is one factor I think you are leaving out:

    The rally itself. What was its purpose? Why the constant rhetoric about the end of America, and “Stop the Steal”? Why that particular day? The only point of it all was to pressure Pence into somehow overturning or halting the process. Parsing the timing of this or that is only narrowly looking at whether what Trump and the other speakers said right then and there, and when they said, what the nuance was, and so forth was directly inciting. Why were people there at all? The argument over incitement during the rally avoids addressing the charge that the rally itself was called as a form of intimidation.

    People wanted to have a voice about a fraud election . That’s the point of the rally.

    • #18
  19. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    There is one factor I think you are leaving out:

    The rally itself. What was its purpose? Why the constant rhetoric about the end of America, and “Stop the Steal”? Why that particular day? The only point of it all was to pressure Pence into somehow overturning or halting the process.

    First of all, maybe because they believe this and wanted to draw attention to their cause, and to ensure that their concerns could not be swept under the rug. Second, even if they were trying to pressure Pence or congress to vote or act in a certain way, that is a normal aspect of politics and nothing out of the ordinary; I haven’t seen anything to indicate that these people had any plans to physically force Pence or congress to accede to their wishes.

    When was the last time a sitting president called a rally to pressure Congress to overturn a national election? How is that “normal”?

    Whats normal is pressuring politicians with a show of numbers.

    • #19
  20. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    @arizonapatriot Did you mean “unambiguous” in describing Victor Davis Hanson’s early position?

    Bob, thanks. I meant “ambiguous.” I fixed it.

    • #20
  21. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Had to resort to Duck Duck Go? I have found amazing discrepancies between DDG and Google in areas of even the slightest controversy. Google is probably more comprehensive when searching general questions but if you want honesty on the big ideas use DDG. As for the shooting murder is to far, manslaughter or something less works. A shot to the head should not have been the first option.

    I disagree, quite strongly, about the manslaughter thing. This is not the way that homicide charges work.

    If the shooting was justified, in defense of self or others, then it is not criminal at all. Not murder, not manslaughter, not aggravated assault.

    • #21
  22. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: There are reports (for example, USA Today here), that the FBI issued a “dire warning” on the day before the riot about “violent extremists” planning an “armed uprising in Washington” that was “described as a ‘war’ to coincide with Congress’ certification” of the electoral vote. If true, such pre-planning would further undermine any claim that the President incited the rioting.

    I have seen/heard several reports (and would welcome any definitive evidence) that these warnings were not sent to President Trump in any briefing. That seems like negligence at best.

    • #22
  23. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    When was the last time a sitting president called a rally to pressure Congress to overturn a national election? How is that “normal”?

    We don’t know what his motive was.

    • #23
  24. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    When was the last time a sitting president called a rally to pressure Congress to overturn a national election? How is that “normal”?

    We don’t know what his motive was.

    Read the transcript of the speech. It is all about overturning the election and pressuring Pence.

    • #24
  25. D.A. Venters Member
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    I don’t think the first amendment is implicated here. The crowd could have peacefully demonstrated till the cows come home, even if, in their ignorance, they didn’t realize they were pressuring the VP and Congress to do something they couldn’t legally do. 

    But in terms of impeachment, Congress doesn’t have to worry about the President’s free speech rights, anymore than the President would have to worry about that if he fired a staff member for going on TV and saying what a terrible president he is. There are lots of things a president can legally do that would be impeachable if Congress believed it was an abuse of power and rose to high crimes and misd. level.

    • #25
  26. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    So the rally wasn’t just to protest, it was to apply pressure on Pence and Congress. This is unambiguous. Trump didn’t have to tell people to go and riot, he just primed them for it.

    Trump said explicitly in the speech that the purpose was to pressure Congress. But that is not new political behavior. Democrats do it all the time. And in this case Trump explicitly called for a “peaceful” gathering in which he would continue to speak from the Capitol steps.

    There was no encouragement of violence, vandalism, or intimidation. It was the familiar “make our voices heard” strategy/theater that has been normal American politics for centuries.

    My initial response to the incident was that Trump was reckless to feed a crowd’s anger amid such a critical issue as a stolen election. That was before I had read the speech. Giuliani’s comments were more reckless.

    Though I am not entirely certain, Michael Yon’s footage and testimony combined with the unbelievable lack of preparation by DC and Capitol police make a strong case for a false flag scenario.

    The helmets and shields of rioters were probably evident before the riot started. Democrats had already accused Trump supporters of aggression long before the 6th, so their dismissal of police reinforcements during preparations — in addition to refusals by other security officials — remains unexplained.

    Now, we see flyers for rioting that both visually and topically accord more with leftwing groups than with rightwing groups in recent history. And the DC security measures reported on the Main Feed yesterday reek of theater.

    • #26
  27. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I don’t think the first amendment is implicated here. The crowd could have peacefully demonstrated till the cows come home, even if, in their ignorance, they didn’t realize they were pressuring the VP and Congress to do something they couldn’t legally do.

    But in terms of impeachment, Congress doesn’t have to worry about the President’s free speech rights, anymore than the President would have to worry about that if he fired a staff member for going on TV and saying what a terrible president he is. There are lots of things a president can legally do that would be impeachable if Congress believed it was an abuse of power and rose to high crimes and misd. level.

    At the least, the question may bring us into a circular argument. Brandenburg v. Ohio says that speech of this type is protected unless it involves “inciting or producing imminent lawless action.” To me that sounds like we’re back where we started.

    • #27
  28. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    The funniest aspect of impeachment talk now is that Congress does not have the authority to impeach a non-officer who might run for office again one day. A former President is not a President. After this next week, they might as well be trying to impeach Bill Cosby.

    • #28
  29. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    When was the last time a sitting president called a rally to pressure Congress to overturn a national election? How is that “normal”?

    We don’t know what his motive was.

    Read the transcript of the speech. It is all about overturning the election and pressuring Pence.

    This is political speech writ large and absolutely covered under the First Amendment. Even a sitting President has that right. 

    • #29
  30. D.A. Venters Member
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I don’t think the first amendment is implicated here. The crowd could have peacefully demonstrated till the cows come home, even if, in their ignorance, they didn’t realize they were pressuring the VP and Congress to do something they couldn’t legally do.

    But in terms of impeachment, Congress doesn’t have to worry about the President’s free speech rights, anymore than the President would have to worry about that if he fired a staff member for going on TV and saying what a terrible president he is. There are lots of things a president can legally do that would be impeachable if Congress believed it was an abuse of power and rose to high crimes and misd. level.

    At the least, the question may bring us into a circular argument. Brandenburg v. Ohio says that speech of this type is protected unless it involves “inciting or producing imminent lawless action.” To me that sounds like we’re back where we started.

    I guess what I am saying is that even if the President had every right in the world to say what he said, and could never ever ever be convicted of a crime for it, Congress might still be able to impeach him for it. 

    You could come up with all kinds of crazy examples if you think about it. 

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