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Simpich writes: "I've looked at Trump's evidence many times - he doesn't even get to the threshold of a good argument. That's because he doesn't believe in facts."

Supporters of President Donald Trump break into the Capitol in Washington. (photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Supporters of President Donald Trump break into the Capitol in Washington. (photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Election Theater: Or ... The Capitol Hill Police Can't Protect the US Capitol?

By Bill Simpich, Reader Supported News

07 January 21


understand why people don’t want to concede any election when they think it’s fraudulent.

Since George W. Bush was installed as President by the Supreme Court in 2000, I’ve had that problem more than once.

When voter suppression took Ohio away from John Kerry and he lost the 2004 election due to that one state, I brought an idea to the Wellstone Democratic Club in Berkeley.

By the first week of 2005, we had convinced Senator Barbara Boxer to challenge the certification of Ohio's electoral votes in Congress because too many African Americans in Ohio had been subjected to a variety of stunts that lowered their vote count.

We joined with antiwar forces to send 4500 roses to her in appreciation for her willingness to stand against the machine.

But when you claim massive election fraud … you do need some good evidence.

I’ve looked at Trump’s evidence many times – he doesn’t even get to the threshold of a good argument.

That’s because he doesn’t believe in facts.

A belief that the news is “fake” and that your election has been “stolen” is a dangerous combination in a country prone to strong leaders and weak education.

Trump, an utterly delusional man, believes in theater and the land of make-believe.

He’s in good company in American politics. It’s all about posturing.

Trump urged his fascist buddies to come to Washington on January 6th. “Be there, will be wild!

The idea was election theater – to disrupt the ceremonial counting of the electoral vote in the middle of political protest in predominantly black Washington DC. Stir up civil unrest with fighting in the street – or even inside the Capitol. Invoke the Insurrection Act to bring in the military. As Trump’s former national security aide Michael Flynn suggested … declare martial law.

The military had good reason to worry about the events planned for January 6th. Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper right after the election, and replaced him with the little-known Trump loyalist Christopher C. Miller. Joe Biden’s staff has accused Miller for weeks of obstructing the presidential transition.

Ten former Defense secretaries wrote a joint letter to remind the military of its duty to stay out of election disputes.

National security analyst Bill Arkin told Amy Goodman on Monday that it’s really hard to figure out who is in charge of security for the Capitol. The team is a mix of the Capitol Hill police, the Park Police, and the Metropolitan Police Department. But who’s in charge?

You might think the Secretary of Homeland Security is. But Trump also fired him after the election – and his replacement, Chad Wolf, is off in the Middle East this week.

Nonetheless, the Capitol security forces are used to dealing with protests – they are a weekly ritual in Washington. But they are not used to dealing with trained agitators like the Proud Boys.

Here’s Proud Boy leader Joe Biggs on Parler: “We will not be attending DC in colors. We will be blending in as one of you. You won’t see us. You’ll even think we are you … We are going to smell like you, move like you, and look like you. The only thing we’ll do that’s us is think like us! Jan 6th is gonna be epic.”

Parler, Gab, and other social media were the organizing hub for the assault on the Capitol. Messages were exchanged on the best streets to gather and the best tools for the break-in.

I got up before 8 a.m. yesterday morning to watch Trump speak at the “Rally to Save America” to several thousand at the Ellipse at 11 a.m. Eastern. I hate getting up that early, especially because I figured Trump would not be on time. He was almost an hour late and carried on until 1 p.m. Eastern time.

That was just about the time that Mike Pence let him down and announced at the hearing that he was not going to help Trump steal any Electoral College votes.

At that moment, reports say that his supporters exchanged hundreds of messages online to storm the Capitol. They went after it from both sides – the east side (facing the rally) and the west side. I do think some of the police might have been surprised by the dual assault. The story – true or false? – is that the Trump supporters broke through four layers of fencing.

Whether or not the story about four layers of fencing is true, it is definitely true that a secure perimeter was never created. Look at these pictures and videos of the events between 1 and 5 o’clock Eastern.

This video looks like the Capitol police opened this set of barricades between 1 and 2 p.m. EST – and apparently not for the first time.

The opening sequence in this video provided by The Hill website shows another super-thin perimeter of officers.

I then heard on the television that the police were demurely asking the Trump supporters to “stay away from the windows and doors.”

After the rioters got inside the Capitol around 2:20 p.m., there was a lot of fraternizing with the officers. Timothy Burke shot this 9-second video of a selfie where the officer joined the protester – this one has gone viral.

There is a horrifying one-minute video of the shooting death of protester Ashli Babbit – there was fraternizing going on between the armed police and the rioters right before she burst through a broken window and was shot by officers in the House chamber with members of Congress.

This crazy photo depicts a Capitol Hill police officer (on the far left, Wikipedia confirms his insignia as a match) chilling with one of the most flamboyant Proud Boys known on Twitter as Q-Anon Shaman.

I watched television throughout the afternoon. Rioters held the Capitol for over an hour, and the Capitol stairs with little resistance until sunset. At that point, the police suddenly decided to stop ignoring them. Chemical agents had everyone moving in a hurry.

The American people are still waiting – as of this writing – for a briefing from law enforcement about the events of the day. Normally, they can’t wait to get in front of the cameras and ruin the opportunities for the criminal defendants to have a fair trial.

One question I have: Why can’t the Capitol Hill police protect the Capitol, even after weeks of warning?

Another question I have, after learning that the Capitol Hill police union is affiliated with the Fraternal Order of Police – the largest police union in America and an outfit devoted to the success of Donald Trump: Why did Jim Pasco, the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, say that it’s premature to speculate on how or why protesters were able to swarm the Capitol?

One final question. Did the Capitol Hill police have a conflict of interest in fighting fascists, given that the Fraternal Order of Police is more of a fraternity than a labor union – and one of the largest fascist organizations in the United States?

Bill Simpich is an Oakland attorney who knows that it doesn’t have to be like this. He was part of the legal team chosen by Public Justice as Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2003 for winning a jury verdict of 4.4 million in the lawsuit brought by Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney against the FBI and the Oakland police. 80% of the sum was for violation of their First Amendment rights for being falsely arrested after being bombed by unknown terrorists in an effort to chill their ability to politically organize.

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