For the select committee investigating the events of January 6th, 2021, there appears to be little doubt that Donald Trump is the mastermind behind the whole thing. In fact, based on the subpoenas that have already been rattled off, it looks as though this might be the only conclusion that the group is wiling to come to.
This has predictably irked the GOP, who’ve long insisted that the committee is nothing more than a Democratically-led attempt to rewrite the narrative of Trump’s second impeachment trial, which ended in a swift and thorough acquittal on the charge of “inciting” the rioter who laid siege to the Capitol.
But now one judge is wondering whether or not Trump’s silence on that day is a sign of his culpability.
Donald Trump’s hours of silence while a violent mob ransacked the Capitol — egged on by his own words and tweets — could be plausibly construed as agreement with rioters’ actions, a federal judge suggested Monday.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta made the analysis as he pressed Trump’s lawyers about their efforts to dismiss a series of lawsuits against the former president seeking to hold him financially liable for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection.
“What do I do about the fact the president didn’t denounce the conduct immediately?” Mehta wondered, homing in on a central focus of congressional investigators probing Trump’s conduct that day. “Isn’t that, from a plausibility standpoint, enough to at least plausibly infer that the president agreed with the conduct of the people that were inside the Capitol that day?
Trump’s legal team was quick to respond.
Mehta’s questioning prompted Trump’s attorney, Jesse Binnall, to push back, forcefully arguing that Trump can’t conceivably face legal consequences for actions he did not take.
“The president cannot be subject to judicial action for any sort of damages for failing to do something,” Binnall said.
The heavily faulty logic of the argument is sure to usher in a quick death for the idea, but it certainly isn’t going to stop the rabid Democrats on the January 6th committee from targeting the former President exclusively in the coming weeks.