Another one of those gems called my SiriusXM program. But first, some background.
The New York Times columnist Ross Douthat has been banging the drum on how Donald Trump supposedly can’t be removed from the ballot per the 14th amendment, as the Colorado Supreme Court ruled—something that the U.S. Supreme Court will decide—because January 6th wasn’t an insurrection.
He goes on about the “lawless mob” not being organized and not out to subvert the Constitution. Many people took him to task on social media, and as Greg Sargent noted, “You have to be in willful denial to not see that Trump initially summoned the mob, incited it, pointed it at Pence, and ignored entreaties to call it off *as part of* his scheme to illegally sabotage the transfer of power.”
Douthat is one of a cadre of conservative pundits who put forth the same argument. And clearly, Paul from St. Louis, who called my SiriusXM program to argue that “you guys” have to stop calling those who pleaded guilty and were convicted "insurrectionists,” even if Trump is wrong in calling them “hostages,” is been parroting those pundits.
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Everything that critics hit back at Douthat with regarding Trump and his intentions—and his being an insurrectionist—is true. But there is one other element as well that underscores it: Organized militia and white supremacist groups, whom Trump had summoned to the “Stop the Steal” rally and who we know Roger Stone was working with, were plotting an insurrection.
As I told Paul, the Oath Keepers leader, Stuart Rhodes, convicted of seditious conspiracy, bought an arsenal of weapons before January 6th. The Oath Keepers had a “Quick Reaction Force" that had put the weapons in a Comfort Inn in Virginia. The plan was to ferry the weapons up the Potomac after the Capitol was secured and hold the building. Per CNN, covering the trial:
Up until now, it hasn’t been clear whether the QRF was aspirational or was a real-world effort to stockpile weapons to be potentially used in the streets of Washington.
Harrelson texted a group chat on January 5, asking for the location of the “QRF hotel,” according to court filings. Kelly Meggs, another alleged co-conspirator, said they should talk over private messages instead of the group chat. Hours later, Harrelson arrived at the Comfort Inn, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors have obtained text messages from Oath Keepers discussing their plans and their goal of ferrying weapons across the Potomac River. Prosecutors later told a judge that they believed the planning turned into action on January 6, with real weapons at the ready in Virginia.
Were there people who attended the “Stop the Steal” rally who didn’t intend to be part of an insurrection but were used by the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, Donald Trump, John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, and others, and found themselves assaulting the Capitol and calling for Mike Pence to be hung? Yes (though they are responsible for their own actions). But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a planned insurrection, as I told Paul.
Listen in, and let me know your thoughts!