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Opinion

Romney's Factually Challenged Claim That Trump Incited an 'Insurrection' At Capitol

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GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah appears to be all in on the impeachment of Donald Trump, saying the former president incited an insurrection and must be held accountable.

“I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offense. If not, what is?” Romney told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Earlier this month, the Democrat-controlled House voted to impeach Trump for a second time, saying his Jan. 6 speech at the Ellipse near the White House incited the rioters who entered the Capitol, while a joint session of Congress was meeting to certify the Electoral College vote.

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Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Romney made similar allegations that Trump incited the Capitol violence.

“Well, we’re certainly going to have a trial. I wish that weren’t necessary, but the president’s conduct with regards to the call to Secretary of State Raffensperger in Georgia as well as the incitation towards the insurrection that led to the attack on the Capitol call for a trial,” the senator said.

The Utah Republican told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace that he reviewed law review articles, which convinced him that “the preponderance of the legal opinion is that an impeachment trial after someone has left office is constitutional.”

“And, you know, if we’re going to have unity in our country, I think it’s important to recognize the need for accountability, for truth and justice,” Romney said.

If Romney is truly interested in “truth and justice,” let’s review the events on Jan. 6 a little further.

First, we know, establishment media outlets like The Washington Post and CNN have reported the attacks on the Capitol were pre-planned, meaning Trump certainly didn’t incite them by his speech.

What did Trump actually say in his speech to hundreds of thousands of supporters gathered in D.C. on that day?

“I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” the then-president said, according to an Associated Press transcript.

“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them,” Trump further stated.

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“Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated.”

Trump’s legal team has argued that swing states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin unlawfully changed their election laws through the courts and unilateral action by governors and secretaries of state in violation of the Constitution, which gives the authority to state legislatures.

Further proof that Trump did not incite the actions that took place that day is that the vast majority of those who attended the rally, and those who went to the Capitol, peacefully protested.

Only a relative few entered the Capitol and a subset of them engaged in violence.

Several Republican senators have already expressed doubts that an impeachment trial for a former president is constitutional or worthy of the Senate’s time, including John Cornyn, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Joni Ernst, Tim Scott and Ted Cruz.

Democrats need their whole caucus plus 17 GOP senators to join them if they want to convict Trump and bar him from serving in office again.

Romney was the only Republican senator who voted to convict Trump in February 2020 during the former president’s first impeachment, which related to his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

During that trial, it was established Trump had not engaged in a “quid pro quo” of U.S. military aid in exchange for an investigation into then-Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s shady dealings in the Ukraine.

Ukraine opened no investigation and Trump released the aid by the deadline set by Congress.

Do you think Trump was guilty of inciting an insurrection?

For Romney, all this appears to be personal. He doesn’t like Trump. He’s been railing against him since the 2016 campaign, calling the then soon-to-be president a “carnival barker.”

Trump showed himself a bigger man by endorsing the former Massachusetts governor’s senate run in 2018, and Romney has been trying to stab him in the back ever since.

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