A lawyer for one of the insurrectionists arrested for his role in the storming of the U.S. Capitol last week is directly blaming Donald Trump for the violence, saying Trump invited the rioters to the building and deserves blame for the attack the world watched unfold on Jan. 6.
Albert Watkins, a lawyer for Jacob A. Chansley — the man who was photographed wearing a fur headdress with horns inside the Capitol building during the rioting — says Trump’s rhetoric since the election amounted to an “invitation” to come to Washington, D.C., to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli and the “QAnon shaman,” has been charged six federal crimes for his role in the rioting.
“He felt like he was answering the call of our president,” Watkins told CNN. “My client wasn’t violent. He didn’t cross over any police lines. He didn’t assault anyone. He was there at the invitation of our president, who was going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue with him.”
Watkins told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Christ, you’ve got a president who has been rabble-rousing for six or seven months. … Given the peaceful and compliant fashion in which Mr. Chansley comported himself, it would be appropriate and honorable for the president to pardon Mr. Chansley and other like-minded, peaceful individuals who accepted the president’s invitation with honorable intentions.”
It’s not only Chansley who felt he was invited by Trump to the Capitol.
Video taken during the attack shows others invading the Capitol insisting they were there on Trump’s invitation as well. A man can be seen shouting to police officers trying to keep the insurrectionists out, “We were invited here. We were invited by the president of the United States.”
Meanwhile, Trump and his allies claim that he never intended there to be a violent attack on the Capitol and that he only wanted peace.
During the session of the House of Representatives on Wednesday convened to vote on impeaching Trump on a single count of engaging in “high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States,” Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) asked, “Has any one of those individuals who brought violence on this Capitol been brought here to answer whether they did that because of our president?” After 30 seconds of silence, Mast continued, “It appears I will receive no answer,” and yielded back his time.
At least four rioters said they had.
Trump was impeached for the second time on Wednesday by a vote of 232 to 197, with 10 Republicans joining the Democrats in voting yes.
The single article of impeachment says that Trump “willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol, such as: ‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.'”
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.