“Trump Supporters’ Own Explanations For Assaulting The Capitol Are Undercutting His Impeachment Defense”

Zoe Tillman for BuzzFeed:

Former president Donald Trump formally responded Tuesday to the charges filed by House Democrats in his second impeachment, denying that he incited a mob to violently descend on the Capitol building to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s win.

But court records in the 175-plus criminal cases filed so far in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection reveal that’s exactly what at least some of Trump’s supporters thought he was directing them to do.

“[T]oday President Trump told Us to ‘fight like hell,’” Troy Smocks, a Texas man charged with making threats, posted on Jan. 6 on Parler, quoting Trump’s speech to supporters before the insurrection, according to the government’s court filings. Smocks appeared to admit to participating in the attack on the Capitol in his posts, although he isn’t charged with that; he urged his followers to get weapons and prepare to “hunt” Democrats, tech executives, and others he considered “enemies of Our constitution,” writing, “We now have the green light.”

“[Trump] said that Our cause was a matter of national security, and that these people behind the massive fraud must be arrested and brought to justice. And that task, falls on the shoulders of We The People…. the American Patriots,” Smocks wrote, court documents say. A judge ordered him to be held in jail pending trial, citing his posts on Parler.

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