While Donald Trump may continue to claim that he didn’t intend for thousands of his supporters to storm the Capitol and riot, leaving four people — including a member of the Capitol Police — it pays to remember that he spoke to rallygoers and urged them to march on the Capitol while also continuing to repeat lies about the election being stolen from him.
It turns out that Trump may have to pay a price for role he played in the riot, according to the Washington Post, which notes that a U.S. Attorney is not ruling out criminally charging the incumbent president:
“Asked if federal agents and prosecutors will look at the incendiary statements made by speakers at Trump’s rally shortly before a mob of his supporters breached security at the Capitol and wreaked havoc inside, acting U.S. attorney Michael R. Sherwin said: ‘Yes, we are looking at all actors here, not only the people that went into the building, but . . . were there others that maybe assisted or facilitated or played some ancillary role in this. We will look at every actor and all criminal charges.’
“Asked specifically if that included Trump, who had urged the crowd to ‘fight like hell’ before the rioting began, Sherwin replied: ‘We are looking at all actors here, and anyone that had a role, if the evidence fits the element of a crime, they’re going to be charged.'”
That could prove to be a big problem for Trump, especially if he winds up being charged with incitement to riot or sedition for urging his supporters to take the actions they did, Adam Klasfeld of Law & Crime notes, making it clear that a precedent for such a prosecution already exists, though it didn’t involve a U.S. president. He cites remarks made by Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen:
“In a memo from September 17, Rosen instructed U.S. Attorneys on how to consider possible ‘seditious conspiracy’ charges, telling them the statute ‘does not require proof of a plot to overthrow the U.S. Government, despite what the name might suggest.'”
Because he’s president, Donald Trump thinks he can do anything he wants with absolute impunity. But he’ll only be president for another 12 days, and then he’s subject to indictment, trial, and incarceration if found guilty.
If the evidence supports charging Trump, he should be indicted. And it’s safe to assume the next attorney general will follow the law and have no problem with making sure Donald Trump pays for his crimes.