The key to tonight’s hearing is found in criminal law — especially in three elements of the most serious criminal violations: knowledge, intent, and malice.
The committee has already confirmed that Trump knew he lost the election. They have also confirmed that he intended to stop the transition of power to Biden.
Tonight, the committee provided evidence of Trump’s malice — his deliberate intent to stop or delay the electoral count with a violent attack on the Capitol that endangered the lives of many people, in order to remain in power.
Evidence of Trump’s malice:
1. Trump was aware that armed rioters were in the Capitol — threatening the lives of the Vice President, members of Congress, the Secret Service, and the Capitol police. He spent hours in the dining room next to the Oval Office (from 1:25 pm until 4 pm) watching Fox News coverage of the attack. During this time he called senators to urge them to delay the electoral vote, and he phoned Rudy Giuliani.
2. Trump refused to take action. He was repeatedly implored — by his own White House counsel, other White House staff, and members of his family — to condemn the violence, ask rioters to stop and leave the Capitol, and go home. But for 187 minutes he did not.
3. He could easily have done so. He was a sixty-second walk away from the White House press room.
4. He chose to provoke the rioters instead. When the riot was underway, his first tweet was: “Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country.” In view of White House staffers, this “poured fuel on the fire.”
5. Then he said the minimum to the rioters. Eventually he sent out two tweets urging his supporters to “remain peaceful” with “no violence,” and urging them to “support our Capitol Police and law enforcement.” But neither of these was adequate — in fact, they were interpreted by some rioters to sanction what they were doing.
6. Rather than call the rioters off, he indicated they were doing the right thing. When House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urged Trump to take action, Trump responded: “Well, Kevin, I guess they’re just more upset about the election than you are.”
7. In his final video statement to the rioters — after 187 minutes of their rioting — he complimented them. He went to the Rose Garden, and said: “I know you’re pained. I know you’re hurt. I know how you feel. We had an election that was stolen from us, it was a landslide election, but you have to go home now. There’s never been a time like this where they could take it away from all of us. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. You see how others are treated that are so bad and so evil. But go home and go home in peace. So go home, we love you, you’re very special.”
8. He showed no remorse. At 6:01 pm he tweeted: “These are the things that happen when a victory is stripped away from great patriots. Remember the day forever. Go home with love.”
9. Even after the 2020 election was certified, he refused to say the election was over. When he finally agreed to address the nation the next evening, he did not want to say words that had been drafted for him — “the election is over.” He was only willing to say “Congress has certified the results.” Trump has never accepted any responsibility for the attack and never acknowledged the deaths of law enforcement officers, because he did not want to be faulted or imply any criticism of the rioters.
10. Trump’s entire violent plot was premeditated. As Steve Bannon said before the election, “if Trump loses, there’s gonna be some crazy shit.”
These ten revelations clearly establish Trump’s malice. He not only violated his oath of office. He is a criminal.