There Must Be Consequences For Attempting To Steal A Presidential Election
In a speech to the House of Commons in 1948, Winston Churchill said that “those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”
This warning looms large as we head into the public hearings to be held by the House Jan. 6 Committee in late May or early June. In those hearings, the Committee will present its work to document the facts and circumstances surrounding former President Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Committee members have already said they have evidence that indicates Trump engaged in criminal conduct.
The public hearings are an important opportunity for the Committee to lay out the evidence they have gathered that shows President Trump attempted a coup to steal the presidency for himself — the first such coup attempt in our 233-year history.
Fortunately for our democracy, Trump failed.
The Jan. 6 Committee has the responsibility to develop a permanent record for history and provide recommendations to ensure that any future coup attempt, beginning with the 2024 presidential election, cannot succeed.
A powerful public record already exists to show that Trump knew he was attempting an unlawful coup to overturn the election.
Trump and his co-conspirators never presented a shred of evidence to support their false statements that voter fraud occurred in the 2020 presidential election and had impact on the results.
Trump’s request to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger made clear that Trump had no interest in an honest counting of the votes. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said, in essence urging Raffensperger to provide him with a rigged vote count.
Furthermore, by implicitly threatening Raffensperger that he was risking criminal prosecution if he did not comply with Trump’s request, Trump was attempting to extort the rigged vote count.
Trump also instigated and encouraged the insurrectionist attack on the Capitol, the first such attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812. On December 19, Trump tweeted, “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild.”
On January 6, Trump addressed the crowd he had summoned to Washington and commanded them to march to the Capitol. Trump told the crowd to “fight much harder” against “bad people” and “show strength.”
Most significantly, as the crowd stormed the Capitol, attacked police, and called for Vice President Pence to be hanged, Trump did absolutely nothing for more than three hours to stop the insurrection.
Trump’s knowing and willful silence in the face of the violent attacks made his goal clear: he wanted the insurrection to succeed and the certification of Joe Biden as President prevented.
Federal District Court Judge David Carter in a recent opinion said, “[T]he Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.”
The Jan. 6 Committee has the responsibility to present to the American people all evidence it has gathered that former President Trump engaged in criminal activity by instigating, fomenting, and leading the illegal coup he attempted.
The nation is lucky that Trump failed. We cannot count on luck the next time.
There must be consequences for attempting to steal a presidential election, if we are to learn the lesson of history and prevent another coup attempt in the future.