Trump rages on Truth Social after Jan. 6 report blames him for Capitol riot

Trump lashed out over the committee's findings — but the report already refuted his claims

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published December 23, 2022 9:11AM (EST)

Liz Cheney and Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Liz Cheney and Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump lashed out on Thursday after the House Jan. 6 committee released its final report on the Capitol attack.

The committee released its final 800-plus-page report blaming Trump for the Capitol riot and recommending that Congress consider banning him from holding public office. The panel also issued 11 recommendations to prevent a similar attack in the future, including reforming the Electoral Count Act that Trump sought to exploit to overturn his election loss.

The report states that the blame for the attack falls on "one man," calling Trump the "central cause" of the riot.

"None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him," the report says, accusing Trump of illegally partaking in a "multi-part conspiracy" to try to steal the election.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the committee's vice-chair, wrote in a foreword that one of the most "shameful findings from our hearings" was the revelation that Trump sat and watched the riot unfold on TV while ignoring pleas from his allies and aides to call on his supporters to stop the violence.

"In addition to being unlawful, as described in this report, this was an utter moral failure—and a clear dereliction of duty..." Cheney wrote. "No man who would behave that way at that moment in time can ever serve in any position of authority in our nation again. He is unfit for any office."

Trump responded to the report by falsely blaming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for the riot.

"The highly partisan Unselect Committee Report purposely fails to mention the failure of Pelosi to heed my recommendation for troops to be used in D.C., show the 'Peacefully and Patrioticly' words I used, or study the reason for the protest, Election Fraud. WITCH HUNT!" Trump wrote on Truth Social, before posting a series of tweets falsely claiming that the "Government of the United States changed our Election Result."

Trump previously claimed that Pelosi rejected his recommendation to deploy National Guard troops ahead of the attack but the committee found that "Trump gave no order to deploy the National Guard that day, and made no effort to work with the Department of Justice to coordinate and deploy law enforcement assets. But Mike Pence did each of those things."

A spokesperson for Pelosi noted that the speaker has no authority to reject an order from the commander-in-chief.

The Jan. 6 report notes that Trump used the White House-scripted term "peacefully and patriotically" once during his 50-minute speech at the Ellipse ahead of the riot but spent most of the speech urging his supporters to "fight."

Numerous former Trump advisers testified that Trump tried to join his supporters in going to the Capitol.

"We all knew . . . that this was going to move to something else if he physically walked to the Capitol," a White House employee told the committee, according to the report. "I don't know if you want to use the word 'insurrection,' 'coup,' whatever. We all knew that this would move from a normal democratic . . . public event into something else."

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The report, which is broken up into eight chapters, details Trump's efforts to stoke conspiracy theories about the election before any votes were cast and his efforts to pressure Pence and state officials and lawmakers in a scheme to steal the election in states he lost to President Joe Biden.

A spreadsheet obtained by the committee shows that Trump and his campaign targeted more than 190 Republicans in Arizona, Georgia and Michigan to take part in the fake elector scheme that has come under scrutiny by prosecutors.

The report also discusses how Trump's rhetoric mobilized far-right extremist groups ahead of the attack and failures by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to prepare for a potential attack despite the committee finding extensive red flags posted to social media.

Still, Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., blamed those failures on "what they could not know."

"The President of the United States inciting a mob to march on the Capitol and impede the work of Congress is not a scenario our intelligence and law enforcement communities envisioned for this country," he said in a foreword to the report. "Prior to January 6th, it was unimaginable. Whatever weaknesses existed in the policies, procedures, or institutions, they were not to blame for what happened on that day."

The committee already issued criminal referrals in the probe, urging the Justice Department to prosecute Trump on charges of inciting an insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to make a false statement and obstruction of an official proceeding.

Trump claimed on Truth Social that the referrals only make him "stronger."

"These folks don't get it that when they come after me, people who love freedom rally around me.  It strengthens me. What doesn't kill me makes me stronger," he wrote, falsely claiming that it would be "double jeopardy" if the DOJ prosecuted him after the Senate failed to convict him during his second impeachment trial.

If Trump is convicted of inciting an insurrection, he could be barred from holding office.

"The people understand that the Democratic Bureau of Investigation, the DBI, are out to keep me from running for president because they know I'll win and that this whole business of prosecuting me is just like impeachment was — a partisan attempt to sideline me and the Republican Party," Trump wrote.

The committee in its recommendations said Trump and his allies should be banned from government office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars anyone who "engaged in insurrection or rebellion against" from holding any "civil or military office."

"The Committee believes that those who took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and then, on January 6th, engaged in insurrection," the report said, "can appropriately be disqualified and barred from holding government office—whether federal or state, civilian or military."

Read the full report below:

Report FinalReport Jan6SelectCommittee by Igor Derysh on Scribd

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

MORE FROM Igor Derysh

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