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: 926931

Reported Deaths: 9740
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1809132056
Ramsey749811054
Dakota68505591
Anoka64961589
Washington41119367
Stearns34021287
St. Louis29939416
Scott26281188
Wright26260226
Olmsted22677131
Sherburne19206130
Carver1687671
Clay12219108
Blue Earth1162171
Rice11578139
Crow Wing11318124
Chisago1005281
Kandiyohi9913108
Otter Tail9908130
Benton9174128
Beltrami8249100
Goodhue822699
Douglas7967101
Itasca779999
Mower740049
McLeod723384
Winona715158
Isanti711085
Steele695034
Morrison678681
Becker631675
Polk608987
Freeborn569947
Carlton552577
Mille Lacs539479
Lyon532961
Nicollet528561
Nobles527954
Pine521143
Cass505255
Todd496443
Brown473661
Le Sueur464736
Meeker437960
Martin391344
Waseca381433
Wabasha380110
Dodge366412
Hubbard357649
Roseau320532
Fillmore310115
Wadena306040
Redwood283845
Houston275317
Renville271651
Faribault261835
Sibley256017
Pennington254830
Kanabec254437
Cottonwood232933
Aitkin225052
Chippewa222043
Pope209910
Watonwan201121
Yellow Medicine189925
Koochiching179225
Rock178429
Swift174124
Stevens170211
Jackson162016
Clearwater159421
Marshall154822
Murray152911
Pipestone150929
Lake134124
Lac qui Parle124425
Wilkin122016
Mahnomen108314
Norman10579
Grant102410
Big Stone9585
Lincoln8915
Kittson74623
Red Lake71810
Traverse6086
Unassigned563124
Lake of the Woods5285
Cook3141

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 532160

Reported Deaths: 7379
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk81677809
Linn32838430
Scott27126295
Black Hawk22334382
Woodbury20736263
Johnson20150108
Dubuque18996243
Pottawattamie16215214
Dallas15573115
Story1398059
Warren8637107
Cerro Gordo8141125
Clinton7928115
Webster7419124
Des Moines7153106
Marshall675494
Muscatine6717117
Wapello6546145
Unassigned64520
Jasper630591
Sioux622477
Lee5977106
Marion567697
Buena Vista503449
Plymouth493388
Henry427155
Benton414760
Jones413564
Bremer403873
Boone397042
Washington395464
Carroll373355
Mahaska372366
Crawford355647
Jackson324047
Dickinson317555
Buchanan312743
Delaware303255
Clay297636
Kossuth293477
Fayette290356
Hardin289253
Tama282878
Page276133
Wright270050
Cedar269527
Winneshiek267744
Hamilton262757
Floyd261049
Clayton252360
Poweshiek242043
Harrison240979
Madison237425
Butler237346
Cass235667
Iowa234336
Jefferson228544
Mills225330
Hancock222840
Winnebago222339
Cherokee217347
Appanoose210157
Lyon209842
Allamakee209456
Calhoun199519
Shelby199542
Union197141
Humboldt188231
Franklin188031
Grundy186137
Chickasaw184522
Mitchell184343
Emmet180146
Louisa178653
Sac175626
Guthrie169338
Clarke163629
Montgomery163146
Keokuk152639
Palo Alto152332
Howard150624
Monroe144340
Ida134141
Greene128818
Davis126825
Lucas126127
Monona124940
Worth12309
Pocahontas122125
Adair118239
Osceola105718
Decatur104813
Taylor100914
Fremont98913
Van Buren95922
Wayne86125
Ringgold78429
Audubon77617
Adams5869
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