Republicans in the Senate voted to acquit Donald Trump in the former president’s second impeachment trial. Although a bipartisan majority of senators found Trump guilty of inciting an insurrection on Jan. 6 with his monthslong campaign of lies about election fraud, most Republicans blocked his conviction.
Thus, in 57-43 Senate vote, Trump was found not guilty — again — falling 10 votes short of the 67 votes needed to convict.
Seven Republican senators did join with all 50 Democrats to find Trump guilty, including Richard Burr of North Carolina, who just barely won reelection in the election Trump claimed was fraudulent; Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who surprised observers when he switched his earlier vote to declare the trial constitutional; Susan Collins of Maine; Lisa Murkowski of Alaska; Mitt Romney of Utah; Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who is retiring after this term.
Other retiring Republican senators — Rob Portman of Ohio and Richard Shelby of Alabama — voted to acquit even without the looming threat of soon facing Trump voters.
“I want to first thank my team of dedicated lawyers and others for their tireless work upholding justice and defending truth,” Trump said in a statement released after the verdict. “My deepest thanks as well to all of the United States Senators and Members of Congress who stood proudly for the Constitution we all revere and for the sacred legal principles at the heart of our country.”
The Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, voted to acquit Trump and then immediately took to the Senate floor to blast Trump’s actions, calling the former president “morally responsible” for the mob attack on Congress.
Responding to McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., blasted his decision to have held the trial over until after Trump left office. “It is so pathetic that Senator McConnell kept the Senate shut down so that the Senate could not receive the Article of Impeachment and has used that as his excuse for not voting to convict Donald Trump.”
“Whatever it was, it was a very disingenuous speech,” she continued of McConnell, “and I say this regretfully.”
“But we will be going forward to make sure that this never happens again.”
Other Senate Republicans spent the four days of the trial working with Trump’s defense team to undermine the process, deflect blame to Democrats who attacked on Jan. 6 and downplay the historic attack on Capitol Hill.
After presenting a convincing case full of harrowing footage of the Capitol riot, House managers surprised the Senate trial when they moved for a vote to call witnesses, which passed with 55 votes. Democrats then frantically backed away from their position after Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., reportedly warned House managers that calling witnesses could cost them Democratic votes to convict in the Senate.
“People want to get home for Valentine’s Day,” Coons reportedly said.We’re furious.
Although the House impeachment managers have focused on events leading up to the Capitol breach last month it is the real time response of former President Trump to the rioters that yields smoking gun evidence of his intent to incite this historic insurrection. Trump failed promptly to call off his followers or summon timely assistance to beleaguered Capitol Police, despite pleas from fellow Republicans caught in the mayhem. And his own final words that day connect his inflammatory claims about a “stolen election” to the storming of the Capitol by his followers.
As he watched the insurrection unfold on television, with some delight according to eyewitnesses, Trump did not demand that the rioters immediately leave the Capitol. He failed to heed the pleas of Republicans in Congress, who fearing for their lives, desperately tried calling him with no response.
“We are imploring the president to help, to stand up, to help defend the United States Capitol and the United States Congress, which was under attack,” said Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), no coward, but a former professional football player. “We are begging, essentially, and he was nowhere to be found.”https://3b034e9facc91f33536619a2a62072f5.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
We know that Trump did call newly elected Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville (Ala.) because he mistakenly reached him on the phone of Republican Sen. Mike Lee (Utah). He called Tuberville not to ask about his safety or to offer help, but to plot strategy for objecting to the electoral vote count.
When rioters breached the Capitol in full view of cameras, Trump did not appear on television to denounce the riot and call upon his followers to cease and desist. Instead, he stoked the incitement with a tweet that attacked his vice president and doubled down on grievances about a stolen election, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution, giving states a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones.”
Trump later tweeted a minimally calming message, but in the passive voice: “Stay peaceful!” He issued a similar passive voice tweet over half an hour later. He still had not appeared in person on any medium. Finally, Trump released a video that told his supporters “you have to go home now.” But he prefaced that request with another incitement: “I know your pain. I know you are hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it.” He ended by praising the rioters, “We love you. You are very special.”
The most incriminating “smoking gun” tweet came just after 6 p.m. that day and was later deleted by social media. Trump wrote, “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
In his own words Trump admitted that violent protest was a likely consequence of grievances over a supposedly stolen election that thwarted the will of patriotic Americans. But it was Trump himself who ginned up these grievances with a two-month drumbeat of lies about the election that culminated in the fiery rhetoric of his Jan. 6 rally. Simply put, no incitement about the election, no insurrection, by Trump’s own admission. In his tweet, Trump further assured rioters with love that they had acted as patriots, not insurrectionists. Their storming of the Capitol, he implied, should be forever remembered and cherished, not reviled.https://3b034e9facc91f33536619a2a62072f5.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
The rioters themselves understood that they were Trump’s people, summoned by him. Video shot during the riot shows that they shouted at police their claim of legitimacy, “We were invited by the president of the United States.” Trump loyalist Jenna Ryan said after the Capitol was breached, “We were going in solidarity with President Trump. So this was our way of going and stopping the steal.”
Trump has yet to acknowledge Biden’s win or to retract his claims of a landslide win snatched away by massive fraud.
Allan Lichtman is an election forecaster and a distinguished professor of history at American University.
A survey by The New York Times of all 50 states found at least 10 — California, Oregon, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Washington, Kentucky, Maine, Illinois and Florida — that are activating National Guard troops in their capital cities. Texas, Virginia and Kentucky are among states planning to close their Capitol grounds at different points in the coming days.
Some states where legislatures are preparing to convene, such as New Mexico, have placed protective fencing around their Capitols. Michigan and Indiana took the extraordinary step of canceling their legislative activities next week because of the possibility of violence.
The moves by state officials point to the growing fear over continuing violence around the country in the aftermath of the mob attack last week on the U.S. Capitol in which assailants supporting President Trump’s efforts to overturn the presidential election forced their way inside the building.
“If you’re planning to come here or up to Washington with ill intent in your heart, you need to turn around right now and go home,” Ralph Northam, the governor of Virginia, said at a news conference Thursday. “You are not welcome here, and you’re not welcome in our nation’s capital. And if you come here and act out, Virginia will be ready.”
An example of how volatile the situation has become emerged on Friday in Florida, where the F.B.I. arrested a former U.S. Army Airborne infantryman, Daniel Alan Baker, 33, of Tallahassee, the state capital. Mr. Baker “specifically called for others to join him in encircling any protestors and confining them to the Capitol complex using firearms,” the F.B.I. said in an arrest report.
John Dailey, the mayor of Tallahassee, called on Friday for Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida to activate the National Guard in preparation for the protests this weekend. Not long after, Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, announced that he was activating the Guard “in response to reports of potential civil unrest.”
Concerns are particularly high in Michigan, where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer activated the Michigan National Guard to help with security around the state Capitol in Lansing. The move followed the flooding of Michigan’s Capitol last year by armed extremists protesting the state’s coronavirus restrictions.
Fourteen people were charged in Michigan on terrorism, conspiracy and weapons charges. At least six of them, officials said, had hatched a detailed plan to kidnap Ms. Whitmer, a Democrat who became a focal point of anti-government views and anger over coronavirus control measures.
In Lansing, a six-foot high fence has been erected around the state Capitol and windows of state office buildings boarded up to guard against potentially violent protests that are expected on Sunday and Wednesday.
The state Legislature, which just had its first session of the year and had been scheduled to meet several times next week, canceled those sessions after hearing about “credible threats” received by Michigan State Police.
The increased law enforcement presence will continue through at least mid-February, said the Michigan State Police director, Col. Joe Gasper. He declined to reveal how many more police and National Guard members would be in place to guard against violence.
Still, not every state sees the need for increased security. In North Dakota, for instance, Kim Koppelman, a Republican who is the speaker of the state’s House of Representatives, said, “Suffice it to say that security is in place and adequate to meet any challenges anticipated.”
“No major changes have been implemented in response to riots, property damage, and attacks around the nation last year, nor in response to violence at the U.S. Capitol last week,” Mr. Koppelman said.
But other states are taking different steps. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California on Thursday authorized the deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops and surrounded the state Capitol grounds in Sacramento with a six-foot, covered chain-link fence to “prepare for and respond to credible threats.”
In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has activated 250 members of the National Guard in response to the warnings issued by the F.B.I. about the potential armed protests, in addition to the 300 Illinois troops already activated in support of the inauguration in Washington.
Illinois officials said their aim was for soldiers to help local authorities in enforcing street closures and designated perimeters.
“Our soldiers and airmen come from every community across Illinois, and each has sworn to protect their communities, their state and their nation,” said Maj. Gen. Rich Neely, the Adjutant General of Illinois and commander of the Illinois National Guard.
Shawn Hubler, Mitch Smith, John Yoon, Michael Hardy, Alex Lemonides, Jordan Allen and Alyssa Burr contributed reporting.
ined by ABC News shows warnings of “a huge uprising.”
On Jan. 6, rioters coming from a pro-Trump rally broke into the U.S. Capitol, resulting in death…Read More
Starting this week and running through at least Inauguration Day, armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols and at the U.S. Capitol, according to an internal FBI bulletin obtained by ABC News.
The FBI has also received information in recent days on a group calling for “storming” state, local and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings in the event President Donald Trump is removed from office prior to Inauguration Day. The group is also planning to “storm” government offices in every state the day President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated, regardless of whether the states certified electoral votes for Biden or Trump.Recent Stories from ABC News
“The FBI received information about an identified armed group intending to travel to Washington, DC on 16 January,” the bulletin read. “They have warned that if Congress attempts to remove POTUS via the 25th Amendment, a huge uprising will occur.”
Federal law enforcement officials have advised police agencies to increase their security posture at statehouses around the country following the riot at the U.S. Capitol, law enforcement sources told ABC News.
Following the violent pro-Trump breach of the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives pushed forward Monday with an effort to get Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, which would declare Trump incapable of performing his presidential duties and would install Pence as acting president until Biden is inaugurated Jan. 20.MORE: Trump-Biden transition live updates: House Democrats introduce article of impeachment
The effort was ultimately blocked by Republican Rep. Alex Mooney of West Virginia, and House Democrats then introduced an article of impeachment against Trump for “incitement of insurrection.”
The measure, which has more than 200 Democratic co-sponsors, states Trump has “demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.”
“It’s sad that we have to get to that point, but you know our expectation is that someone may try to kill us,” Meijer, R-Mich., said Thursday in an interview on MSNBC.
Meijer said the body armor is a reimbursable purchase.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen next. We weren’t expecting for the Capitol to get overrun for the first time in 200 years,” he said. “And so in this unprecedented environment with an unprecedented degree of fear of divisiveness and hatred, we have to account for every scenario.”
Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on Wednesday for inciting an “insurrection” in last week’s attack on the Capitol that left five people dead. Ten Republicans broke from their party to impeach the president, including GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
Meijer previously said in a statement that supported impeaching the president because Trump “betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process, and he bears responsibility for inciting the insurrection we suffered last week.”https://97e7a49bfbf4e65bea9d4c46b745be3c.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the panel overseeing the administration of the Capitol, told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday that reimbursements for body armor were not a new policy.
“That is not new. That’s been the case, for multiple years. People asked, you know, what were allowable expenses, and…those have been allowable expenses for years,” she said.
Though deprived of his big online megaphones, Trump does have alternative options of much smaller reach, led by the far right-friendly Parler — even if Google and Apple both removed it from their app stores.
Trump may launch his own platform. But that won’t happen overnight, and free speech experts anticipate growing pressure on all social media platforms to curb incendiary speech as Americans take stock of Wednesday’s violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol by a Trump-incited mob.
Facebook and Instagram have suspended Trump at least until Inauguration Day. Twitch and Snapchat also have disabled Trump’s accounts, while Shopify took down online stores affiliated with the president and Reddit removed a Trump subgroup. Twitter also banned Trump loyalists including former national security advisor Michael Flynn in a sweeping purge of accounts promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory and the Capitol insurrection. Some had hundreds of thousands of followers.
In a statement Friday, Trump said: “We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future.”
Experts are betting Trump pops up on Parler, a 2-year-old magnet for the far right that claims more than 12 million users and where his sons Eric and Don Jr. are already active. Parler hit headwinds, though, on Friday as Google yanked its smartphone app from its app store for allowing postings that seek “to incite ongoing violence in the U.S.” and Apple threatened to do the same, giving Parler a 24-hour ultimatum.
Apple told Parler executives in an email Friday it got complaints the app was being used to “plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities.”
Parler CEO John Matze complained on his site of being scapegoated. “Standards not applied to Twitter, Facebook or even Apple themselves, apply to Parler.” He said he “won’t cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech.”
Losing access to the app stores of Google and Apple — whose operating systems power hundreds of millions of smartphones — severely limits Parler’s reach, though it will continue to be accessible via web browser. Another potential landing spot for Trump is Gab — though both Google and Apple booted it from their app stores in 2017.
David Kaye, a University of California-Irvine law professor and former U.N. special rapporteur on free speech believes the Parlers of the world will also face pressure from the public and law enforcement as will little-known sites where further pre-inauguration disruption is now apparently being organized. They include MeWe, Wimkin, TheDonald.win and Stormfront, according to a report released Saturday by The Althea Group, which tracks disinformation.
Kaye rejects arguments by U.S. conservatives including the president’s former U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, that the Trump ban savaged the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from restricting free expression. “Silencing people, not to mention the President of the US, is what happens in China not our country,” Haley tweeted.
“It’s not like the platforms’ rules are draconian. People don’t get caught in violations unless they do something clearly against the rules,” said Kaye. And not just individual citizens have free speech rights. “The companies have their freedom of speech, too.”
While initially arguing their need to be neutral on speech, Twitter and Facebook gradually yielded to public pressure drawing the line especially when the so-called Plandemic video emerged early in the COVID-19 pandemic urging people not to wear masks, noted civic media professor Ethan Zuckerman of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Zuckerman expects the Trump de-platforming may spur important online shifts. First, there may be an accelerated splintering of the social media world along ideological lines.
“Trump will pull a lot of audience wherever he goes,” he said. That could mean more platforms with smaller, more ideologically isolated audiences.
A splintering could push people towards extremes — or make extremism less infectious, he said: Maybe people looking for a video about welding on YouTube will no longer find themselves being offered an unrelated QAnon video. Alternative media systems that are less top-down managed and more self-governing could also emerge.
Zuckerman also expects major debate about online speech regulation, including in Congress.
“I suspect you will see efforts from the right arguing that there shouldn’t be regulations on acceptable speech,” he said. “I think you will see arguments from the democratic side that speech is a public health issue.”
On January 3, just three days before President Trump incited and cajoled the predominately white mob that invaded Congress, Donald Trump Jr. retweeted a video of a scuffle between police and residents of Gatineau, Quebec who were holding a private gathering in violation of local pandemic restrictions. Cops and residents blamed each other for the altercation, but regardless of the details, the president’s oldest son and potential political heir warned “this insanity is coming here if you don’t wake the hell up.” Trump Jr.’s tweet was then retweeted by Ashli Babbitt, the woman who was shot dead by police on Wednesday after storming the Capitol Building with violent extremists and angry Trump fans. “Nothing will stop us,” Babbitt tweeted the day before her death, warning that a “storm” was “descending” on Washington, D.C. Babbitt is now a martyr on far-right message boards where racists obsess about avenging the death of a white woman.
The video Trump Jr. retweeted was posted by a Canadian far-right journalist who recently asserted the Black Lives Matter is “sponsored by Nike, CNN, and many mayors and local police departments.” In reality, Black Lives Matter is the banner for a broad movement, as well as an umbrella for a range of organizations; it is not a single organization, let alone one with corporate sponsors. It is a movement directly in opposition to police departments. And, of course, police in many cities violently cracked down on protests for racial justice last summer. However, on Trump Jr.’s Twitter feed, reality takes a backseat to red meat. A day before the assault on the Capitol, Trump Jr. urged Republicans voting in Georgia’s Senate runoffs to “save America as you know it from the communists.” That statement feeds false conspiracy narratives about congressional Democrats that drove Trump fans to violence. Narratives about a hostile takeover of the country are also fundamental to the white nationalist thinking that has gained traction on the right under Trump, who tweeted “we love you” to his supporters after his lies about the election convinced them to trash the Capitol.
“White supremacist hate groups often justify their violent ideologies under the guise of love — love for their families, for their communities, for their nation, which are perceived to be under existential threat by encroaching ‘Others,’” said Margaret Huang, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, in a statement after the Capitol breach.
The two Democrats who prevailed in the Georgia runoffs and others in the Senate are not authoritarian communists, of course, but this and other false narratives can be found supplanting facts across the right-wing media universe. A growing sea of bloggers, podcasters, message board moderators, conspiracy theorists, social media pundits, extremist preachers and “news” outlets feed off Trump directly, using the president’s lies and, until this week, latest tweets to garner likes, hits, donations and ad revenue. To gain followers, they repost trending conspiracies loved by Trump fans on social media and attack racial justice activists whose calls for social change generate resentment on the right.
The relationship is symbiotic. Trump constantly paints the mainstream and left-leaning media as illegitimate, boosting demand for conspiratorial, right-wing alternatives that recycle Trump’s lies into content and affirm his follower’s beliefs. The Trump family and its right-wing celebrity allies then use the far right to bypass the rest of the media and feed conspiracies theories to millions of people. None of this is new. Trump has attacked the media for years, and the disinformation he spread about the COVID-19 pandemic provided a preview of the contested election.
With the president’s election challenges thrown out of courts and, more recently, some Republican leaders turning against his effort, far-right media became Trump’s sharpest tool for undermining the election he lost. A poll in late December found that 68 percent of Republicans believe the November election was not “free and fair,” and 36 percent say Trump should not concede “no matter what,” even if he is unable to present evidence of widespread voter fraud. It doesn’t matter that the supposed “evidence” did not hold up in court. More than half of Republicans said the courts are biased against Trump, even though the president appointed some of the judges who threw out his campaign’s lawsuits. The Trumps, along with right-wing pundits and conspiracy hucksters, have convinced a large share of the electorate that anything defying their narratives is a lie told by Democrats, the media or the “deep state.”
Those who follow the right-wing media saw plenty of warning signs ahead of the violence in Washington D.C. this week. Between January 1 and January 4, posts with calls for violence were found on Parler, Twitter, TikTok and the pro-Trump message board The Donald, according to analysis by Right Wing Watch. Posts calling for violence — including the arrest and execution of politicians — on The Donald alone received 40,000 engagements. Some of the calls for violence are linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory, which holds that Democrats are an elite cabal of Satanic pedophiles, among other bizarre beliefs. On January 6, an armed ultra-nationalist with zip-tie handcuffs was photographed storming congressional chambers.
In the days before the violence at the Capitol, organizers of the Stop the Steal rally took to social media and various far-right outlets to argue that Democrats had stolen the election. They also increasingly mentioned “civil war” while attacking anti-fascist and Black Lives Matter activists, according to Right Wing Watch. Pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood was simultaneously spreading QAnon lies about child rapists and calling for Vice President Mike Pence to be arrested and executed for his disloyalty to Trump. Memes of nooses made the rounds, and a hangman’s gallows was erected outside the Capitol during the mob attack. (Wood also represents Kyle Rittenhouse, who became a right-wing hero after shooting three people at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.)
With Trump unwilling to concede the election and coddling his supporters who attacked Congress, Facebook suspended the president’s account for an indefinite period of time. On Friday afternoon, Twitter finally kicked Trump off for good. As of this writing, Wood’s Twitter account is suspended as well. Their posts crossed a clear line with speech that led to harm. However, Trump is not the only one in his orbit whose public statements foment hate and violence. Should Trump Jr.’s account be suspended? What about Rudy Giuliani, who used Twitter to peddle false conspiracy theories about a stolen election before urging Stop the Steal protesters to hold a “trial by combat” at the Capitol? While both Trump Jr. and Giuliani asked the Trump loyalists to remain peaceful after the violence erupted, it was the widespread belief among Trump supporters that the election — if not their perceived white Christian way of life — is being stolen from them that sparked the violence.
Trump Jr. and Giuliani would not take deplatforming on social media well, but their public influence outside of the diehard Trump movement is waning as the Trump presidency reaches its end. There would be plenty of yelling, as there has been in the past, about the First Amendment and big-city, tech-industry “socialists” censoring conservatives. (Of course, the First Amendment protects speech from the government, not social media companies.) More MAGA fans and QAnon trolls would leave Twitter and Facebook in protest, joining other right-wingers on Parler, where Trumpian conspiracy theories spread unfiltered.
The Trumps have helped to normalize white nationalist narratives on the right, making it difficult for social media platforms to police right-wing voices without appearing biased.
When Facebook removed hundreds of QAnon groups and accounts for right-wing militias that glorify violence, the company also shut down left-wing pages, potentially to dodge accusations of ideological prejudice. While the anarchists and anti-fascists who lost their pages have a radical perspective, they were not spreading hate or disinformation, and they argued that Facebook had effectively equated anti-fascist and anti-racist organizing with dangerous conspiracies and white nationalist militias. As the anarchists at Crimethinc. wrote, “Suppressing the voices of those who seek to protect their communities from institutional and white supremacist violence is an intentional decision to normalize violence as long as the ones employing it hold institutional power.”
The right-wing media universe that helped Trump foment the violence we witnessed this week will not disappear when the president leaves the White House. In fact, Trump, his family and his remaining allies will likely rely on far-right media to stay relevant until the next campaign season. New ultra-right stars will likely be born online and ride Trump’s coattails, as did the two QAnon proponents who were recently elected to Congress. The Proud Boys and white nationalist groups will likely continue using conspiracies and far-right media as recruiting tools, and anti-fascists will continue confronting them online and in the streets. However, after the attack on the Capitol and the suspension of Trump’s social media accounts, the far-right media may become increasingly isolated, as Democrats and even some Republican leaders call for Trump’s early removal from office. However, even within its own bubble, the force and power of far-right media must not be underestimated; after all, it played a seismic role in paving the way for Trump’s presidency.
As Congress and President Donald Trump’s Cabinet face mounting pressure to immediately remove him from office for inciting a violent mob at the U.S. Capitol, Twitter announced Friday that it is permanently suspending the president’s personal account, @realDonaldTrump, for violating the platform’s rules.
“After close review of recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the social media company explained in a blog post.
Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, said in a statement that “it was past time for Twitter to permanently suspend President Trump’s account. After more than four years of the president spreading disinformation, amplifying hateful rhetoric, and inciting violence to the point of which an insurrection occurred in the U.S. Capitol, the damage has been done.”
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Twitter, which had temporarily suspended his account after the Capitol attack, added:
In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action. Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open.
However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things. We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement.
The post also featured what the tech giant called a “comprehensive analysis of our policy enforcement approach in this case.” Although Twitter started labeling some of Trump’s lies in late May, the suspension marked a major reversal. For years, the company resisted calls to suspend the account, which ramped up in the wake of the November election, as Trump used the platform to lie about voter fraud and falsely claim that he beat President-elect Joe Biden, who is set to be sworn in on January 20.
Following the initial suspension Friday, Twitter also suspended the @TeamTrump account for posting a series of tweets attributed to the president, which included a suggestion of “building out our own platform in the near future.” Shortly before that, according toMashable, a Twitter spokesperson said that “using another account to try to evade a suspension is against our rules.”
According to the Washington Post, the first permanent suspension came after roughly 350 Twitter employees sent CEO Jack Dorsey and his top executives a letter which said in part, “Despite our efforts to serve the public conversation, as Trump’s megaphone, we helped fuel the deadly events of January 6th.”
“We request an investigation into how our public policy decisions led to the amplification of serious anti-democratic threats. We must learn from our mistakes in order to avoid causing future harm,” the employees wrote to Twitter leaders. “We play an unprecedented role in civil society and the world’s eyes are upon us. Our decisions this week will cement our place in history, for better or worse.”
Twitter also permanently suspended the accounts of Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his lawyer Sidney Powell on Friday. Axiosreported that “the action comes as part of the platform’s crackdown on QAnon-related content,” noting that “both Flynn and Powell have promoted the far-right conspiracy theory.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=truthout&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1347662317350219779&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Ftruthout.org%2Farticles%2Ftrump-can-tweet-no-more%2F&siteScreenName=truthout&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=500px
The suspensions were welcomed by a range of advocacy groups and Twitter users including Muslim Advocates, a member of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Committee that, as part of the Change the Terms coalition, has been calling on various social media platforms to permanently ban Trump’s accounts after the violence at the U.S. Capitol.
“By permanently banning Trump’s account, Twitter is showing real leadership and is taking a significant step towards shutting off a major source of online hate and disinformation—as well as helping to prevent further white nationalist violence,” said Muslim Advocates media relations officer Eric Naing. “The company’s move to remove QAnon accounts is also welcome and needed to protect the public. As Twitter notes, letting Trump continue to post tweets, Facebook posts, and YouTube videos for his white nationalist supporters risks ‘further incitement of violence.’ Now it is up to Facebook and Google/YouTube to follow Twitter’s lead.”
Facebook, which also owns Instagram, at least temporarily suspended Trump’s accounts after his supporters stormed the Capitol. CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post on Thursday that “we believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”
Free Press co-CEO and Change the Terms co-founder Jessica J. González also urged other companies to permanently ban Trump. She called Twitter’s decision “a day late and a dollar short” but also “a victory for racial justice advocates who have long condemned his continued abuse of the platform.”
“From the launch of his presidential campaign when he defamed Mexicans as rapists, criminals, and drug dealers, to the desperate last gasps of his presidency as he has egged on white supremacists to commit violence and insurrection,” she said, “Trump had used his Twitter account to incite violence, lie about the election outcome, encourage racists, and spread conspiracy theories.”
Bridget Todd, communications director at UltraViolet, a leading national women’s organization, released a concise statement: “In the words of Beyoncé: BOY BYE. This was long overdue.”
Angelo Carusone, president of the watchdog group Media Matters for America, agreed that suspension was “long past due and appropriate” but added that “Twitter (and other platforms) doing this now is a lot like senior administration officials resigning with only days left—too little too late.”
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law counsel David Brody said that “Twitter’s action tonight could have come sooner but is welcome nonetheless. We’ve seen the president use his account to fan the flames of hate resulting in death, mayhem and a breakdown of norms that has culminated in a full-on attack in the halls of our democracy. It is clear that without strong safeguards, social media is a conduit for misinformation and violence.”
Before Twitter’s announcement on Friday, Timothy Karr, the senior director of strategy for Free Press Action Fund, wrote for Common Dreams that his organization, as a founding member of the Change the Terms and Stop Hate for Profit coalitions, “has called on these platforms to take more concrete actions.”
As Karr detailed:
Those steps include hiring a C-Suite-level executive with civil rights expertise to evaluate company products with regard to bias and hate; and submitting to regular and transparent third-party audits of their responses to identity-based hate and misinformation. We’ve met repeatedly and face to face with these platforms’ executives to make our case and recommend essential changes to their terms of service.
Their responses have been inadequate—half-measures meant to give them a PR victory while accomplishing very little to stem the white supremacy coursing across their networks.
“Wednesday’s violence, as much as anything, is proof of this failure,” he added. “These tech giants must immediately ban Trump and his racist enablers from all of their services.”
President Donald Trump speaks at the “Stop The Steal” Rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation’s capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
The disturbing events and images from Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, will live forever in infamy. It was on that day that insurrectionists attacked the sacred halls of the U.S. Capitol after being provoked, encouraged and fueled by President Donald Trump. It was Trump’s last-ditch effort to overturn our democratic election because he is afraid of facing the criminal charges that may well await him. In his twisted and contorted mind, Trump must have believed that this mob attack on the Capitol would somehow allow him to hang onto power. This was the conniving and manipulative plan of a psychopath. In this attack we see Trump’s conspiracy theories, dishonesty, victimhood, paranoia, desperation and cruelty. He is a sick man whose megalomania and violence have finally crossed the red line.
Donald Trump has proven that he must be stopped now. A psychopath lacks the ability for self-control, self-examination and self-correction. At the core is a total lack of conscience and shame. Trump is a criminal who will stop at nothing to achieve his personal wishes. Clearly, he was an accomplice to the violent acts of insurrection yesterday.
Trump has been allowed to be incompetent, cruel and corrupt for four years by his Cabinet, close associates, congressional Republicans, compliant right-wing media and millions of supporters. They have been complicit in enabling him. Mental health experts have tried to explain that psychopaths do not change their psyche and behavior unless they suffer consequences and face firm limits. Trump has suffered no real consequences and he has had few or no limits. He has been allowed to run wild. He has been allowed to kill people. He has been allowed to attack our democratic way of life.
Finally, limits were placed on him by the judicial system and by some state election officials who showed they possessed honor and spine. The judicial system provided the guardrails to contain this pathological president — if they had not, he would have disassembled our democracy by now. He would have stolen the election and assumed nearly absolute authority, with no semblance of oversight or accountability. His greed would be uncontrollable, and his cruelty toward the American people would cause even more deaths.
There is a natural tendency for the American people to admire and even adore our presidents. It is almost inconceivable that we would have elected a psychiatrically disordered monster to the highest office in the land. But that is exactly what we did.
Trump is a menace. It is an undeniable and unquestioned fact that his mental disorder is of such severe malignancy that it renders him dangerous and unfit. The red line has been crossed.
What other evidence do you need? What else must happen to convince his sycophants and followers that he is a con man and a madman all together in one?
This is not about policy or political ideology. This is about refusing to tolerate a psychopathic leader whose latest action is so anti-democratic and anti-American that he must be stopped in his tracks. He is clearly capable of causing more destruction and heartache in his final 13 days in office. Psychopaths do not cease on their own.
Trump must be stopped today. A small group of congressional Republican and Democratic leaders must tell him to cease all tweets, speeches, videos and actions during his last days. He must be totally absent from the people. He must be on house confinement. His days as an active president are over. And he must be told that the 25th Amendment will be invoked if he does not comply with this set of instructions. Impeachment is on the table as well.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, have both called for Trump to be removed via the 25th Amendment. Others will follow suit as the damn of denial breaks.
Donald Trump’s mental desperation has reached its explosion point. Thirteen days is a long time for an aggrieved and violent madman to be allowed to hold any kind of power, let alone the awesome power of the American presidency.
Trump’s pathology is serious business. It is intractable and incurable. He is not going to suddenly find shame and self-control and empathy. He is not going to apologize for his actions and ask for forgiveness. That would require an inner soul and heart.
We must stop this president today. He has earned our disdain and our ire by his actions. He is the aggressor — we are his victims. We must stop serving in that role.
The red line has been crossed. Swift and decisive action is needed. No rationalizations and no excuses are acceptable.
If 356,000 preventable deaths from the coronavirus pandemic are not enough, perhaps the events and images from Wednesday at the heart of American democracy will convince you that Donald Trump is a malicious criminal who does not give a damn about anyone or anything, except his own ego and his bank account.
We must make clear that our nation deserves better than this, and that we can’t wait.
Foreign policy experts are sounding the alarm that U.S. President Donald Trump could launch an assault on Iran in the final weeks of his administration, potentially provoking a full-blown war just days before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Fears of a military confrontation are mounting in the wake of the Pentagon’s announcement Sunday that the USS Nimitz would remain in the Middle East — a reversal of Friday’s decision to signal a de-escalation of hostility toward Tehran by redeploying the aircraft carrier out of the region prior to this past weekend’s one-year anniversary of the Trump-ordered assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.
The intensification of tensions between the U.S. and Iran also coincides with Trump’s efforts to retain power despite losing his reelection bid in November 2020.
The right-wing coup attempt has grown increasingly desperate ahead of Wednesday’s expected certification of Biden’s victory by Congress, with many observers calling for Trump to be criminally prosecuted following the emergence of evidence that the president on Saturday tried to intimidate Georgia’s top election official into overturning the results.
“Trump may be planning his biggest — and likely most disastrous — stunt yet,” Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, wrote late last week. “Whatever his calculation may be, there is clearly a risk that the last three weeks of Trump’s presidency may be the most perilous.”
Parsi’s concerns are shared by Danny Postel, assistant director of the Center for International and Area Studies at Northwestern University. “Trump is a very wounded and very cornered animal in an end-game scenario. He’s got a few weeks left, and we know that he is capable of extremely erratic behavior,” Postel toldAl Jazeera in an interview this past weekend. “It may be the case that his most erratic, most reckless lashing out is yet to come.”
Parsi said Sunday night that a former U.S. military official told him that Trump starting a war with Iran is “probable.”
According to what the former official told Parsi, “It will relieve the pressure from the Georgia recording leaks.” Trump’s aggression also comes amid what Parsi called “a showdown in the Senate on Jan. 6 with demonstrations and potential for violence in Washington, D.C.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=truthout&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1345928432505528320&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Ftruthout.org%2Farticles%2Fexperts-warn-trump-may-attack-iran-out-of-desperation%2F&siteScreenName=truthout&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px
In his attempted justification of the Pentagon’s about-face on redeploying the warship Nimitz, Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller cited alleged “threats issued by Iranian leaders against President Trump and other U.S. government officials.”
“No one should doubt the resolve of the United States of America,” Miller added ominously.
As Parsi explained last week, “Trump has made more threats of war against Iran than any other country during his four years as President.”
“As late as last month, he ordered the military to prepare options against Iranian nuclear facilities,” Parsi wrote. “Though the New York Timesreported that Trump’s aides derailed those plans, U.S. troop movements in the past few weeks may suggest otherwise.” He continued:
Officially, all of these military maneuvers are aimed at “deterring” Iran, even though Israel assassinated an Iranian official in Iran and not the other way around… Not surprisingly, Tehran has interpreted the measures as threats and provocations, similar to how the United States would perceive Iranian warships posturing off Florida’s coast.
“Could Trump seek to start a military confrontation with Iran in hopes of creating enough chaos as to prevent Joe Biden from taking office in January?” asked Parsi. “There is no reason to believe such a gambit would work, yet the insanity of the idea is not a convincing reason as to why a desperate Trump wouldn’t try it.”
More than 10,000 people in the U.S. died from COVID-19 in the time between when Donald Trump blew up the stimulus bill and when he finally signed it. No, he doesn’t care about that.
The millions of people desperate for unemployment assistance, along with millions more in peril of eviction are nowhere on his mind, either.
The economic crash that would have come after a simultaneous stimulus bill collapse, an eviction eruption and a government shutdown in the middle of a pandemic? Not of concern.
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The terrible disruption in vaccine distribution if the lights went out in the federal government? Whatever.
As the tension over Trump’s refusal to act reached peak intensity, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania finally found his voice amid the muted GOP amen chorus. If Trump fails to sign the dual relief/shutdown bill, said Toomey, “he’ll be remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behavior if he allows this to expire.”
Senator Toomey, I do believe that ship has sailed.
Trump wanted his name in the papers, and that’s why this long week of fear and uncertainty was dropped on a nation already coiled in fear and uncertainty. It was an act of sadism, the deliberate infliction of pain on a population already on its knees. Folks need help badly, and instead they got the back of Trump’s orange little hand, again.
For the record, the man had no interest in seeing those direct payments increased to $2,000. This was a demand for another witless act of loyalty by congressional Republicans; further, it draws a bright red circle around the GOP’s refusal to disburse more funds directly to the people. This was, of course, deliberate. Speaker Pelosi dreams of being able to box in the GOP the way Trump has over the last week.
The “pork” in the bill Trump denounced was in fact a laundry list of items from his 2018 budget proposal which his administration requested be included in this legislation. Congress did as he requested and added the items to the stimulus, I suspect, to guarantee Trump’s signature. Ha. They forgot who they were dealing with.
The cruelty is the point, The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer astutely observed in October 2018, back when we innocently thought it couldn’t get any worse. “The Trump era is such a whirlwind of cruelty that it can be hard to keep track,” he wrote. Indeed, the latest chapter in this long book of deliberate pain now involves the 14 million people in need of unemployment assistance who were left to dangle, and dangle still, because of the delayed signing.More than 10,000 people died from COVID-19 in the U.S. in the time between when Donald Trump blew up the stimulus bill and when he finally signed it.
“Because Trump did not sign the bill on Saturday,” reportsCNN, “those in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs will likely not receive a payment for the final week of the year. And the $300 federal enhancement may only last 10 weeks instead of 11 weeks for most folks. That’s because states can’t provide benefits for weeks that start before programs are authorized, but the legislation calls for the extra payments to end on March 14.”
The worst part? Trump stands humiliated. A nonsense signing statement claiming all sorts of considerations he wrung from Congress before signing is just that: Nonsense. He wants them to investigate election fraud, repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and demands that they strongly consider making those direct payments $2,000. Mitch McConnell, in his own statement thanking Trump for his signature, made no mention of these concessions. That means, for all practical purposes, they do not exist.
“Trump got taken to the cleaners,” reportsPolitico. “What a bizarre, embarrassing episode for the president. He opposed a bill his administration negotiated. He had no discernible strategy and no hand to play — and it showed. He folded, and got nothing besides a few days of attention and chaos. People waiting for aid got a few days of frightening uncertainty…. This is probably the most fitting coda to Trump’s presidency, and a neat encapsulation of his relationship with Congress. He never cared to understand the place and was disengaged from its work. They’ll be laughing — er, scratching their heads — at your genius about this one for a while, Mr. President.”
Why is Trump’s humiliation the worst part of all this? Surely, if any human being ever deserved a dollop of comeuppance on their menu, it is this small fraction of a man.
It is the worst part because of who and what we are dealing with. Trump will continue to be among the most powerful people on Earth for three weeks and a day. He has been publicly shamed and routed off the field, and all for absolutely nothing except a few days of bad attention. People of his bilious temperament are not known for going quietly under the best of circumstances, and for Trump, these circumstances are intolerable.
Compounding this defeat, the House and Senate have returned to Washington, D.C., and their first order of business is an override of Trump’s veto of the defense authorization bill. They have the votes, and most congressional Republicans are not willing to mess with military money, even if it means defying Trump.
If the veto override succeeds on the heels of his disgraceful behavior with the stimulus bill, Trump will not sit still and take his medicine. He will see betrayal on every Republican face and react like Vesuvius. There are still many ways for him to pull the building down before he’s gone, and if I know the man like I think I do, he will try every one of them before he leaves or is removed. That cramp in your stomach (and mine) is going to be there for a little while longer.