WASHINGTON – Donald Trump on Wednesday defended national terrorists who stormed the Capitol on his behalf on Jan.6 while announcing federal lawsuits against social media companies – lawsuits that could see him testify under oath about his actions that day.
“We are going to hold big technology very much responsible,” Trump said from his golf course in Bedminster, NJ, where he spends the summer. “It will be a fundamental battle in the defense of the First Amendment.”
When asked what he did to defuse the mob attack on January 6, the day that triggered his banishment on social media, Trump instead complained about the harshness with which authorities were treating his rioters.
“It was an unfortunate event. However, I say that people are being treated in an incredibly unfair way. “Then he added, falsely:” There were no weapons in the Capitol, except for the gun that shot Ashli Babbit. … There was no reason for that. “.
Babbit was the woman shot to death by Capitol police while climbing through a broken window into an anteroom from where members of the House were being evacuated. And FBI investigations have determined that several insurrections did, in fact, bring weapons to the Capitol.
Trump added that the lawsuits, filed in the Southern District of Florida in Miami, could end with punitive damages totaling “trillions” of dollars.
Legal experts predict that their lawsuits will end quickly, as private social media companies have the right to allow or deny whoever they want on their platforms. After years of lying about all sorts of topics, Trump was finally banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube after inciting the January 6 mob attack on Capitol Hill in his latest attempt to hold on to power despite losing the US election. last november.
“The freedom of speech and freedom of the press clauses of the First Amendment, far from giving Trump any rights with respect to Facebook or Twitter, actually give those companies the right to kick out any user they want,” said Laurence. Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard.
But if the lawsuits are somehow allowed to proceed, Trump will almost certainly have to provide statements under oath, forcing him for the first time to answer questions about his actions and inactions on January 6.
In theory, that should make Trump’s criminal lawyers uncomfortable, said Danya Perry, a former federal prosecutor in New York.
“You’d think so, however, these are likely the same attorneys who let him go and do all those admissions at his rally,” he said, referring to Trump’s recognition on Saturday of the tax-free payments that his company was doing at a high level. employee for whom they were both charged last week. “So you have to ask yourself about the quality of the advice you get.”
On January 6, some of Trump’s aides at the White House began urging him to denounce the violence and tell his supporters to stand down as soon as they began assaulting police officers defending the Capitol building and entering through the force. But Trump did nothing for hours, instead tweeting minutes after the initial violation attacking his own vice president, claiming that Mike Pence “did not have the courage” to reject Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory and award Trump a second term.
When he finally released a video telling his supporters to leave the Capitol, Trump repeated the lies about the election that had prompted the attack in the first place: “We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a crushing choice and everyone knows it. “
“We love you. You are very special,” he also told the mob.
Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington did not respond to HuffPost questions about Trump’s willingness to testify under oath. Facebook and Twitter declined to comment, and YouTube owner Google did not respond to a query.
Trump spent weeks attacking the legitimacy of the Nov. 3 election after he lost, beginning his lies in the hours before dawn on Nov. 4 with claims that he had indeed won in a “landslide” and that his victory lay. being “stolen” from him.
Those falsehoods continued through a long series of failed lawsuits that questioned the results in a handful of states. After the Electoral College finally voted on December 14, making Democrat Joe Biden’s victory official, Trump began urging his supporters to come to Washington on January 6 to intimidate his own vice president and members of Congress into nullify the election results and install Trump as president for another term.
The mob that Trump incited tried to do just that when he stormed the Capitol. His supporters even chanted “Hang Mike Pence” after Pence refused to comply with Trump’s demands.
A policeman died after being attacked during the insurrection and two others took their own lives shortly afterwards. Four Trump supporters were also killed during the attack, including Babbit.
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