Jan. 6 was a traumatic day for America as thousands of post-election protesters turned into a riotous mob that stormed the Capitol, ostensibly to protest and halt the counting and acceptance of the votes of the Electoral College. The vote, conducted by Vice President Mike Pence was normally a pro-forma affair as the outcome was predetermined: Former Vice President Joe Biden was certified as the official winner of the 2020 presidential election.
Prior to the vote, President Donald Trump loudly called upon Pence to refuse to certify the election results in a last-gasp maneuver to overturn the election results, however Pence declared he had no constitutional authority to carry out such a request and proceeded to certify the election.
President Trump had encouraged his most faithful followers to come to Washington to protest the results of what he and millions of his supporters believed to be a stolen election via a massive and well-coordinated campaign of voter fraud. More than 50 challenges were made in federal courts to object to alleged election irregularities that deprived Trump supporters of their votes, including allegations of switching votes via corrupted voter machines or just the old fashioned method of stuffing ballot boxes, turning a Trump landslide into a Biden win.
None of the courts permitted the Trump legal teams to present evidence of their allegations; the lawsuits were dismissed out of hand. Some were dismissed for technical reasons: late filings, wrong forms, wrong jurisdictions, but many seemed to be dismissed because the courts didn't want to open this can of worms. Instances such as what many (including myself) observed on TV, when former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and a former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said they weren't allowed into a Philadelphia vote counting center even though they had a legal right to be present, were brazen examples of election night chicanery by Democrats. Bondi said she obtained a court order to allow Republican poll watchers to return and observe the vote count. Lewandowski said local election authorities defied the court order and the sheriff refused to assist, calling it "an act of brazen defiance of the court." By the time they were allowed back in the polling center, they said, all of the votes had already been counted, and Trump's large lead was erased, with the win given to Biden.
Trump's team made 38 specific allegations of fraud in battleground states; none were investigated or answered. Allegations included Pennsylvania having counted more than 200,000 more votes than registered voters. Detroit, Michigan, was accused of a count reflecting 139 percent of registered voters voting. Similar allegations were made across the nation, that the "most fair election ever conducted" was stolen from Trump via massive fraud. Had these charges been litigated, proven or disproven in a courtroom, tensions would have diminished. The National Review magazine outlined a detailed analysis of why and how Trump lost the election without fraud. It was a credible analysis.
Observers indicated the crowd in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 numbered in the hundreds of thousands, and they were fired up. Trump should have told them the fight was over and to go home; actually he never should have encouraged them to come, as the legal fight was over. He did tell them to protest peacefully, however you can't control crowds of that size—and once in motion, crowd mentality takes over. People will do things when they're part of a crowd that they'd never do alone.
The FBI investigation has thus far revealed that extremist groups planned to attack the Capitol before the Trump rally, however the rally provided the venue they needed. The rioters included many groups, including provocateurs from right and left and extremist groups such as conspiracy theorists, militia groups and fascist/terrorist groups. Two people (possibly three) were directly killed in the riot; two others died from medical emergencies. John Earle Sullivan, who has associated himself with both antifa and the Black Lives Matter movements, was arrested and charged. Video shows him wearing pro-Trump garb and shouting to "burn the place down." He was previously arrested in Utah in June in an anti-Trump riot. There were likely others, but the FBI investigation is ongoing. Time will tell.
Trump should have accepted responsibility, resigned, and apologized to America, promising to withdraw from the national political scene. Instead we now have a kangaroo court impeachment in which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denied legal representation for Trump during the House proceedings, with neither investigation nor hearings conducted, just two hours of speeches by both parties and a vote. In America, even a child rapist/murderer gets a lawyer and a hearing.
President Biden asked for unity during his inauguration. Proceeding with an impeachment trial in the Senate will further deepen the political division of America. He should take a cue from Lincoln and offer "malice towards none and charity for all" and get on with the business of the American people. Δ
Al Fonzi had a 35-year military career, serving in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Respond with a letter to the editor emailed email@example.com.