This Jan. 6 Trump tweet could be his downfall, says former prosecutor

Former US Attorney Barbara McQuade on Saturday revealed the tweet Donald Trump sent out on January 6, 2021 that could be his downfall.

The former president continues to face renewed scrutiny for his conduct surrounding the 2020 presidential election after the House committee investigating last year’s Capitol riots referred him to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for criminal charges and released its full report earlier this week had published.

After his defeat, Trump repeatedly claimed, without providing any substantial evidence, that the election was stolen through widespread voter fraud. House lawmakers have tried to link these claims to the riot, in which a mob of Trump supporters made a failed attempt to force Congress to block the results and show it did little to stop the violence.

McQuade, who served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan from 2010 to 2017, pointed to one of Trump’s tweets that could compound prosecutors’ case against him, in which he targeted former Vice President Mike Pence, who had refused to block the election college certification to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.

This tweet could be Trump's downfall: Attorney
Former President Donald Trump is seen, inset, the Twitter logo displayed on a phone. Former US Attorney Barbara McQuade revealed Trump’s January 6, 2021 tweet, which could show his role in allegedly inciting a riot.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images; Chesnot/Getty Images

She said a 2:24 p.m. tweet in which Trump blasted Pence for not having the “courage” to overturn the election results could “pass” the Supreme Court Bar Association to rule out his involvement in inciting a riot to prove in an interview with The Hill.

Trump tweeted: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution and allow states to confirm a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones, that you have been asked to certify beforehand. The US demands the truth.”

In the Jan. 6 report, lawmakers said Trump “knew exactly what he was doing” and a staffer warned him the tweet would imply “that it had something to do with the insurgency.” McQuade told The Hill that the report’s focus on that tweet was “a stroke of genius.”

“I think it’s that tweet – and they’re not presenting it as inciting a riot, but as supporting a riot – I think this tweet probably passes [Supreme Court] cash,” McQuade said.

Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor, narrated news week on Saturday, he agreed that Trump’s tweet “may be sufficient to pass the direct or legal causality test.”

“Trump’s tweets can and will be used against him if he is brought to justice. There is no better proof of what Trump was thinking than his own words. And written or recorded words are better evidence than spoken ones,” Rahmani said in written comments.

Panel releases January 6 report

McQuade’s comments come just days after the Jan. 6 panel released its findings from its investigation into the Capitol riots. The report and criminal evidence do not guarantee charges against Trump – and the former president has pleaded his innocence. However, he still faces a separate DOJ investigation on Jan. 6.

Among the report’s findings, lawmakers noted that the former president made “several efforts” to contact Jan. 6 witnesses and engaged in 200 acts to try to overturn the election results.

Other legal analysts have also commented on the report. Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner said in a YouTube video on Friday that an indictment against the ex-president would “write itself.”

“It’s like GPS for prosecutors. All they have to do is follow the prompts, follow the lead, look at the evidence of crimes uncovered and documented by the January 6th Committee – God bless them – and that is a criminal conspiracy charge, who writes herself,” he said.

news week has reached out to Trump’s office for comment.

Updated 12/24/2022 12:33 PM ET: This story has been updated with comments from Rahmani. This Jan. 6 Trump tweet could be his downfall, says former prosecutor

Rick Schindler

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