The reason Graham and other Republicans raise “calling the FBI” as a threat is because of a very simple subject that they repeated before Trump was actually charged back at the House. If impeachment is all about Trump inciting the mob who marched on the Capitol, murdered a police officer and ultimately caused more American deaths than Benghazi while setting up a gallows on the lawn; Then the fact that many of these insurgents were prepared for riot means that it is not Trump’s fault.
Not only is this completely stupid argument, it ignores what is actually in the impeachment. The records submitted to the Senate make it clear that Trump’s impeachment involves more than a single morning or speech.
In the months leading up to January 6, 2021, President Trump took a behavioral course to encourage and provoke his supporters to rally in Washington DC and obstruct the voting process that would confirm his defeat. This behavior stretched for months and included frivolous and harassing lawsuits, direct threats against state and local officials, and false public statements to his supporters to induce his supporters to believe that it was their patriotic duty to attack Congress and the peaceful To prevent transition of power.
The incitement that Trump was charged with occurred not just on the morning of January 6, but in the preceding months. During those months, Trump repeatedly lied about the election result, fed a growing tide of anger among his supporters with allegations he knew were false, called on the white supremacist militias to “stand by” and challenged his Armed forces rallied that day when votes were counted for a “wild” event.
As the impeachment makes clear, Trump “undermined confidence in the election results, spread dangerous disinformation and fueled false and savage conspiracy theories.” The full scope of this action is the cause of Trump’s impeachment and the subject of his trial in the Senate. Trump explicitly and repeatedly pointed to Mike Pence and members of Congress as targets for hatred of the followers, which he had inflamed with a stream of continuous lies.
Why does Graham think that calling the FBI to speak to the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and others who were ready to storm the Capitol and look for hostages in Congress is somehow a threat to the Democratic Fall? That’s because Republicans – and especially Republicans who appear on Fox and other right-wing media outlets – have reiterated the claim from the start that impeachment is all about Trump speaking at “Stop the Steal” – Rally spurred the march on the Capitol this morning. According to the frame they sold Fox viewers, Trump wasn’t really responsible if he didn’t specifically order people to break into the Capitol that morning. And if any of the traitorous mobs were ready to use violence, it is proof that the uprising was not Trump’s fault.
Unfortunately for Graham and others, this reading of the impeachment is as fantastic as the lies Trump told before January 6th. The impeachment makes it clear that Trump has worked for months to build anger and hatred among his supporters, despite repeated lies about the election. Trump supporters began planning violence against election officials in both Nevada and Pennsylvania within hours of Trump getting up in the early hours of November 4 to falsely claim victory. Trump encouraged this violence in every statement, rally, tweet between the election and January 6th. Trump didn’t even deny the invaders while in the Capitol, stepping out to say “We love you” and call them “very special.”
If Lindsey Graham thinks calling the FBI is some kind of threat, give her a call. Call the agents embedded in the Proud Boys and Ohio Militia. Call on the agents who warned of the mounting threat of violence from the white supremacists just to put down their warnings. Name them all. If what it takes to get Trump out of the system is spilling all the poison out there in public, let’s do that.
It shouldn’t be required. As Graham said of Fox in his interview, “he knows what happened that day”. It should be more than enough to condemn Trump and rule out the possibility that he will ever hold public office again. But if it doesn’t … are witnesses, sir. Let’s have the witnesses.