One of the pro-Trump rioters who rampaged through the U.S. Capitol last week as part of an insurrection that is connected to at least five deaths has now directly implicated President Donald Trump in his actions. Jacob Chansley, who participated in the Capitol riot while wearing face paint and a furry hat with horns, recently told investigators that he “came… at the request of the President.” Now, Chansley faces criminal charges of “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and… violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds,” according to the Department of Justice.
Yesterday, Republicans asked whether any of the rioters had actually said they acted at the behest of President Trump.
This is from the newly unsealed criminal complaint against "Q Shaman," Jacob Angeli >>> pic.twitter.com/oa8CWvzPuB
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) January 14, 2021
Chansley is one of many Capitol rioters who have faced charges at this point. A significant number of the individuals who participated in the violence and have been identified by federal authorities have been charged with crimes along the lines of unlawful entry, while others like a man named Nicholas Rodean, whose charges were announced on Wednesday, have been charged with criminal activity like “knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on capitol grounds,” according to the Justice Department. The rioters stormed the Capitol while Congress was gathered inside and going through the motions of formally certifying the electoral college outcome, meaning Joe Biden’s victory.
Trump’s incitement of the Capitol rioters wasn’t exactly a secret. Chansley said, according to a criminal complaint against him, “that he came as a part of a group effort, with other ‘patriots’ from Arizona, at the request of the President that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021.” In a December 19 Twitter post via his since-removed account, Trump admonished his supporters to “be there” in Washington, D.C., on January 6, because the planned protest would “be wild!” according to the soon-to-be ex-president. Trump publicly touted protest plans for January 6 on other occasions, while also spending nearly the entirety of the time since Election Day pushing the delusional lies that gave cover to the rioters. He claimed that the election was rigged against him in favor of Joe Biden, which provided his frenzied supporters with the pretext for their violent assault on democracy.
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine (D) has already suggested that Trump could face criminal proceedings over his incitement of the violence. Once Trump leaves office, he will lose any tentative protections from prosecution that the presidency provided.