In the wake of the breaching of the U.S. Capitol, some of those who participated in the riot on Jan. 6 are formulating their defense, arguing that they did nothing illegal and that President Trump actually encouraged them to march down to the Capitol building after they attended a “Stop the Steal” rally nearby.
Making headlines this weekend was North Texas realtor Jenna Ryan, who was charged with “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority” and “disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds,” according to a criminal complaint. Ryan recently told CBS11 that President Trump gave her an excuse to be there.
“I just want people to know I’m a normal person, that I listen to my president who told me to go to the Capitol,” she said. “That I was displaying my patriotism while I was there and I was just protesting and I wasn’t trying to do anything violent and I didn’t realize there was actually violence.”
Speaking to ABC News, retired U.S. Navy SEAL Adam Newbold said that he’s seeking “clemency” after videos he posted to Facebook showing him bragging about “breaching” the Capitol.
A video posted to Facebook by Adam Newbold following the Capitol riot shows him on his way home from Washington, D.C.
“I would like to express to you just a cry for clemency, as you understand that my life now has been absolutely turned upside-down. I am not a terrorist. I am not a traitor,” he said, adding that he’s now “cooperating with the FBI” and that things were “taken too far.”
The attorney for Jacob Anthony Chansley, a.k.a. Jake Angeli — the man who can be seen in widely circulated photos wearing horns and carrying a spear inside the Capitol, is arguing that his client deserves a pardon because he had “hitched his wagon” to Trump and felt he was answering a “call” from the President.
“The words and invitation of a president are supposed to mean something,” attorney Albert Watkins said.
During the rally before the violence, President Trump gave a speech where he told the audience, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” later adding, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them.”
Since losing the election, Trump and his most loyal defenders have consistently disseminated the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen due to mass voter fraud perpetrated by Democrats. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who just a week after the Capitol riot was telling his followers that Trump will still be president after January 20, met with Trump at the White House this Friday.
“…lot of stuff going on that I can’t say, but all I want to do is give everybody confidence that Donald Trump is gonna be your president for the next four years,” he says in the video.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, UC Berkeley history professor Brian DeLay said that the rioters’ expectations of a pardon from Trump reflect a deep sense of entitlement.
“Impunity is in some ways kind of the defining feature of Trump as a public personality and of the Trump presidency. He has taken impunity to an art form,” DeLay said.
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