Archive for Sonam Sheth,John Haltiwanger

Nearly 400 Capitol Hill staffers wrote a letter to US senators begging them to convict Trump in his impeachment trial

trump plane
Trump.
  • More than 370 Capitol Hill staffers signed an open letter to senators asking them to convict Trump.
  • This request stems from Trump's "role in inciting the violent attack at the Capitol," per the letter.
  • "For our sake, and the sake of the country, we ask that they vote to convict the former president and bar him from ever holding office again," they wrote. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

More than 370 Capitol Hill staffers signed a letter Wednesday asking US senators to convict former President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial.

"On January 6, 2021, our workplace was attacked by a violent mob trying to stop the electoral college vote count," the letter, which was signed by predominantly Democratic staffers, said. "That mob was incited by former president Donald J. Trump and his political allies, some of whom we pass every day in the hallways at work."

The letter went on to say that many of its signatories went to school after the deadly Columbine High School massacre in Colorado in 1999 "and were trained to respond to active shooter situations in our classrooms."

"As the mob smashed through Capitol Police barricades, broke doors and windows, and charged into the Capitol with body armor and weapons, many of us hid behind chairs and under desks or barricaded ourselves in offices. Others watched on TV and frantically tried to reach bosses and colleagues as they fled for their lives," the letter said.

The staffers faulted Trump for violating the US's "legacy" of the peaceful transfer of power by egging his supporters to march on the Capitol and block Congress from formalizing Biden's victory. The resulting insurrection led to six deaths.

"A Capitol Police officer - one of our co-workers who guards and greets us every day - was beaten to death," the letter said, referring to Brian Sicknick, who died from brain injuries sustained after Trump supporters beat him with a fire extinguisher.

For months leading up to his January 6 rally during which he told his base to "fight like hell" against the election results, Trump promoted wild and unhinged conspiracy theories alleging that Democrats colluded with voting-machine companies and dead Communist dictators to "steal" the general election.

None of the claims have any merit, and a number of Trump-aligned media entities who peddled those lies have been sued or were threatened with defamation lawsuits by Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic.

"The attack on our workplace was inspired by lies told by the former president and others about the results of the election in a baseless, months-long effort to reject votes lawfully cast by the American people," the letter said, adding that the US Constitution calls for a "shared commitment to equal justice, the rule of law, and the peaceful resolution of our differences."

"Any person who doesn't share these beliefs has no place representing the American people, now or in the future. The use of violence and lies to overturn an election is not worthy of debate," it went on to say. "Either you stand with the republic or against it."

The letter concluded: "As Congressional employees, we don't have a vote on whether to convict Donald J. Trump for his role in inciting the violent attack at the Capitol, but our Senators do. And for our sake, and the sake of the country, we ask that they vote to convict the former president and bar him from ever holding office again."

Oral arguments in Trump's Senate impeachment trial will kick off next week, and the House impeachment managers who will act as prosecutors in the trial, as well as Trump's defense team, submitted initial briefs on Tuesday.

A two-thirds majority is required to convict and potentially bar the former president from ever holding public office again. To reach that threshold, at least 17 Republicans would have to break ranks and side with Democrats in convicting Trump. But there's virtually no chance that will happen - indeed, 45 Senate Republicans voted last week to declare the trial itself unconstitutional, all but guaranteeing Trump's acquittal.

Read the original article on Business Insider

GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville says he doesn’t know anything about Marjorie Taylor Greene because bad weather has prevented him from reading the news

Tommy Tuberville
Sen. Tuberville.
  • Sen. Tommy Tuberville said on Tuesday that he can't comment on allegations about Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
  • "I haven't even looked at what all she's done," he said. "Travel in this weather it's been a little rough looking at any news or whatever."
  • Greene drew backlash for her support of conspiracy theories and may be stripped of committee assignments.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama said Tuesday that he can't comment on allegations against Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene because bad weather has prevented him from reading the news.

"I haven't even looked at what all she's done," he told the CNN producer Ted Barrett. "I'd have to hold back a statement on that. Travel in this weather it's been a little rough looking at any news or whatever."

Tuberville, who ousted former Democratic Sen. Doug Jones last year, appeared to be referring to the snow Washington has gotten over the last few days. The newly sworn-in senator, who was previously a career college football coach, recently denied attending a meeting at the Trump International Hotel in Washington with members of then-President Donald Trump's inner circle to discuss how to overturn the 2020 election results on January 5, the day before the Capitol insurrection. But photos posted on social media appear to show him at the hotel that day. 

Greene, a far-right freshman member from Georgia, has drawn sharp backlash in recent weeks for embracing wild conspiracy theories and aggressively promoting former President Donald Trump's lies about the election. But Greene has drawn headlines for months as reporters dug into her support for the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory and the slew of racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic statements she's made. 

On Monday, Politico reported that House Democrats are preparing to strip Greene of her committee assignments if Republicans don't take action.

The report came after a video surfaced showing Greene harassing a Parkland school shooting survivor and claiming the tragedy was a false-flag operation. CNN also uncovered Facebook posts in which Greene expressed support for assassinating top Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former President Barack Obama, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The left-leaning outlet Media Matters for America later found additional social media posts where Greene amplified an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory claiming that a space laser linked to Rothschild Inc. was responsible for the deadly California wildfires in 2018.

Some Republican lawmakers have since tried to distance themselves and the party from Greene. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell skewered the congresswoman's "loony lies," and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney called her a "wacky weed" and a "kook."

Greene shrugged off the criticism, tweeting, "Too bad a few Republican Senators are obsessing over me, instead of preparing to defend President Trump from the rabid radical left. Focus on ending the witch hunt. Do your job!"

Tuberville's aides didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Trump campaign’s top pollster published a blistering report that flies in the face of the former president’s election conspiracy theories

trump plane
  • The Trump campaign's chief pollster put together an autopsy detailing why he lost the 2020 election.
  • The conclusions confirm public data indicating that Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and diminished support among white voters were key factors in his loss.
  • They also fly in the face of Trump's bogus claim that he lost the election because it was "rigged" and stolen from him.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Trump campaign's chief pollster issued a blistering autopsy this week laying out why the former president lost the 2020 general election to Joe Biden. The main findings confirm much of the public data that's been released in recent months and fly in the face of Trump's conspiracy theories about the election.

Politico obtained a copy of the document in which the pollster, Tony Fabrizio, highlighted several key takeaways that he believed contributed to Trump's landslide loss in both the popular vote and the Electoral College vote. Politico said the report has been circulated among Trump's senior aides but it's unclear if the former president has seen it yet.

Trump's disastrous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was a significant factor in his election defeat, and he also lost significant, crucial support among white voters, and white men in particular.

Fabrizio arrived at the conclusions after examining ten battleground states that Trump won in 2016: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas. Biden flipped five of those states in 2020. Fabrizio's report said he drew on data from the National Election Pool's exit polls and AP's VoteCast.

These were some of Fabrizio's main conclusions as to why Trump lost:

  • His administration's botched handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 443,000 Americans and decimated the US economy.
    • Fabrizio's report said coronavirus was by far the most important issue for the electorate leading up to the November election, followed by the economy, healthcare, racism, law enforcement, and immigration. Issues that ranked the lowest were abortion, climate change, and foreign policy.
    • In states Trump lost, just 26% of voters believed he was better equipped to deal with the pandemic, while 73% believed Biden was. Trump didn't fare much better even in the states he won, with just 28% of voters saying he was better prepared to handle COVID-19.
  • Biden had a double-digit advantage over Trump when it came to how honest and trustworthy voters thought the candidates were, the report said.
    • In the five states Biden flipped, 41% of voters believed Trump was honest and trustworthy while 59% believed he wasn't.
    • In states Trump held, he saw an increase of just 2% in voters who viewed him as honest and trustworthy.
  • Trump targeted Black and minority communities with his bogus voter fraud conspiracies and post-election litigation, but Fabrizio's report said he actually gained support among those communities. He lost the most support from white voters, and white men in particular - a group that won him the White House in 2016.
    • In states Biden flipped, Trump saw an 8% net loss from 2016 to 2020 among white voters and a 12% net loss among white men, the report said.
    • In states Trump held, he had a net loss of 4% among white voters from 2016 to 2020 and a 6% net loss among white men.
    • The former president increased his support among Hispanic voters in all 10 battleground states from 2016 to 2020, seeing a 10% net gain in states Biden flipped and 12% net gain in states Trump held.
    • His support among Black voters inched up slightly, with a 1% net gain in states Biden flipped.
  • Voters over the age of 65 deserted Trump in the five battleground states he lost to Biden, Fabrizio's report said.
    • Between 2016 and 2020, Trump saw a net loss of 8 percentage points among elderly voters.
    • In states he held onto, he had a net loss of one percentage point in the demographic.
    • He also lost significant support from white, college-educated voters in all ten battleground states.
Read the original article on Business Insider

45 Republicans voted to declare Trump’s Senate impeachment trial unconstitutional, all but guaranteeing his acquittal

trump thanksgiving
Former President Donald Trump.
  • Forty-five Senate Republicans voted on Tuesday to declare Trump's impeachment trial unconstitutional.
  • Only five Republican senators voted against the motion.
  • The development all but guarantees Trump's eventual acquittal following the trial.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Forty-five Senate Republicans voted to declare former President Trump's impeachment trial unconstitutional on Tuesday, all but securing his eventual acquittal.

The vote came minutes after US senators were sworn in as jurors in the trial, when Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul raised a point of order forcing the chamber to decide on the constitutionality of even holding a trial in the first place. The point of order ultimately failed, with 55 senators voting to kill it and 45 voting against.

Multiple Republican lawmakers have pushed the theory in recent days that impeaching Trump runs afoul of the Constitution because he has already left the White House. Some legal scholars expressed support for the notion, but most have dismissed it and said refusing to impeach a federal official because they were about to leave office or had already left office would allow them to escape accountability.

"That makes no sense at all," the Yale Law School professor Akhil Reed Amar told NPR, referring to the GOP's argument. "You want to give someone a get-out-of-jail free card at the end of the administration so they can do anything they like and be immune from the high court of impeachment?"

Over lunch on Tuesday, Republicans were briefed by conservative constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley who argued that impeaching a former official is unconstitutional. But there is precedent for such an act. In 1876, the House impeached Secretary of War William Belknap after he resigned.

However, there is scant appetite within the Republican caucus to hold an impeachment trial, let alone convict Trump after the House charged him with "incitement of insurrection" related to the deadly Capitol siege on January 6.

"There aren't many in the Republican conference that I've talked to that are leaning towards it being constitutional," Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana told Insider before the vote on Tuesday. "It sounds a little bit after the fact when somebody's gone from office when that's the whole point of impeachment. But again, I'm going to listen to anything that might say otherwise between now and when we're required to vote one way or the other."

Braun voted to uphold Paul's point of order declaring the trial unconstitutional.

South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds also signaled his position on impeachment, shaking his head when asked if impeaching Trump was constitutional. He also sided with Paul.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, one of Trump's most stalwart defenders in Congress and a leading voice in the charge to overturn the election results in battleground states Trump lost, told Insider he believed the question of constitutionality was a "close" one.

"There's an open question on whether or not a former office holder is subject to impeachment," he said. "There are serious legal scholars on both sides of the question. Constitutional text - there is language that can be read either way. I think it's a close question."

Even so, Cruz added, impeaching Trump is a "mistake."

"President Trump has already left office, we have a new administration," he said. "I think this impeachment trial is petty, it is vindictive, and I think it's time to move on." Cruz voted with most of his caucus to declare the trial unconstitutional.

North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr didn't initially say whether or not he believed Trump's impeachment was constitutional. But he also later voted in favor of Paul's motion.

Only five Republican senators - Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, and Pat Toomey - voted against Paul's motion. Notably, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted in favor of Paul's point of order, indicating how he thinks his caucus should vote on impeachment. McConnell had previously refused to say how he'd vote on impeachment. 

Support from two-thirds of the Senate is required to impeach. Democrats currently have a bare majority in the chamber - 50 seats plus Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote - which means at least 17 Republicans would have to break ranks in order for Trump to be convicted and potentially barred from ever running for public office again. It's unclear how at least a dozen Republican senators could be convinced to vote to impeach Trump after declaring the process itself unconstitutional. 

Paul said earlier Tuesday that he believed enough Republicans will side with him and "show there's no chance they can impeach the president."

"If 34 people support my resolution that this is an unconstitutional proceeding, it shows they don't have the votes and we're basically wasting our time," he said, adding that impeachment would be "dead on arrival" if he got more than 34 votes.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene expressed support on social media for assassinating top Democrats

marjorie taylor greene
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is seen with her face mask pulled down as she speaks with a colleague on the floor of the House on January 3, 2021 for the swearing in of the new Congress.
  • GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene repeatedly expressed support for assassinating powerful Democrats, CNN reported on Tuesday.
  • In 2018, Greene wrote on Facebook that "the stage is being set" to hang Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
  • In 2019, she liked a Facebook comment suggesting Nancy Pelosi get a "bullet to the head."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia repeatedly expressed support for assassinating leading Democrats, CNN's KFILE reported Tuesday.

A review of hundreds of posts and comments on Greene's Facebook page revealed that in addition to posting far-right conspiracy theories about the "deep state" and Democrats, the Georgia congresswoman also engaged with individuals who called for executing prominent Democratic politicians.

CNN reported that in one Facebook post in April 2018, Greene spread baseless information attacking the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which was one of former President Barack Obama's key policy achievements. Someone posted a comment to the post asking Greene, "Now do we get to hang them ?? Meaning H & O???"

The individual was referring to Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"Stage is being set," Greene replied, according to CNN. "Players are being put in place. We must be patient. This must be done perfectly or liberal judges would let them off."

Then in January 2019, Greene liked a Facebook comment saying Nancy Pelosi, who had just become House speaker after Democrats regained control of the chamber, should get a "bullet to the head." CNN said that the following month, Greene broadcasted on Facebook Live from Pelosi's office and said that the California Democrat would "suffer death or she'll be in prison" for "treason."

Greene also reportedly expressed support for other Facebook comments that called for the execution of FBI agents. After CNN reached out to the lawmaker, she tweeted out a statement saying, "Over the years, I've had teams of people manage my pages. Many posts have been liked. Many posts have been shared. Some did not represent my views."

She did not deny any specific allegations and did not disavow the comments and Facebook interactions calling for the assassination of her political opponents.

The freshman lawmaker is a longtime supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which alleges that former President Donald Trump was saving the world from a global, Satanic cabal of child-eating and pedophilic Democrats. The FBI concluded in August 2019 that QAnon and other far-right conspiracy theories like it pose a domestic terrorism threat in the US.

Greene made waves even before she arrived in Congress given her claim that the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, was a hoax, and her long history of racist and anti-Semitic beliefs.

The Georgia lawmaker drew swift backlash after CNN's article was published.

"If Members wearing overcoats are not allowed on the floor of The United States House of Representatives, why would we allow those who've liked posts calling for the execution of fellow elected officials?" tweeted Rep. Dean Phillips.

New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell also spoke out, tweeting, "A sitting republican member of Congress called for President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and others to be murdered."

Read the original article on Business Insider

US senators have been sworn in as jurors in Trump’s impeachment trial

trump plane
Former President Trump was impeached for a second time and charged with "incitement of insurrection."
  • Senators have been sworn in as jurors Tuesday for Trump's second impeachment trial.
  • A summons will now be sent to Trump and he will be invited to respond in writing.
  • Oral arguments will kick off the week of February 8.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Senators were sworn in on Tuesday as jurors in former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.

The House of Representatives impeached Trump earlier this month, charging him with "incitement of insurrection" related to the deadly Capitol siege on January 6. The House transmitted the article of impeachment against Trump to the Senate on Monday evening.

A formal summons will now be sent to Trump laying out the charge against him and inviting him to respond in writing.

Typically, a Senate trial kicks off quickly after articles of impeachment are submitted, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reached a deal last week to delay the start of Trump's trial until the week of February 8.

Lawmakers agreed that the timeline would give Democratic House impeachment managers, who will act as prosecutors in the trial, and the former president's legal defense team, enough time to prepare their arguments. It will also allow the Senate to confirm President Joe Biden's Cabinet picks and push forward on his legislative agenda and COVID-19 relief proposal.

The Constitution stipulates that the chief justice of the Supreme Court presides over the impeachment trial of a US President. But it does not say who presides over the trial of a former president, and a Senate source told NPR on Monday that the chamber's president pro tempore, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, will oversee Trump's second impeachment trial.

To remove a federal official from office, two-thirds of the Senate must vote to convict. That's highly unlikely in this case, given that Democrats have a bare majority in the chamber - 50 seats plus Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote - and would need at least 17 of their Republican colleagues to break ranks.

The GOP caucus, for its part, doesn't have much of an appetite to even hold an impeachment trial in the first place, let alone convict Trump, because Republicans say it would be unconstitutional to conduct a trial for someone who's already out of office. Some legal scholars agree, though most have dismissed that argument.

"That makes no sense at all," the Yale Law School professor Akhil Reed Amar told NPR, referring to the Republican argument. "You want to give someone a get-out-of-jail free card at the end of the administration so they can do anything they like and be immune from the high court of impeachment?"

There is also precedent for impeaching and trying to convict a former federal official after they've left office. And in Trump's case, many Democratic lawmakers say it's necessary to impeach and try the former president in hopes of barring him from ever running for public office again. The Senate can only vote to take such a step if it also votes to convict Trump after his trial.

Here's what comes next:

  • February 2: Deadline for Trump to respond to the summons and for the House impeachment managers - who will act as prosecutors in his Senate trial - to submit a pretrial brief.
  • February 8: Deadline for Trump to submit a pretrial brief and for House managers to respond to Trump's response to the summons.
  • February 9: Deadline for House managers to submit a rebuttal to Trump's pretrial brief. Oral arguments begin after.
Read the original article on Business Insider

House transmits article of impeachment against Trump to the Senate, setting the stage for his second impeachment trial

Trump
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.
  • The House of Representatives transmitted its article of impeachment against Trump to the Senate.
  • Trump was impeached in January for "incitement of insurrection" related to the Capitol siege.
  • Senators will soon be sworn in for the impeachment trial, which will begin the week of February 8.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The House of Representatives transmitted the article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump to the Senate on Monday.

The article charged Trump with "incitement of insurrection" related to his role in the failed coup at the Capitol on January 6, which resulted in five deaths and multiple injuries.

"Our Constitution and our country are well served by the extraordinary leadership of Lead Manager Jamie Raskin, and Representatives Diana DeGette, David Cicilline, Joaquin Castro, Eric Swalwell, Ted Lieu, Stacey Plaskett, Madeleine Dean and Joe Neguse," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week when announcing that the article would be transmitted to the Senate on Monday.

Reps. Raskin, DeGette, Cicilline, Castro, Swalwell, Lieu, Plaskett, Dean, and Neguse are the nine Democratic House impeachment managers who will act as prosecutors during Trump's trial in the Senate. Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, who is the chamber's president pro tempore, will preside. 

On Tuesday, senators will be sworn in to act as jurors in the trial, and an official summons will be sent to Trump inviting him to respond in writing to the charge against him.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reached a deal Friday evening for the trial itself to kick off the week of February 8, which gives the House impeachment managers and Trump's defense lawyers about two weeks to prepare their arguments.

"We are respectful of the Senate's constitutional power over the trial and always attentive to the fairness of the process, noting that the former president will have had the same amount of time to prepare for trial as our Managers," Pelosi said earlier Friday. "Our Managers are ready to begin to make their case to 100 Senate jurors through the trial process."

Schumer also told reporters on Sunday that the two weeks between now and when the trial starts will give the Senate time to confirm President Joe Biden's Cabinet picks and work toward his legislative agenda. He added that the trial would be "fair" but that it would "move at a relatively fast pace."

In order to convict Trump and potentially bar him from ever running for public office again, two-thirds of the Senate must vote in favor. Democrats hold a bare majority in the upper chamber - the party controls 50 seats and Vice President Kamala Harris has the tie-breaking vote - and it's highly unlikely that enough Republicans will break ranks to side with their Democratic colleagues.

Several Republican senators have come out against even holding an impeachment trial, arguing that doing so is unconstitutional, despite evidence to the contrary. But a handful of Senate Republicans have signaled an openness to holding the former president accountable, including McConnell, Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse, and Pat Toomey.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Rudy Giuliani admits Biden is president hours after being sued for $1.3 billion by voting machine company

Rudy Giuliani
President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani speaks during an appearance before the Michigan House Oversight Committee on December 2, 2020 in Lansing, Michigan.
  • Rudy Giuliani acknowledged Monday that Joe Biden is the president and Kamala Harris is vice president.
  • The statement came hours after Dominion Voting Systems sued Giuliani for $1.3 billion.
  • Giuliani spent months peddling conspiracy theories about the company's role in the 2020 election.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani acknowledged for the first time Monday that Joe Biden won the 2020 US election.

"As far as this election is concerned, it's over," Giuliani said on his radio show on WABC-AM, according to the New York Times reporter Azi Paybarah.

"Biden's the president, she's the vice president," Giuliani added, referring to Vice President Kamala Harris.

Giuliani's statement came hours after Dominion Voting Systems sued him for $1.3 billion and accused him of defamation. The former mayor spent months peddling bogus conspiracy theories alleging that the voting company engaged in widespread electon fraud to deliver Biden the White House and "steal" the 2020 race from former President Donald Trump.

After Dominion filed its lawsuit, Giuliani put out a statement saying the action will "allow me to investigate their history, finances, and practices fully and completely."

"The amount being asked for is, quite obviously, intended to frighten people of faint heart," the statement continued. "It is another act of intimidation by the hate-filled left-wing to wipe out and censor the exercise of free speech, as well as the ability of lawyers to defend their clients vigorously. As such, we will investigate a countersuit against them for violating these Constitutional rights."

Dominion's lawsuit is the latest legal minefield for Giuliani, who is also under federal criminal investigation by the Manhattan US attorney's office over whether he violated foreign lobbying laws. Earlier this month, a New York state senator referred Giuliani for disbarment over his unsubstantiated and far-fetched claims of election malfeasance.

Among other things, the former New York mayor, who is also Trump's personal defense attorney, suggested after the November election that Dominion and its rival election-technology company Smartmatic colluded to switch votes from Trump to Biden in battleground states. There is no evidence that this is true, and multiple right-wing outlets have since had to retract the claim after the two companies threatened legal action.

Giuliani and other conspiracy theorists like the GOP lawyer Sidney Powell have also embraced and amplified the baseless allegation that Democrats and voting-machine companies conspired with dead communist dictators to steal the election from Trump (they didn't).

After Dominion filed its lawsuit against Giuliani this week, the company's CEO, John Poulos, accused him of having "actively propagated disinformation to purposefully mislead voters. Because Giuliani and others incessantly repeated the false claims about my company on a range of media platforms, some of our own family and friends are among the Americans who were duped."

Business Insider's Grace Dean and Jacob Shamsian reported that the lawsuit itself detailed how Giuliani continuously accused Dominion of engaging in election fraud and having lax security measures. In addition to pointing to several people who believed his claims, the lawsuit also referenced a speech he gave at a Trump rally preceding the deadly Capitol siege on January 6, during which he called for a "trial by combat" to block Congress from finalizing Biden's victory.

Read the original article on Business Insider

‘He can’t argue that nobody took him seriously’: Lawyers representing the Capitol insurrectionists are building a damning case against Trump

Trump
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the "Stop The Steal" Rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.
  • Attorneys representing people arrested in connection to the Capitol riot are taking aim at former President Donald Trump.
  • They're laying the blame at his feet for inciting the deadly siege by spreading disinformation about the election.
  • The allegations bolster House Democrats' impeachment case against Trump and expose him to more legal risk.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The rioters were adamant when they stormed the US Capitol: Joe Biden and the Democrats had stolen the 2020 election from Donald Trump. Congress wasn't doing anything to stop it, so it was up to patriotic Americans like themselves to save the country.

Now, facing a multitude of federal charges and lacking the protection of a presidential pardon, many of the insurrectionists are changing their tune and laying the blame for their actions squarely at the former president's feet. It's an inconvenient development for Trump, who is not only staring down a looming Senate impeachment trial but may also face criminal liability for his actions.

"Let's roll the tape," said Al Watkins, the defense attorney representing one of the defendants, Jacob Chansley. Chansley is more widely known as the "QAnon Shaman" and made headlines for roaming the halls of Congress while wearing a fur hat, carrying a spear, and covered in face paint. He was later arrested and charged with multiple felony counts including unlawfully entering the Capitol and engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

"Let's roll the months of lies, and misrepresentations and horrific innuendo and hyperbolic speech by our president designed to inflame, enrage, motivate," Watkins told a local NBC affiliate in Missouri.

Read more: How the Senate could vote to bar Trump from ever holding federal office again and kill any chances of a 2024 run now that the House has impeached him

Jeffrey Cramer, a former federal prosecutor who spent 12 years at the Justice Department, didn't mince words when addressing the allegation.

"This goes directly to Trump's impeachment trial" and any potential criminal case against him, Cramer said. "His words and actions for months directly led to an armed and deadly insurrection at the Capitol. He can't argue that nobody took him seriously or that his words didn't provoke violence."

A lawyer representing Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

'Wouldn't have been there if it wasn't for the president'

Watkins also alluded to Trump's repeated assertion at a rally preceding the deadly siege that he would join his supporters as they marched to the Capitol that day (which he didn't do).

"What's really curious is the reality that our president, as a matter of public record, invited these individuals, as President, to walk down to the Capitol with him," Watkins said, adding that his client "regrets very very much having not just been duped by the President, but by being in a position where he allowed that duping to put him in a position to make decisions he should not have made."

"You'll never take back our country with weakness," Trump told his fanatics at the January 6 rally, which took place as Congress was convening to finalize Biden's victory. "You have to show strength, and you have to be strong. We're going to have to fight much harder. After this, we're going to walk down, and I'll be there with you. We're going to walk down - we're going to walk down."

At the end of the 70-minute speech that was riddled with grievances and falsehoods about the election, Trump said: "If you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore."

And then he unleashed the mob.

Read more: Trump's incitement of the deadly US Capitol riot adds to an already massive tsunami of legal peril he's facing upon leaving the White House. Here's what awaits him.

One woman who was arrested and charged after participating in the riot told a reporter that she and her friends traveled to Washington, DC, from Texas specifically because the president "asked us to go."

"He said, 'Be there,'" Jennifer Ryan told a local news outlet in Texas. "So I went and I answered the call of my president."

Days after the failed coup, the House of Representatives charged Trump with "incitement of insurrection." The single article of impeachment accused Trump of having "repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the Presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by State of Federal officials."

It also accused him of having "willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged - and foreseeably resulted in - lawless action at the Capitol."

donald trump riots capitol hill protest demonstration congress
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 6: Trump supporters occupy the West Front of the Capitol and the inauguration stands on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.

Lori Ulrich, the defense attorney representing 22-year-old Riley Williams, struck a similar chord in a court appearance Thursday.

Williams was arrested and charged with entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct, theft of government property, and obstruction. She has also been accused of helping to steal a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during the siege, and a person who claimed to be her former romantic partner told the FBI she "intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia's foreign intelligence service," court filings said.

At Thursday's federal court hearing, Ulrich acknowledged that Williams had participated in the insurrection but said, "It is regrettable that Ms. Williams took the president's bait and went inside the Capitol." She went on to say that the charges against her client were "overstated."

Enrique Latoison, a lawyer representing another man charged in connection to the siege, told The New York Times his client wouldn't have been at the Capitol at all if not for the president's words.

The Justice Department's statement of facts accompanying its criminal complaint against Latoison's client, Robert Sanford, also indicated that he believed he was acting on the president's orders. In addition to participating in the siege itself, Sanford is accused of "hurling" a fire extinguisher at a group of police officers and injuring three of them.

"The group had gone to the White House and listened to President Donald J. Trump's speech and then had followed the President's instructions and gone to the Capitol," the document said.

'Hard for him to argue that nobody would listen to his words and riot'

The multitude of court filings stemming from the insurrection and recent allegations from the defendants' lawyers will likely play a pivotal role in Trump's upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate. The House will transmit the article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday, and according to the Constitution, the upper chamber must begin its impeachment trial by 1 p.m. the day after the article is submitted.

For Trump, however, an impeachment trial is the least of his worries. Democrats hold a slim majority in the Senate - 51 votes including that of the vice president - and it's highly unlikely that enough Republicans will break ranks to reach the two-thirds majority that's required to convict and remove a president from office, and to bar him from ever holding public office again.

Trump's bigger concern may lie in whether or not he'll face criminal prosecution over his actions.

"The fact that the rioters are saying all they did was follow the urging of POTUS goes to whether or not Trump's words incited a riot," Cramer said, though he added the defense likely won't help the rioters in their own cases. "Hard for him to argue that nobody would listen to his words and riot."

Michael Sherwin, the acting US attorney in Washington, DC, said earlier this month that federal prosecutors aren't ruling out anything or anyone as they investigate the deadly riot - and that includes the now-former president.

When asked if prosecutors will examine statements Trump made at the rally before the siege, Sherwin replied, "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."

Read the original article on Business Insider

McConnell reportedly wants to ask Schumer to delay the start of Trump’s impeachment trial until February

Pelosi McConnell Schumer
From left to right: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to delay Trump's impeachment trial until February, CBS News reported.
  • Trump was impeached for incitement of insurrection, but Pelosi hasn't sent the article of impeachment to the Senate yet.
  • McConnell is one of several Republicans who may vote to convict Trump and bar him from public office.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to ask Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to delay the start of former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial until February, CBS News reported, citing multiple sources familiar with the proposal.

McConnell first floated the idea during a conference call with the Senate Republican caucus, the report said. It's not clear when in February the Kentucky Republican would request the trial begin.

The Democratic-controlled Senate faces the unique task of mapping out an impeachment trial for the former president while moving to confirm President Joe Biden's Cabinet picks and enacting his legislative agenda with respect to the COVID-19 crisis and the US's economic recovery.

The House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump last week, charging him with incitement of insurrection related to the deadly Capitol riot on January 6. At a rally before the siege, Trump urged his supporters to march to the Capitol and stop Congress from finalizing Biden's victory in the 2020 election. The failed insurrection resulted in five deaths, including a Capitol Police officer who died after Trump supporters beat him with a fire extinguisher.

Read more: Joe Biden is hiring about 4,000 political staffers to work in his administration. Here's how 3 experts say you can boost your chances of getting one of those jobs.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not yet transmitted the article of impeachment to the Senate.

When asked Thursday if she could provide clarity on when the article would be forwarded to the upper chamber, Pelosi said she would talk to House impeachment managers about it "in the next few days" but declined to provide further details.

If Schumer does agree to push the start of Trump's impeachment trial until next month, it would give the impeachment managers and lawyers representing the former president more time to prepare. Trump, for his part, has had some trouble finding legal representation in the wake of the riot he incited.

Earlier Thursday, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said a defense attorney from his state, Butch Bowers, would represent Trump in his upcoming impeachment trial.

As the Senate continues weighing the timeline of the trial, Trump has been largely silent as he grapples with being permanently banned from Twitter.

The former president also faces some political peril as multiple members of his own party signal that they may vote to convict him following an impeachment trial.

At least half a dozen Republican senators, including McConnell, have hinted at their stances on the matter and laid the blame for the attempted coup directly at Trump's feet.

As the most powerful Republican in the country, if McConnell voted to convict Trump, it would be a seismic development that could open the doors for other GOP senators to break ranks and also convict the former president.

Earlier this week, McConnell said the mob at the Capitol was "provoked by the president." The Washington Post reported that he never wants to speak to Trump again, and The New York Times reported that McConnell believes Trump committed impeachable offenses.

Republican Sens. Pat Toomey, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse, and Mitt Romney have also conveyed their anger and disappointment in Trump, and some had called on him to resign while others acknowledged he committed impeachable offenses. Maine Sen. Susan Collins also said she was "appalled" by Trump's actions but has been silent on her position on impeachment.

Read the original article on Business Insider