There have been no shortage of wild and zany ways in which the Democratically-led January 6th committee has tried to pin the events of that day on then-President Donald Trump, but perhaps the most bizarre suggestion of them all is coming from a district judge.
For months now, cases stemming from the events of January 6th have been working their way through the court system, often with widely varied legal strategies being employed.
Now, however, one judge is considering the possibility that Donald Trump’s silence during the event could be construed as a sign of guilt.
Donald Trump’s hours of silence while a violent mob ransacked the Capitol — egged on by his own words and tweets — could be plausibly construed as agreement with rioters’ actions, a federal judge suggested Monday.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta made the analysis as he pressed Trump’s lawyers about their efforts to dismiss a series of lawsuits against the former president seeking to hold him financially liable for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection.
“What do I do about the fact the president didn’t denounce the conduct immediately?” Mehta wondered, homing in on a central focus of congressional investigators probing Trump’s conduct that day. “Isn’t that, from a plausibility standpoint, enough to at least plausibly infer that the president agreed with the conduct of the people that were inside the Capitol that day?
This drew a harsh rebuke from the Trump legal team.
Mehta’s questioning prompted Trump’s attorney, Jesse Binnall, to push back, forcefully arguing that Trump can’t conceivably face legal consequences for actions he did not take.
“The president cannot be subject to judicial action for any sort of damages for failing to do something,” Binnall said.
The argument is certainly a strange one, but there is little doubt that the January 6th committee will find something even wackier to suggest in the coming weeks.