During a new appearance on MSNBC, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges — who participated in the January 6 defense of the Capitol, where he was injured — pointed out how Trump bears direct responsibility for what happened at the Capitol. What Hodges outlined would seem to amount to criminal liability on Trump’s part.
Hodges spoke in the context of recent public testimony to the riot committee from Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as an aide in the Trump White House and had personal access to key moments. For example, she was apparently in the then-president’s entourage when he went to the January 6 rally in D.C. where he spoke shortly before the Capitol breach. Hutchinson revealed, among other things, that Trump apparently was aware of and basically accepted the threat posed by weapons among members of the Trump-supporting crowd in D.C. that day. She said she witnessed that instance firsthand. As Hodges put it:
‘[Trump] was told that people in the crowd were armed. And his immediate reaction was that, “They’re not here to hurt me” — implying that they’re here to hurt someone, and he knows who. And he wanted his metal detectors taken down so they could make his crowd bigger. And then he wanted to send them to the Capitol. So he did knowingly and with great malice of forethought send a mob of violent, delusional people to become terrorists and attack the United States Capitol, and attack law enforcement, members of Congress, the vice president, Congressional staffers. All the support staff of the Capitol were all in danger because of him.’
That sounds like corrupt intent. Watch Hodges’s comments on MSNBC below:
“When we were in the offstage announce area tent behind the stage [for the D.C. rally] he was very concerned about the shot, meaning the photograph that we would get, because the rally space wasn’t full,” Hutchinson said in previous testimony to the riot committee that panel investigators shared this past Tuesday. (That certainly sounds in character for Trump.) “And he felt the [magnetometers] were at fault for not letting everybody in… But when we were in the offstage announce tent… I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the President say something to the effect of, you know, I don’t f’ing care that they have weapons,” Hutchinson added. “They’re not here to hurt me. Take [the] f’ing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the f’ing mags away.” These details would seem to implicate Trump in inciting knowingly potentially deadly violence in D.C.
Trump has specifically pushed back on the allegation about what he said around that D.C. rally, although he’s misrepresented the claim. Hutchinson, as Trump put it, “said that I wanted guns at my rally. I didn’t want guns. I have to speak too, and I don’t want guns for anybody.” Trump wasn’t quite alleged to have specifically wanted guns… he’s simply claimed to have been fine with them. It’s not that far-fetched to imagine such a thing: over and over, Trump has very publicly tried to basically justify the riot. He has also repeatedly raised the prospect of issuing pardons for participants in the mob violence in the event he once again wins the presidency, but the overwhelmingly violent nature of what occurred at the Capitol is not somehow a secret. Hodges himself was assaulted by the mob in the Lower West Terrace tunnel area at the Capitol. Recently, federal authorities revealed the arrests of a couple more individuals who participated in the rioting crowd’s push against police there.