TLDRUpFront: Tallying the aftermath of the Capitol Hill insurrection, we also look to the way ahead. The Capitol Hill riots clearly qualified the President, and many of his supporters, for charges of both sedition and insurrection, and meet both the legal criteria and past cases of the same. A rapid move to Impeach, followed by a procedural motion to keep all votes secret in the Senate Trial, would provide a fitting end for this shit-hole administration that matches his most violent supporters. Conviction.
Left: Augean Genius. Right: Insurrection he incited.
This article includes live reporting on Facebook as the insurrection occurred. Sources and revisions are being added throughout the day as more information arrives.
As it Happened
This is taken from a Breaking News FB Post the original of which can be found here.
(BREAKING NEWS) 3:00pm
Trump’s supporters broke into the Capitol, causing both sessions to be gaveled into recess. Vice President Pence and Speaker of the House Pelosi has been removed from the building for security reasons. Sessions are closed and legislators/staff are sheltering in the basement while police attempt to clear the Capitol.
This is very disruptive and concerning. And the risk of escalating violence remains high in behavior like this. But it is not a cause for panic or reaction *elsewhere* in the country as the violent protesters do not seem to have been prepared or ready with what to do once they got inside the Capitol. As more LEO and NG forces converge on the Capitol sweep teams will move in to remove protesters who remained.
However, what it DOES do…is create a clear causal chain of events from the President’s speech this morning, to the actions of followers acting upon that speech to disrupt the mechanism of government. Those of you looking for a sedition charge that I’ve said “hasn’t occurred yet”, I’d look here. It also pushes that violence and ugliness NOT at oppressed or marginalized group, but the very Republicans who have been enabling him this whole time.
It takes a scenario where Republicans could hide in groups (100+ in the House, ~13 in the Senate) to make a “symbolic” vote and forces them to go on record with disruptive violence like this.
And as long as no one gets hurt (which I hope), displaying in all it’s naked ugliness this form of behavior will do more to harm Trump’s cause than it will delay Biden’s Presidency. Only a few House and Senate speakers had a chance to speak before both sessions were gaveled. (UPDATE: Multiple confirmations that a single person has been shot in the chest in the Capitol.)
Of course many will notice this is the personification and adoption of the caricaturized behavior that they purportedly are concerned about. A major point in review is how low the security presence was around the Capitol. The Capitol police is not one of the larger federal forces, but there will definitely be an inquiry into the decision of how 1-2 people on each entrance was considered a good idea.
The DC Mayor has called for a 6pm Curfew and it’s not clear at one point the considerable *Federal* LEO presence in the city will be activated. But I believe there are National Guard units nearby.
Update 3:08PM: Additional law enforcement has been called in, but it’s going to take hours to clear the buildings and create secure perimeters. Since the debate was stalled during the Arizona objection this easily pushes the certification out to Friday at earliest. Probably Saturday. If this turns into a hide-and-seek or sustained sit-in, start your President Pelosi advent calendars at 14 days.
Update 3:12PM: Reporters are indicating that prominent Republicans have gone on record saying they want to impeach the President and this is bordering on treason. I’ll try and chase down those sources.
Update 3:20PM DC Metro Police in riot gear are arriving at the Capitol.
Update 3:24PM Confirmation from Capitol police that someone has been shot.
Update 3:41PM VA Governor has just confirmed that per the DC Mayors request he is sending the Virginia National Guard and 200 members of the Virginia LEO to the city in support to clear the area. Although President Trump has called for “peace” he *hasn’t* called on his supporters to disperse.
Update 3:48PM VP PENCE TWEETS: “This attack on our capitol will not be tolerated and these protesters will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Update 3:53PM As more heavily armed police are arriving I’m seeing a lot more “milling & thinning” of the primary crowd up on the steps. The good news is this a leading indication of individuals beginning to ‘nope-out’ in a riot situation. The bad news is the ones who are left tend to be more determined and getting more aggravated as “things aren’t happening.”
Update 3:55PM Representative Kevin McCarthy, highest ranking Republican in the House has apparently called on Trump to “do more” and ask his supporters to “disperse.”
Update 4:00PM Maryland confirms it has activated National Guard and police units and are moving to support DC. I’m giving the protesters at most another 2hrs before sweep-teams begin moving in and that’s not a place they’re going to want to be anymore.
Update 4:08PM Confirmation from the Pentagon that the DC National Guard has been activated and will be supporting local law enforcement.
Update 4:12PM While President Trump hides in the White House, President-elect Biden addresses the nation. “I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward. The words of the President matter, no matter how good or bad that President is. At best the words of a President can inspire. At worst they can incite. Therefore, I call on President Trump: Go on national television now and fulfill his Oath to defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege.”
Update 4:23PM President Trump has released a video tweet (first comment). True to form, he spends more time *validating* the concerns of the violent protesters that the election was “stolen” than he does asking them to go home. But he did, finally, ask them to go home, because they don’t want to be like those terrible, evil people….
Update 5:42PM Reports that the Sergeant of Arms has declared an “all-clear” indicating all protesters who broke into the building have either left, been detained, or are contained.
Update: 6:02PM Law enforcement have confirmed the woman shot in the Capitol has died. They’ve also indicated that one IED has been deactivated. And of the six taken to hospitals at least one was a police officer.
FINAL UPDATE FOR EVENING (6:50PM) Democrat and Republican leaders in Congress are planning to reconvene these evening and continue certifying elections. Which would be a totally baller move. And with that positive note I’m calling it an evening for updates. Stay frosty and remember the community rules!
The morning after Capitol Hill protests evolved into an insurrection five dead. One Capitol Hill Police Officer has died from wounds sustained on Wednesday. A violent protester who was shot by Capitol Hill police as they attempted to break into the Chamber died Wednesday night. Three others died “on the grounds” of the Capitol Building due to unspecified medical emergencies. At least 80 people were injured, including 61 officers of which 56 were police officers. Of those six were hospitalized, including one of the police officers who later died. Over 80 people have been arrested. On the day of the riot there were 26 arrests from within Capitol itself and another two dozen for curfew violations in the grounds immediately surrounding the Capitol. Subsequent arrests continue as participants in the riot are identified. On the day of the event numerous firearms, molotov cocktails were taken from the protesters. Nearby pipe bombs placed at the RNC and DNC national headquarters were identified and detonated by bomb squad units. They confirmed the pipe bombs were operational and could’ve caused great harm.
State law enforcement and National Guard troops in Maryland, Virginia, and New Jersey were activated to assist DC National Guard troops. A 15-day emergency has been declared by the Mayor of DC which will last through Inauguration. The total NG presence is estimated to be near 3,000. It does not appear the 18+ Federal law enforcement agencies in DC have been activated and there are reports President Trump initially resisted activating the National Guard. The Vice President simply bypassed him to call the acting SecDef and SecArmy who have delegated authority to activate the National Guard and they did so.
In the White House 4-6 staffers resigned within 24hours including Press Secretary Mathews. The National Security Advisor, Deputy National Security Advisor, and Deputy Chief of Staff are also considering or have tendered resignations. Thursday Update: Transportation Secretary Elain Cho, Special Envoy to Ireland and former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger have all resigned. Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf condemned the violence, and subsequently had his nomination removed by the White House, though at this date such a move is largely symbolic. Friday Update: Education Secretary DeVos has also resigned as well as John Costello, the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Commerce Department charged with cybersecurity.
After the Capitol was cleared Congress reconvened like ballers to continue the certification. Operating under an emergency joint resolution titled “What you want to object to now motherf—–?” both Arizona and Pennsylvania objections were quickly dispensed with. There was a scramble for white sheets as Trump’s Summer Soldiers, including Senators Loeffler (R-GA) and Graham (R-SC) quickly reversed course.* President-elect Biden’s and Vice President-elect’s Electoral College totals were certified.
This Was Sedition. This Was Insurrection.
After a night’s sleep and additional review of information, it is clear that the Capitol Hill riot fits the legal criteria of both seditious conspiracy, and insurrection. Sedition is the conspiracy to “by force prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.” And insurrection “incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto.”
I was against the misuse of sedition charges, even as recently as this weekend. Because of free speech protections, sedition can only be proven when the Brandenburg v. Ohio test that speech be “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action” AND “likely to incite such an action.”
The President’s rally, on the morning of the Electoral College certification fits the criteria of sedition and passes the Brandenburg test. There is a causal analysis easily shown that a small crowd of protesters at the Capitol in the morning was joined by a much larger crowd from the White House rally after the President directed them to do so. Likewise, President Trump’s video tweet after the storming clearly demonstrates “gives aid or comfort”.
The Capitol Hill riot also fits in character, scope, scale, size, and consequence previous recognized historical insurrections. Relatively small size, few casualties, or unlikelihood of ultimate success do not disqualify events as insurrections. The specific characteristics of armed insurrectionists using violence to disrupt or reverse the seating of elected officials was characteristic of the post-Civil War insurgency in the South including incidents such as the election riot of 1874, Battle of Liberty Place (aka Battle of Canal Street), and the Wilmington Insurrection (aka Wilmington Massacare) of 1898. All of these included armed mobs using violence to disrupt, delay, or reverse valid election results that the insurrectionists did not agree with.
Although there is discussion of the 25th Amendment, the InfoMullet endorses an option of Impeachment. While the House draws up, and passes, Articles of Impeachment the Senate should move expeditiously to swear in Senators-elect Warnock and Ossof who’s victories in Georgia are above the margin of a recount. With a 50-50 split Senate, the Democrats only need 1 Republican Senator to join their side and they have control of procedural motions.
The first procedural motion should be that the proceedings & votes of the Senate Trial be made secret.
Why the secret vote? This is described in more detail during our coverage of Trump’s first Impeachment Trial. During that Trial it was estimated 20-30 Republicans would vote for Conviction if the vote is secret. Once the procedures are set, let the chips fall where they may and move rapidly to a vote on Conviction. Sixty-six votes are needed to Convict a President and there are 50 Democrats plus 23 Republican Senators who already broke with the President before yesterday’s violence. That combination, plus a secret vote, is likely to meet or exceed the threshold required to Convict. There may also be a feeling of once-bitten twice shy for Republicans who have their names marked as supporting a President who waged an insurrection against Congress. This would be a chance to adjust that record before it’s too late.
The violent protesters who breached Capitol Hill security should be identified, and prosecuted, under appropriate acts. And the FBI is already beginning an investigation to identify those on the grounds, which will likely extend into an investigation.
But the response to this violent act must not be violence itself. The first principle at stake is that violence absent the imminent need of individual or collective self-defense is wrong and contrary to the rule of law. And the beneficiary of these acts should be the rule of law and a return to respect for the Constitution, not score settling of partisan differences.
- Fortunately, a stash of pressed white sheets were found in the locker of Representative Gohmert (R-TX) and handed out to Change-of-Heart Republicans.
As it Happened Sources:
Live Coverage of the Certification turns into Live Coverage of the Insurrection: https://youtu.be/BKy84YmL-sU
President’s video-tweet (subsequently removed for inciting violence by Twitter): https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1346928882595885058
DoD Release on Activation of NG confirming President Trump was not involved in consultation: https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/2464427/statement-by-acting-secretary-miller-on-full-activation-of-dc-national-guard/
Congress Reconvenes to Certify Vote: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/06/congress-confirms-bidens-win-trump-455253?
Rebellion & Insurrection: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2383
Seditious Conspiracy: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2384
Brandenburg Test to determine when speech passes between lawful and criminal incitement: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/brandenburg_test
Ongoing Coverage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_storming_of_the_United_States_Capitol
White House Resignations: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/01/07/slew-resignations-trumps-white-house-and-administration-follow-capitol-insurrection/6576560002/
Thursday Afternoon Resignations: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/transportation-secretary-elaine-chao-resigns
DC Capitol Police Briefing of Aftermath: https://ktla.com/news/nationworld/13-arrested-5-weapons-recovered-at-u-s-capitol-riot/
Friday Updates: https://www.nytimes.com/article/trump-resignations.html