During an appearance on CNN, former D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone, who helped defend the Capitol on January 6 against rampaging Trump supporters, pushed for criminal charges to be brought against Trump over his role in January 6.
Asked for his thoughts about whether accountability for Trump is needed — or already coming — Fanone deferred to Attorney General Merrick Garland about how things would actually end up, specifically in terms of Trump facing meaningful consequences. “I think that, for a lot of people, Merrick Garland included, accountability was more in line with political accountability,” Fanone said on CNN. “That they felt that they could avoid a trial — which could be very ugly for this country, especially with how polarized things are now — by simply damaging Trump and his political ability, but I don’t think that’s enough… And I don’t think it’s enough for most Americans who want [accountability].”
Discussing the rule of law, Fanone added: “My understanding of that is that no one in America is above the law, and if Donald Trump, if there’s probable cause to suggest that he committed these crimes, which I think we’ve seen ample probable cause, he should be arrested. The case should be put before a grand jury, and if they indict him, he should be tried.” That’s a straightforward idea — to follow the facts wherever they lead, but how many Republican members of either chamber of Congress would be willing to say something remotely similar? Sure, 17 of them across both chambers voted for impeachment or conviction after the riot. There are more than 250 Republicans across the House and Senate. How long can a supposed commitment to the rule of law last if someone likely to have violated federal laws isn’t actually held accountable for doing so? For Fanone, following the facts means launching proceedings to hold Trump accountable for his apparent guilt. Watch Fanone’s comments at this link.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) indicated during a new ABC interview that the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, where she serves as vice chair, may issue a criminal referral implicating Trump. That wouldn’t force prosecutors to bring charges, but it would come with significant evidence. During testimony to Cheney’s committee, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson indicated then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone was concerned about the potential of somebody getting criminally charged if Trump went to the Capitol on January 6, which Trump hoped to do. Hutchinson also spotlighted a key detail helping further establish the ex-president’s corrupt intent: Trump pushed for magnetometers used in the security screening process for his January 6 rally to be removed. Trump made a similar push in his public speech that day, seemingly all-but-explicitly confirming Hutchinson’s account.
“The military, the Secret Service. And we want to thank you, and the police law enforcement,” Trump said in his speech that day. “You’re doing a great job. But I’d love it if they could be allowed to come up here with us. Is that possible? Can you just let ’em come up, please?” He was talking about people outside the rally: he wanted people let in, essentially accepting the threat posed by weapons in the crowd. “I think that speaks to his mindset that day,” Fanone said on CNN, discussing contents of Hutchinson’s testimony regarding Trump glossing over the dangerous weapons. “That he knew in advance that there was going to be violence on January 6, he assembled this militia from all across the United States, and brought them there to attack the Capitol.”