As ex-President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial on a charge of incitement of insurrection proceeds this week, there’s a new piece of troubling information tying Trump even more closely to the rioting that occurred on January 6, when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and tried to forcibly stop the certification of Biden’s victory. According to a new report from Open Secrets, “Newly identified payments in recent Federal Election Commission filings show people involved in organizing the protests on Jan. 6 received even larger sums from Trump’s 2020 campaign than previously known.” Those large sums include “more than $3.5 million in direct payments from Trump’s 2020 campaign, along with its joint fundraising committees” to interests behind the January 6 protests, Open Secrets says.
Event Strategies Inc., whose name appears on a permit for the main January 6 event where Trump himself spoke, was paid by the Trump campaign on December 15, not long before the chaos at the Capitol. On December 19 — less than a week after the payment from his campaign to a firm that was involved in the January 6 event — Trump posted on Twitter that his followers should be in D.C. on January 6 because things “will be wild.” The protest rally ended up devolving into the riot, and there’s a direct connection — members of the crowd at the rally where Trump spoke said, among other things, “Storm the Capitol!” and called to “invade the Capitol building.” House impeachment case managers shared footage of these remarks during trial proceedings on Wednesday.
“‘Storm the Capitol.’ ‘Invade the Capitol.’… ‘Take the Capitol right now.’ These were the words of the crowd. Trump was telling them to fight and he would keep telling them to fight throughout the rest of his speech.” pic.twitter.com/GUWXMYZgdn
— The Republican Accountability Project (@AccountableGOP) February 10, 2021
Besides the money that Event Strategies Inc. received from the Trump campaign, Open Secrets also reports that recent federal filings reveal “how at least three individuals listed on permit records for the Washington, D.C. demonstration were on the Trump campaign’s payroll through Nov. 30, 2020.” This demonstration is what devolved into the violence at the Capitol, where Trump supporters fatally injured a police officer, seriously wounded many other law enforcement personnel, and put the lives of many others who were on the scene in serious danger.
During his remarks at the rally whose organizers received payments from the Trump campaign, Trump told his supporters that they needed to “fight like hell” in response to imaginary nationwide election fraud that he claimed was responsible for Joe Biden’s election victory. Trump’s followers were listening and acted accordingly.