January 6 Was An Attempted Coup

This week’s testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson revealed, once and for all, what the January 6 attack on the Capitol was: not a riot, not a protest, not a demonstration that got out of hand. It was a coup: a coup Donald Trump and his closest aides planned. He wasn’t being “metaphorical” about his promise to lead the shock troops himself. He really thought he would go and was furious when he found out otherwise. He was prepared – no, he was eager – to lead a mob that he knew included deadly-armed and armored supporters against his political opponents. Lest we forget, by that time this included his own Vice President.

The above comes from Cassidy Hutchinson’s 1/6 committee testimony, but not solely that. By now, readers of this space are more than familiar with the usual suspects insisting that Trump didn’t or couldn’t assault a Secret Service agent or try to grab the wheel of the vehicle in which he rode. I can’t help but suspect it was to avoid this part from Politico’s Peter Alexander (emphasis added).

NEW: @SecretService spox Anthony Gugliemi tells me the agents in Trump’s presidential SUV are “available to testify under oath, responding to [Hutchinson’s] new allegations.” (1/2)

A source close to the Secret Service says both men dispute Trump grabbed the steering wheel or assaulted an agent. They do not deny that Trump was irate and demanded they drive to the Capitol. (2/2)

By the way, one of those men, Robert Engel, has already stated Trump wanted to lead the mob (Politico).

As then-President Donald Trump left a rally with his supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, he appears to have held out hope until the last minute — even as chaos unfolded — that he’d be able to join them at the Capitol.

Trump even raised the prospect privately with the head of his Secret Service detail at the time, Robert Engel, according to a person familiar with the agent’s congressional testimony. Engel rode with Trump in the presidential armored car called “The Beast” back to the White House after the Ellipse rally that preceded that day’s violent riot.

Engel told Jan. 6 select committee investigators that the two men discussed Trump’s desire to go to the Capitol and took different views on the topic. Engel noted that they went back to the White House instead of heading to Capitol Hill.

Hutchinson also testified that she herself heard Trump react to reports that there were supporters of his armed with deadly weapons and armor by … insisting that the weapons detectors keeping those supporters from the Ellipse be taken down (Politico).

Hutchinson told the House Jan. 6 select committee that prior to his speech at the Ellipse that day, Trump was mad that the area closest to the stage wasn’t full. Aides told him that was because some of his supporters were choosing not to proceed through Secret Service-staffed magnetometers because they didn’t want to have to give up weapons they had.

“Take the f-ing mags away,” Trump reportedly said. “They’re not here to hurt me.”

This puts Trump’s entire January 6 speech (to say nothing of Rudy Giuliani’s call for “trial by combat”) in an entirely new context. No longer can we see him in his usual – and convenient – role as the carnival barker looking just to rile up the crowd. We now know he was hoping to lead this mob into the capitol himself.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve seen this before – half a world away and over a century ago, when Vladimir Lenin led the Red Guards in the Russian capital and seized power. That, too, was a short, sharp, and violent operation designed to impose one man’s rule. The only difference here is that Trump did not have the control over his Secret Service that Lenin had over the Bolsheviks.

Pundits and politicians are swapping opinions about whether Trump will or can be charged criminally. I’m not interested in addressing that here.

I would just like to know this from my former Republican friends who, to this day, refuse to condemn or to oppose Trump. When did the October Revolution become the model for American “conservatism” instead of a cautionary tale?

If you can possibly countenance letting him or any of his enablers anywhere near power again, then you’re no longer following in Ronald Reagan’s footsteps, but rather those of the regime he helped bring down.

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