In a sprawling new statement, former President Donald Trump demanded the release of all those detained in connection to last year’s Trump-incited Capitol riot.
That group, of course, includes individuals who violently assaulted law enforcement officers, including one rioter — former NYC cop Thomas Webster — who was sentenced to ten years in prison after he (among other things) tackled a police officer participating in the Capitol defense to the ground and maniacally grabbed at the targeted cop’s gear. Among those whose cases have recently progressed are multiple individuals involved in the vicious assault on then-D.C. officer Michael Fanone, who suffered a heart attack and concussion, among other injuries, at the hands of rioters. Someone in the crowd shouted to apparently use Fanone’s gun against him. And the vitriol from those in the mob towards other targets is well-documented. What would have happened if they actually reached Nancy Pelosi? Mike Pence? Trump’s message in response to all of these developments is to release them all.
Trump spoke to that effect after the acquittal of his ally Tom Barrack, who was facing charges for lobbying on behalf of foreign interests without required disclosures, as the accusations went. Lobbying for foreign interests without fully disclosing the nature of that involvement could present serious complications for the U.S. security posture. “My great respect goes out to the jurors for their courage and understanding in coming to an absolutely correct decision,” Trump said of the case. “This could be the beginning of our breakaway from Communism, and other very deep and dark places where the United States should never be.” It is an utterly ridiculous proposition to claim U.S. policy is anywhere near Communism.
Among other things, Trump also complained about the recent jailing in Texas of two leaders of True the Vote, an election conspiracy organization recently referred by state authorities in Arizona to federal officials for potentially further investigation. He claimed the imprisonment was over the organization finding illegal ballots. It’s not from that, which the organization didn’t do, and it’s not due to the group claiming to have done so either. It’s because the jailed far-right agitators were held in contempt for refusing to provide the name of an individual who helped conspiracists access the internal computer systems at a challenged election software firm, which filed defamation litigation over the accusations. Then, Trump got to those imprisoned for actions connected to the riot. He didn’t distinguish between them — for instance, he didn’t specify that he wanted nonviolent offenders released, and he didn’t specify he wanted those in pretrial detention released. He said “all.” “Also, start treating the January 6th Protestors fairly,” he said. “Let them all go now!” That’s not promising for what another Trump term might entail.