Hold Trump accountable for incitement

CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports on the fallout for President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, following the riots at the US Capitol.

Posted: Jan 8, 2021 8:40 AM
Updated: Jan 8, 2021 8:40 AM

On Wednesday a pro-Trump mob assaulted the Capitol, breaking through windows and doors, resulting in five deaths. They also interrupted the election certification of President-elect Joe Biden and the peaceful transfer of power that has been the hallmark of American democracy for more than two centuries.

These domestic terrorists attacked the great symbol of American democracy and they should be held accountable -- and so should their Inciter-in-Chief, President Donald J. Trump.

Let's start with the President. There are limits to the First Amendment. It is a crime to incite or solicit others to commit crimes if you have reason to believe they may actually carry out those crimes. The relevant statute is U.S. Code, Title 18, Section 373.

Take Zachary Chesser, who is serving a long prison sentence, in part because he incited violence against the creators of the cartoon show "South Park" on a jihadist forum in 2010 after they portrayed the Prophet Mohammed in an unflattering light.

To a crowd of thousands of his supporters, some wearing body armor and many wearing quasi-military outfits, on Wednesday Trump spouted a geyser of baseless conspiracy theories about his loss in the presidential election.

Trump then urged the mob to go to the Capitol, saying, "You'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong." The mob, unfortunately, took the President at his word.

Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who has lost the moral standing he had as mayor of New York during the 9/11 attacks, also incited the pro-Trump mob on Wednesday, telling them they needed to contest the election results with "trial by combat." Giuliani should also be charged with incitement and/or solicitation of violence.

The domestic terrorists who assaulted the Capitol should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, especially if investigators find that there were leaders of the mob who conspired to commit these crimes. Conspiracy laws are often used in jihadist terrorism cases and result in lengthy prison terms.

As we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Americans are long overdue to understand the reality that domestic, right-wing terrorists now threaten the United States far more than foreign terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and its affiliates, which have not carried out any successful terrorist attacks in the US since 9/11. (There remains some debate about whether al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen actually directed the terrorist attack in Pensacola, Florida, in 2019 in which three US sailors were killed by a Saudi military officer, or whether the Saudi officer simply apprised al-Qaeda of his plot.)

Meanwhile, according to the think tank New America, far-right terrorists have killed 114 people in the US since 9/11, while jihadist terrorists have killed 107, and a far-left terrorist killed one person.

The US should wage a real campaign against far-right terrorism, as it did against jihadist terrorism in the years after 9/11. There is no federal domestic terrorism statute since that charge is exclusively related to individuals who have some association with a foreign terrorist organization. But now that Congress has been on the receiving end of a domestic terrorism assault, surely it is time for congressional action to implement such a statute.

A quarter of a century ago, in his book "Amusing Ourselves to Death," the critic Neil Postman warned Americans, "Our politics, religion, news...have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice. The result is that we are a people on the verge of amusing ourselves to death."

President Trump's antics stopped being amusing some time ago, but now they also have had lethal consequences. It's long past time for him, his family and his entourage to depart for Mar-a-Lago, where hopefully they will all have plenty of time to consult with their lawyers about criminal prosecutions that may proliferate against Trump once he no longer has the shield of the presidency.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 544046

Reported Deaths: 7037
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1133801672
Ramsey46957847
Dakota41493415
Anoka37550413
Washington24418273
Stearns20651216
St. Louis16500296
Scott15592116
Wright14440124
Olmsted1260496
Sherburne1031779
Carver956143
Clay769089
Rice7454101
Blue Earth682140
Kandiyohi621879
Crow Wing596486
Chisago539948
Otter Tail535173
Benton521396
Mower447732
Winona435749
Douglas434270
Goodhue431971
Nobles396848
Morrison386359
McLeod383254
Beltrami366957
Isanti363959
Itasca359451
Polk359466
Steele349714
Becker346548
Lyon343748
Carlton324352
Freeborn321729
Pine306521
Nicollet300742
Brown291239
Mille Lacs272548
Le Sueur266222
Todd265830
Cass243826
Meeker229337
Waseca227820
Martin209729
Wabasha19803
Roseau194718
Hubbard168541
Renville168543
Dodge16834
Redwood163935
Houston161814
Cottonwood152520
Fillmore15089
Pennington148719
Chippewa143736
Faribault141819
Wadena141221
Sibley133210
Aitkin127436
Kanabec126121
Watonwan12439
Rock121218
Jackson114710
Yellow Medicine109019
Pipestone107525
Murray10169
Pope9936
Swift97718
Marshall84117
Stevens79610
Lake77819
Wilkin75812
Clearwater75614
Koochiching75612
Lac qui Parle73122
Big Stone5544
Lincoln5542
Grant5398
Norman5139
Mahnomen4898
Unassigned48778
Kittson44922
Red Lake3817
Traverse3595
Lake of the Woods2962
Cook1440

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 355246

Reported Deaths: 5797
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk55552598
Linn20170329
Scott18763234
Black Hawk15468306
Woodbury14792219
Johnson1387680
Dubuque13035202
Dallas1082796
Pottawattamie10627160
Story1024647
Warren549086
Clinton531989
Cerro Gordo519386
Webster506191
Sioux503473
Marshall476274
Muscatine455096
Des Moines439365
Wapello4246120
Buena Vista421240
Jasper406670
Plymouth394179
Lee366855
Marion353975
Jones292355
Henry285537
Bremer278260
Carroll277750
Crawford261739
Boone256331
Benton249155
Washington248249
Dickinson238743
Mahaska223449
Jackson217242
Kossuth211561
Clay208625
Tama206371
Delaware201039
Winneshiek192633
Page189320
Buchanan187331
Cedar182723
Fayette182641
Wright178835
Hardin178742
Hamilton177049
Harrison174673
Clayton165455
Butler161834
Mills157520
Cherokee156438
Floyd154542
Lyon153641
Madison152219
Poweshiek152133
Allamakee149051
Iowa144824
Hancock142734
Winnebago135331
Grundy134732
Cass133954
Calhoun133011
Jefferson130535
Emmet127340
Shelby126637
Appanoose126247
Louisa126049
Sac125819
Mitchell125241
Union123732
Chickasaw122015
Humboldt117926
Guthrie116828
Franklin112421
Palo Alto109622
Howard102622
Unassigned10040
Montgomery99737
Clarke98023
Keokuk94330
Monroe93228
Ida88533
Adair84032
Pocahontas83021
Monona80430
Davis79824
Greene76310
Lucas74822
Osceola73816
Worth7018
Taylor65012
Fremont60410
Decatur5899
Van Buren55318
Ringgold53322
Wayne51823
Audubon4929
Adams3264
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