Testimony exposes Trump’s plan to declare himself dictator

Explosive testimony given Tuesday to the House Select Committee investigating the events of January 6, 2021 presented an account of Trump’s efforts to personally direct the storming of the Capitol, murder his opponents, and establish himself as dictator.

The testimony came from Cassidy Hutchinson, the former top aide to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows. In the course of her in-person testimony, supplemented by video clips of previous depositions, Hutchinson made clear that plans for a violent assault on the Capitol on January 6 headed up by Trump himself were in place well before the event.

Hutchinson said that after a White House meeting with Meadows on January 2, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani asked if she was excited by what was on tap for January 6. He told her, “We’re going to the Capitol. The president is going to be there. He’s going to look powerful.” She also spoke of extensive intelligence from the Secret Service, the Capitol Police and the FBI of armed paramilitary organizations such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers planning to occupy federal buildings and target Congress on January 6.

The most significant component of her testimony, however, related to the events of January 6 itself. Hutchinson reported that in advance of his speech at the Ellipse, Trump was enraged that the Secret Service had set up magnetometers and was seizing weapons from Trump supporters who wanted to join the rally.

Trump and his co-conspirators, including Meadows, Rudy Giuliani and a substantial section of Republican lawmakers, knew that far-right paramilitaries in the crowd were heavily armed and prepared to seize and kill then-Vice President Mike Pence and leading Democrats in order to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

She testified that Trump said: “I don’t fucking care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the fucking mags away.”

Hutchinson said she overheard Meadows say in regard to chants by insurrectionists to “hang Mike Pence” and nooses set up outside the Capitol, “He [Trump] thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.”

Hutchinson further revealed that after his speech at the Ellipse, Trump got into the presidential limousine, expecting to be driven to the Capitol. When the head of his Secret Service detail refused and insisted that he return to the White House, Trump tried to grab the wheel and then seized the Secret Service agent by the throat.

When taken back to the White House, Trump was in a rage, throwing things, while communicating with his co-conspirators on the phone, desperately trying to keep the coup going.

While his foot soldiers rampaged through the Capitol, Trump planned to march uninvited into the House legislative chamber, itself a breach of the constitutional separation of powers, and deliver a speech. He planned to prorogue Congress, seize the Capitol, and declare a state of emergency, setting the stage for overturning the election and installing himself as dictator.

Hutchinson finally testified that on January 7, Trump and Meadows discussed pardoning the rioters. In previously released taped testimony, she listed six Republican congressmen—Mo Brooks, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert and Matt Gaetz—who requested or inquired about presidential pardons in the aftermath of the failed coup. On Tuesday, she revealed that Giuliani and Meadows likewise asked for pardons.

The coup plan outlined by Hutchinson was modeled on the Beer Hall Putsch organized by Adolf Hitler on November 9, 1923, in which he planned to march on the Feldherrnhalle in Munich. The difference, however, was that Trump’s plot was on a far larger scale and under the direction not of an upstart and little-known fascist politician, but the president of the United States.

The hearing itself was held under extraordinary conditions. The committee, headed by Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson and Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney, suddenly announced it on Monday after previously saying it would not call a further hearing until mid-July. It kept the subject matter of the hearing secret and concealed the identity of the witness, Hutchinson, until Tuesday morning.

The committee took extreme precautions and convened the hearing quickly because it feared for the life of its star witness. Witnesses at previous hearings of the committee have testified to receiving multiple death threats from Trump supporters, egged on by the would-be Führer, who repeatedly denounces the committee as a kangaroo court.

There is no precedent for such a coup in US history, nor in any other major industrialized country. All those who have sought to downplay the significance of January 6 stand thoroughly exposed.

The explosive testimony raises a whole host of further questions. Given the amount of preparation by the coup plotters, why was the Capitol left unprotected? Why was there a virtual stand-down of the Capitol police and military, and who ordered it?

Then there is the further question: Had Trump succeeded on January 6, what would America have looked like on January 7? There is every reason to believe he would have launched mass arrests and killings of his political opponents.

Finally, there is the question: What was the Democratic Party doing throughout all of this? Biden was virtually silent before, during and after the January 6 coup. He said nothing for hours while Trump’s fascists ransacked the Capitol and the Democrats cowered in their offices and emergency bunkers. When he did finally speak, it was to request that Trump, the organizer of the coup, call off his goons.

The Democrats had access to the same intelligence as the White House as to the intentions of Trump and his allies. But they did nothing to warn the population about what was happening, let alone take measures to stop it. Even now, Biden refuses to speak about the latest revelations, and the Democrats refuse to call for Trump’s indictment and prosecution.

The Democratic Party has sought to rehabilitate the Republican Party, pleading for “unity” with its “colleagues” and “friends.” Its overriding concern is to fashion some kind of unity with Republicans and maintain the two-party system in order to prosecute the imperialist war against Russia and the preparations for war against China.

As a result, Trump and his co-conspirators have been left free to continue their plotting to destroy democratic rights and establish a fascist dictatorship.

The Socialist Equality Party demands that Trump be indicted and tried for an attempted fascistic coup. Such a trial must expose the whole conspiracy, not just the role of Trump. Who else was involved in the Republican Party, the Supreme Court, the military, the police, the intelligence agencies and the state governments?

Such a trial would not only jail the gangster Trump and his fellow thugs, but expose the complicity of the Democrats and the failure of the capitalist system itself, which is hurtling toward world war and dictatorship.