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They Want to Kill Americans The Militias, Terrorists, and Deranged Ideology of the Trump Insurgency by Malcolm Nance Book

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They Want to Kill Americans The Militias, Terrorists, and Deranged Ideology of the Trump Insurgency by Malcolm Nance Read Book Online And Download

Overview: New York Times bestselling author, Malcolm Nance, offers a chilling warning on a clear, present and existential threat to our democracy… our fellow Americans

To varying degrees, as many as 74 million Americans have expressed hostility towards American democracy. Their radicalization is increasingly visible in our day to day life: in neighbor’s or family member’s open discussion of bizarre conspiracy theories, reveling in the fantasy of mass murdering the liberals they believe are drinking the blood of children. These are the results of the deranged series of lies stoked by former President Donald Trump, made worse by the global pandemic.

The first steps of an American fracture were predicted by Malcolm Nance months before the January 6, 2021 insurrection, heralding the start of a generational terror threat greater than either al-Qaeda or the Islamic State. Nance calls this growing unrest the Trump Insurgency in the United States or TITUS.

The post-2020 election urge to return to a place of “normalcy”—to forget—is the worst response we can have. American militiamen, terrorists, and radicalized political activists are already armed in mass numbers and regularly missed in the media; principally because Trump’s most loyal and violent foot soldiers benefit from the ultimate privilege—being white.

They Want to Kill Americans is the first detailed look into the heart of the active Trump-led insurgency, setting the stage for a second nation-wide rebellion on American soil. This is a chilling and deeply researched early warning to the nation from a counterterrorism intelligence professional: America is primed for a possible explosive wave of terrorist attacks and armed confrontations that aim to bring about a Donald Trump led dictatorship.

They Want to Kill Americans The Militias, Terrorists, and Deranged Ideology of the Trump Insurgency by Malcolm Nance BookThey Want to Kill Americans The Militias, Terrorists, and Deranged Ideology of the Trump Insurgency by Malcolm Nance Book
They Want to Kill Americans The Militias, Terrorists, and Deranged Ideology of the Trump Insurgency by Malcolm Nance Book

They Want to Kill Americans The Militias, Terrorists, and Deranged Ideology of the Trump Insurgency by Malcolm Nance Book Read Online Chapter One



JANUARY 6, 2021

—Slogan on T-shirt sold at a Trump rally

“Kill him with his own gun!” the insurrectionist shouted. “Kill him!”

January 6, 2021. Washington, D.C., policeman Mike Fanone was being wedged by the Trump supporters storming the white marble U.S. Capitol Building. For Fanone it was about to become a crime scene filled with cop killers, and he was the cop. Fanone was part of the small contingent of D.C. police fighting furiously alongside the Capitol Police to try to stave off a takeover of the U.S. Capitol, the citadel of American democracy. For Fanone and the officers next to him, it was looking more like a possible abattoir. He felt the rioters pulling at his shield; then they tore off his badge. A moment later, hands were stripping his belt of its pepper spray and radio. Other hands grasped his arms and then roughly pulled out the two spare ammunition magazines for his Glock pistol. Losing the thirty extra bullets was bad. If he needed to draw his weapon and defend himself, he would only have the fifteen shots already loaded. But that was the least of his problems. His stun gun was pulled out of its holster, and someone shocked him with it. The concentrated electricity knocked him down. His body jerked violently in the sea of batons, fists, and feet pummeling him. A few seconds later, he felt hands pull hard on the grip of his Glock 19. The gun stayed in only because of the internal retention system designed to prevent criminals from swiping the weapon. If the mob got behind him, they could successfully pull it out.

In a haze, he stared up at the mass of mostly middle-aged white faces, screaming, teeth bared and spittle flying. These people wanted to kill him. There were thousands of them and they had anointed themselves warriors for President Donald Trump. This was their war. Officer Fanone was outnumbered one hundred to one.

The men who were about to try to murder him were aggrieved that their candidate, President Donald Trump, had lost the presidency. They believed that they were following his orders to storm the Capitol and stop the certification of the election won by the former vice president, Joe Biden. Fanone later told CNN that he usually worked undercover in narcotics. The angry spiderweb tattoo on his neck provided good camouflage on the streets. Today he was in uniform. The red-faced rioters did not care. A mass of fury, the ones closest to him screamed: “Fuck you! Fuck the police!” The building was awash in a sea of American flags and TRUMP 2020 NO BULLSHIT! banners. There were thin-blue-line flags meant to show support for police. They were being thrown at the D.C. Metropolitan Police like spears.

Fanone and the other officers at his location were under a murderous siege. At 1:29 PM the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) watch supervisor placed an emergency call to the D.C. emergency operations center and officially declared the situation at the Capitol a riot. Soon, emergency calls of “10-33! 10-33!” were reverberating across the city’s police radios. That call was equally chilling. It meant “Emergency! Officers need assistance!” Fanone and his brother and sister police were being violently assaulted. Fists, feet, and objects flew at them. Long burnt-umber-orange streams of bear spray, a harsh, pressurized caustic pepper chemical designed to ward off grizzlies, were arcing over the rioters and into the face shields of the police officers. The insurrectionists were trying to blind the cops and then physically storm over them. The thousands of rioters were using pure massed weight against the thin rows of police and crushing them into narrow corridors.

And this one group was set on killing Fanone. If they got his gun, it would all be over.

Trapped between the two groups and shocked a second time with the stun gun, Fanone felt his life was about to be forfeit. An officer with twenty years’ experience, he knew he could break the assault by drawing his weapon, bracing it at his hip, and firing directly into the men who were beating the life out of him. He pondered the result if he gunned these men down. He could visualize it in his head. Draw. Brace. Fire. The first shot would give him a few seconds to withdraw. He could then bring the pistol up to his chest and empty the magazine. Fifteen shots into that mass, and they would fall all around him like dominoes. He would be free. As quickly as he thought it, he also knew that it would be a massacre. It would also spell his end as the anger of being shot at would whip the crowd up into a red-eyed fury of bloodlust and adrenaline like the wild ancient Scandinavian berserkers.

In a matter of seconds Fanone would be out of ammunition, and then the next hundred rioters would storm the doorway, stepping over the dead and wounded, and tear him apart. The melee would force the other officers to shoot as well. In truth, if the entire line of police opened fire, hundreds would die at that door. If they reloaded their 9mm pistols and concentrated their aim in three volleys of forty-five bullets per officer, it would look more like the paintings of Custer’s last stand at Little Big Horn. The assault would end, but Americans would die wholesale, and the hidden guns, knives, and cudgels would come out to retaliate.

Some protesters must have seen the desperation of Fanone’s situation. Some heard the calls echoing around the crowd to kill him. A few who actually “back the blue” got in between Fanone and the surging mob. After the beating and the shocks, which doctors would later determine caused a mini heart attack, he was almost literally dead on his feet. Officer Fanone looked at the crowd and appealed to their humanity. He shouted, “I’ve got kids.” He did. Four beautiful girls. Under the protection of a few civilians, he managed to slip back behind police lines.

Yet the day was young, and others would die, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, a U.S. Air Force security police veteran turned cop. He died from an unknown cause, but it likely included injuries sustained from beatings and bear spray. In a way, he was lucky. Fanone looked into the eyes of his attackers, who were likely very disappointed that he would not die for his efforts to prevent them from ending American democracy.

The plan to take the Capitol was simple. Organize to attend the Fight for Trump rally, informally called Stop the Steal. Then storm the white-domed building. Next, punish those who were inside committing what the insurrectionists capriciously called treason. And finally, declare Trump as the rightful president of the United States.

During the push to the Capitol, the throng awaited news of whether Vice President Pence would stop the certification and hand the election to Trump. They had been fed the lie that he had the power to do so as president of the Senate. But to the Trump rioters, laws were irrelevant now. They wanted a result, and they were more than willing to end the lives of the police and politicians alike to get it. A hangman’s platform with a solid noose had been assembled at the edge of the rally. It featured a sarcastic sign: ART DISPLAY.

American democracy had been under threat years before the January 6 insurrection. The deadly hydra-like heads of racism, murder, lynching, and anti-Semitism had snapped at the throat of the country before. However, the entire multiheaded monster had now been freed to rampage and destroy its own home. America was under direct attack, but this time from its own citizens.

For the first time since the Civil War, seditious words led to the incitement of insurrection against the American state. They would lead to Donald Trump’s second impeachment. But that was no matter. He was fighting a long war. He maintained the fantastic delusion that he won the 2020 election by tens of millions of votes. To President Donald J. Trump, if he could not be America’s leader legitimately, then he would mobilize his supporters to retain the presidency … by force.

Storm Warning

November 3, 2020, should have been a triumphant day for American democracy. The Trump administration, and what could be arguably called one of the darkest periods in the nation’s history, ended when more than 150,000,000 Americans came out to vote and elected Joe Biden the forty-sixth president of the United States. When the election was finally called for Biden, much of the nation exploded in happiness and relief. It was a victory that was celebrated in the nation with as much gusto and vigor as VE and VJ Days, the two celebratory days in 1945 when Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan surrendered. One Twitter commentator remarked that Americans were celebrating in the streets the way oppressed peoples do when they topple a hated dictator. In response, I tweeted, “We have.”

The election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris was a decision to bring America out of the virus-plagued wilderness. The nation could go back to breathing again. Donald Trump went into hiding. For ten days, he made no comments and did not appear in public except to play golf.

But while there was celebration and jubilation on one side, the election of 2020 turned out quite differently than Trump voters expected. Over eighty million Americans had turned out in the middle of a global pandemic to make Donald Trump a singularly unique figure in American history. He hit the 2020 trifecta of being a one-term, impeached president who lost the popular vote—twice. Trump had spent the summer of 2020 waging a shadow campaign through his surrogates and Fox News, where he threatened to declare himself the winner if he was ahead in the polls at the end of Election Day … and by late evening of November 3, he was. But the states stuck to the law and kept counting the ballots. Election night turned into election days.

Trump was a man firmly committed to bringing America into a network of global autocracy led by Russian president Vladimir Putin. In my 2018 book The Plot to Destroy Democracy, I dubbed it “the axis of autocracies.” Trump ruled America like a king and treated 60 percent of the nation like vassals. He did not give a tinker’s damn about American constitutional republicanism. His petty tyrant-like behavior ensured that his four years were mired in scandal after scandal—any one of which would have destroyed any other president. However, a passive news media and a submissive Republican Party were terrified of his increasingly malevolent base.

The election of 2020 also revealed that his die-hard base constituted 40 percent of America’s voters. These voters thought that they should give an openly racist, white-supremacist-loving, bigoted pathological liar another four years to carry out his promises to “make America great again.” They did not care what the news media thought. They loved Trump’s “no bullshit,” in-your-face, obnoxious attitude and his unstable antics and turned out almost seven million more voters in 2020 than 2016 to prove their near-fanatical loyalty. They wanted a man whose administration was proud of the fact that they villainized immigrants in a nation of immigrants. A man who openly ordered border guards to steal and cage children. A man who worked with some of America’s worst enemies as opposed to our traditional allies. A man who could be said to be personally responsible for the deaths of four hundred thousand of his own citizens through his incompetence and inaction during the pandemic.

On the other side of the electoral coin was a coalition that looked like America. It was led by a man who has devoted his whole life to working for his nation. Joe Biden was the kind of man Trump despised, mainly because he had deigned to work for the first African American president. Mostly because he was a good person with few flaws to exploit. To Trump that was an unforgivable crime. He so hated Biden that he spent almost two years trying to destroy and discredit him by asking foreign powers to help him cheat in the upcoming election. He was impeached for those crimes.

For those who opposed Trump, the tension during the counting was terrifying. On the ballot was nothing less than the continuation of the American experiment itself. Democracy hung in the balance. The years of liberals waiting for Trump to fall because of his own corruption had proven futile. But Trump had lost and it was decisive. He refused to accept the “L.” It was time to straight-up steal the election. For this to work, he would need to hit the nation with the last hammer in his nearly empty toolbox: the big lie.

Engineering the Big Lie

The big lie falsely claimed that Donald Trump had won the election and that Joe Biden had stolen it. Trump falsely claimed Biden was working with the Communist Party of China, who had mailed in millions of fake votes for Biden. The alleged Chinese interference was supposedly supplemented by Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, Iran, and the two computer-voting-machine companies Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic. No matter that Chávez had been dead for thirteen years. Every word of these crazy assertions was a lie. But for Republicans, it was not much of a stretch because Trump’s capacity to lie was astronomical. As president he had told over thirty thousand documented lies. Trump would openly think up lies off the top of his head. He would then frame his imaginings and hearsay as facts. He even believed his own lies.

In typical Trump fashion, the big lie campaign started off in the summer of 2020 with a tweet. On June 22, 2020, the president tweeted, “RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS,” adding that “IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!”1 A week later, the full-scale campaign to call the election into doubt started in earnest. Trump stated, “Well, it’s had an interesting impact. I didn’t know it was going to be the impact it had. What people are now looking at is: Am I right? But not me—are all these stories right about the fact that these elections will be fraudulent, they’ll be fixed, they’ll be rigged? And everyone’s looking at it. And a lot of people are saying, ‘You know, that probably will happen.’”2

Trump learned early that using a combination of his status, incessant whining, and the claim that the system was against the “little guy” like him would get him one yard further toward riches than those who used honor, grit, and sweat-filled hustle. He used his never-ending grievances to get billion-dollar bank loans he should never have been given or just to get the best table at a restaurant. He was often given what he wanted simply to stop his complaining. Trump used the admirable characteristics of human decency against his competitors. Desirable traits like honesty and dignity were for suckers. He always acted like he wanted the poorest of the poor to join him in the ranks of luxury. That was how he suckered rubes into giving him money.

Trump would use avarice to bend people to his will. By the election of 2020, he was ready to weaponize them. When he was done, they would believe the big lie in the face of all evidence. Then he would lead a political uprising against the duly elected government of the United States. He openly hinted rebellion and martial law were within his purview.

Trump’s big lie strategy was actually nearly a decade old. During the 2012 presidential campaign between President Barack Obama and Senator Mitt Romney, Trump would go on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show and imply that Romney lost because of voter fraud. Specifically, fraud in Cleveland and Philadelphia, two cities with large Black populations.3 He told Hannity, “I’m telling you, November 8th, we’d better be careful, because that election is going to be rigged. And I hope the Republicans are watching closely, or it’s going to be taken away from us.”4 Trump told a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, “So many cities are corrupt and voter fraud is very, very common.”5 Interestingly, these same two cities would come to stick in his mind as hubs of “rigged” elections in 2020. Almost as if Black Americans did not live or vote anywhere else.

Trump could take any little bit of anecdotal information or a barroom story and turn it into part of the grand conspiracy. He used this strategy in his personal life too. He complained that the media coverage of the women who stepped forward to allege that he had inappropriately ogled, touched, groped, or assaulted them was an effort to turn women against him and steal votes.

This false narrative of a man who could not be treated fairly at the ballot box would be carried well into the 2016 election. Trump knew that the bulwark of his “winner” persona was to insist that losses would always be the work of evil enemies. Any time he lost, it was simply because the system was unfair. It was never his fault. Ever.

No matter how unlikely the story of election rigging, Trump would go on air to tout its veracity. He was assisted by one of his top henchmen, professional trickster Roger Stone. In a July 12, 2016, thirteen-page memo to Trump, Stone argued that Trump should adopt the term “rigged.” He explained that it worked for liberals, so why not for Trump, noting that the word “rigged” had been previously used by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Jerry Brown.6 It might also allow him to peel off many of the more conspiratorial-minded voters who hated Hillary Clinton. The rigged-election narrative started in earnest in August 2016. Trump told a rally, “I’m afraid the election’s going to be rigged. I have to be honest.”7

The news media was incredulous but easy to manipulate. While they were chasing the basis of the false claims, Trump was reframing the entire election as political outsider versus career politician. He hammered this home in the final leg of the race against Clinton, claiming nearly daily, “Remember, we are competing in a rigged election” and “They even want to try and rig the election at the polling booths, where so many cities are corrupt and voter fraud is all too common.”8 He followed up almost incessantly in tweets: “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary—but also at many polling places—SAD.”9

Trump won in 2016, but he understood that the narrative always needed fresh false claims. He tweeted, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”10 The lies continued for four years nonstop. Trump lied and lied and lied because he needed to ensure his followers would always have a reason to defend him, the perpetual victim of conspiracies.

Fast-forward to the summer of 2020. The polls showed Trump was stuck at the same approval rating that he had held for five years, 45 percent. On the other hand, former vice president Joe Biden was high in the polls. It looked as if the Democratic Party nomination was a lock for Biden, who had much higher favorability ratings than Trump. This infuriated Trump. So, he resorted to his next favorite tactic … he cheated.

Trump’s attempt to cheat would earn him his first impeachment. He secretly tried to extort the president of Ukraine into starting a false investigation of Biden and his son in order to smear him, threatening to withhold the weapons Ukraine needed to defend itself against Russia. After Trump’s acquittal in the Senate, he quintupled down on the conspiracy that everything was rigged against him.

The impeachment revealed the inner authoritarian of Trump in all its glory. He floated a trial balloon of dictatorship on July 30, 2020, when he wrote, “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”11 The national response was savage. Virtually every jurist, newspaper, and high school senior with access to Wikipedia reminded the White House that the Constitution stipulates that the election be held without delay. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, tweeted the exact text: “Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states: ‘The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes, which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.’”12

On November 3, 2020, the election went forward as planned and Trump not only lost, he lost badly.

Stealing an Election, Starting a Dictatorship

The big lie was launched the moment Trump was declared the loser. On November 16, 2020, a furious Trump sent a flurry of tweets attacking the election results as being rigged, of course.

He then shifted to a spate of lies, complaining that “dead people” had voted in Pennsylvania. More controversially, he asserted that voting machines were set up deliberately to steal his votes.13 His top lawyer, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, also claimed that voting-machine companies Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic had stolen the election for Biden. Trump said, “From large numbers of Poll Watchers that were thrown out of vote counting rooms in many of our States, to millions of ballots that have been altered by Democrats, only for Democrats, to voting after the Election was over, to using Radical Left, owned Dominion Voting Systems…”14

The claim was completely baseless, but it soon flashed across Trumpworld as a rock-solid truth. Data and statistics be damned. In his followers’ minds liberals always cheated, and they now refused to believe otherwise. The biggest of the big lies was in motion.

The “truthiness” of the big lie required a strenuous effort to show that it had legal legs to stand on. Trump’s national legal offensive to steal the election started hours after Biden had been declared winner by the news media. On November 9, his campaign filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania alleging that the mail-in votes allowed by the legislature were illegal. They demanded that the votes be excluded from the count and the state’s electors be given to Trump. They also asserted that Republican poll watchers were not allowed to observe the count.15 Neither claim was true.

The legal team they dubbed the “elite strike force” included Trump’s top lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, as well as Jenna Ellis, Joseph diGenova, Victoria Toensing, and a previously unknown lawyer named Sidney Powell. They blitzed state courts with lawsuits designed to overturn the election results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada—all predominantly white states that Trump was assured he would win.

The blizzard of filings was ridiculously amateur, replete with false assumptions and arguments that in some cases were literally laughable. The lawyers submitted documents rife with wrong names and glaring misspellings. The word “District” was misspelled in numerous filings as “Districct,” “Distroict,” and “Distrct.”16 One filing even misspelled “United States” … in the title.

A Pennsylvania suit was rejected with derision when a U.S. District Court judge, Matthew Brann, wrote that “like Frankenstein’s Monster, [it] has been haphazardly stitched together.”17 Some filings were unsigned. It was amateur hour, yet they persisted.

Trump’s menagerie of filings demanded a wide range of action but only one relief—give the election to Trump. The lawsuits wanted all votes cast by mail to be thrown out entirely in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia, states he needed to win but was losing or had lost. He wanted first to stop the counts of all votes that weren’t cast on Election Day. This ignored the simple fact that Republican legislatures had insisted on not counting absentee ballots until after Election Day as part of Trump’s strategy to declare himself the winner and disenfranchise mail-in voting. Mail-in votes were critical for the electorate to be heard in the middle of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. Trump’s voters, on the other hand, did not believe the virus was a risk, so they mainly showed up on Election Day. They still fell ten million votes short.

Rudy Giuliani approached each court case with unflappable disdain, if not open contempt for the judiciary. Not surprisingly, the suits were tossed out in rapid succession. By the time the Electoral College met on December 14, 2020, Trump had lost fifty-eight cases. When the smoke cleared, he would lose over ninety cases between those filed by his own team and those filed on behalf of his campaign by the Republican Party.

All of the big lie lawsuits to stop the electors and get cases moving through what Trump was told was a friendly judiciary had one purpose: steal the election via the courts. With the help of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, Trump had filled the judiciary with an unprecedented 226 new judges. He held the record for the most Federal Appeals Court judiciary appointments as well, putting fifty-four of them onto the bench. Since loyalty to Trump was a hallmark of anyone who was appointed to the bench, he assumed the judiciary was in his pocket. Additionally, he had appointed three Supreme Court justices. Now he expected them to give him the 2020 election.

He wanted his cases to go through the judiciary quickly so they could specifically get into the hands of the Supreme Court. Trump spelled out this goal in a single tweet: “I easily WIN the Presidency of the United States with LEGAL VOTES CAST,” adding that “The OBSERVERS were not allowed, in any way, shape, or form, to do their job and therefore, votes accepted during this period must be determined to be ILLEGAL VOTES. U.S. Supreme Court should decide!”18

It was patently clear that Trump thought he had bought the Supreme Court and that they would overturn the election and give him the presidency. He then assumed that the three conservative justices he appointed would ignore the law because they owed him. Trump believed he had rigged the judicial system to do as he wanted. On this point too was he to be woefully disappointed.

The first blow to his carelessly crafted strategy came on December 10, 2020. The Supreme Court rejected the request by the campaign to stop the certification of Pennsylvania’s mail-in votes.

On December 14, the Electoral College certified the electors for Joe Biden, the president-elect. But Trump’s lawyers did not care. In a desperate move, some state Republican parties selected their own electors. Republican parties in Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Michigan, and Pennsylvania illegally appointed partisans who planned to force their way into statehouses to stop the true electors from certifying the results. After all the effort and drama, the final certifications were submitted to Congress.

Trump considered more extreme options as well. Sidney Powell and former general Michael Flynn visited the White House repeatedly in December. They tried to convince Trump he had the power to declare martial law and seize power by using the armed forces. They implored Trump to just ignore the Constitution and establish a “salvation” government. Trump supporters were ecstatic when that idea was floated. They were openly advocating for Trump to use the Insurrection Act. Many prepared for civil war. Tens of thousands of comments online supported seizing power and arresting Democrats in order to “save America.”

The ruling that ended Trump’s legal strategy was delivered on December 20, 2020. The Supreme Court refused to overturn three Supreme Court of Pennsylvania rulings that would throw out millions of mail-in ballots.19

With the judiciary door closed, it appeared that the election was all but done. But Donald Trump still had a few tricks up his sleeve. None of them legal. None of them moral. All of them carrying a good chance of violence. Desperate, he would stoke his followers to stop the certification of the election by Congress. He would use the certification of the election on January 6, 2021, to seize power extralegally. He expected Vice President Pence to refuse to accept the results. He would then mobilize his base to use their power of intimidation to establish a Trump dictatorship.

Citadel Under Siege

By the new year, the Giuliani strategy to get the Trump-appointed judges to overturn the election results had failed miserably. In a final desperate move on January 3, 2021, Donald Trump decided to apply pressure on Georgia to openly cheat and give him the votes he needed to at least say he did not lose the red state of Georgia. If he could enlist even just one state, it might start a cascade of states willing to change their votes to favor him, and then, perhaps, he could restart the Pennsylvania lawsuit and decertify its votes for Biden too. He had already invited a delegation from that state assembly to the White House and unsuccessfully floated the idea. Next, he would try Georgia. It was madness to attempt to cheat at this last moment, but Trump apparently was looking for madness to work in his favor.

On the morning of January 3, 2021, he scheduled a phone conversation with the state representatives of Georgia and the White House counsels. What Trump did not know was that Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, had already been called by Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, who had asked him to do something about Trump’s loss in the southern state. When the news leaked out, Graham vehemently denied what was said, so Raffensberger took extraordinary measures against any future attempts to get him to break the law. He knew the likelihood of Trump lying and then challenging his words was very high. So, he recorded the call.

Trump was recorded telling all of the attendees: “There’s no way I lost Georgia. There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.” He went on to suggest that Raffensperger could face a criminal investigation. “You know what they did and you’re not reporting it,” Trump said. “You know, that’s a criminal offense. And you know, you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan [Germany], your lawyer. That’s a big risk.”20 Trump continued, “We just want the truth. It’s simple. And everyone’s going to look very good if the truth comes out. It’s OK. It takes a little while but let the truth come out. And the real truth is I won by 400,000 votes. At least. That’s the real truth. But we don’t need 400,000. We need less than 2,000 votes. And are you guys able to meet tomorrow, Ryan?”21 Finally, he just came out with it. Trump wanted the leadership of Georgia to cheat. He demanded they give him the exact number of votes needed to flip the state: “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have … because we won the state.”22 The moment word got out that Trump tried to cheat, he denied it vehemently. Then Raffensperger released the tape to the media.

On private forums, pro-Trump extremists of all stripes were discussing armed opposition to Joe Biden and everyone they labeled a liberal. They believed the big lie. They referred to the election of 2020 as “stolen.” They called the legitimate democratic process a coup d’état. A civil militarization of America was happening. On gun-enthusiast forums, massive quantities of ammunition and guns were changing hands. In the Trump underground, they were calling for Donald Trump to bring on “the storm.” This was the Q-Anon conspiracy belief that Trump should order the mass arrest and murder of Democrats, who they believed to be cannibalistic child killers. The phrase “Democrat extinction” was making its way from the darker corners of the internet and was now openly posted on Facebook and Parler, the right-wing version of Twitter.

Planning spanned all December for a rally at the Washington Monument on January 6, 2021, dubbed the March for Trump or Fight for Trump. Officially, the campaign called it Stop the Steal. In the Trump underground, it was being billed as Storm the Hill. Forty thousand people showed up. Thousands of them brought body armor, helmets, bear spray, and even concealed weapons, and they had the singular goal of seizing control of the Electoral College and retaining Trump as president.

On January 6, 2021, Donald Trump spoke to his supporters at the Ellipse. He said, “We do not want to see our election victory stolen by radical-left Democrats, that’s what they’re doing, and stolen by the fake news media, that’s what they’ve done and what they’re doing. We will never give up and never concede,” and “We will stop the steal.”23

After that speech, thousands of insurrectionists marched to the Capitol and attacked.

Not one Republican politician lifted a finger in opposition. In fact, most openly agreed with Trump and his most violent supporters. They stoked the flames that ignited outright rebellion.

These insurrectionists are awaiting the right words or moment to launch a paramilitary insurgency in America. They seek to destroy the legitimacy of the Biden administration and unleash forces that have not been seen in America since 1860. The first evidence of that was the rage that came crashing down on the officers of the United States Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police.

When officer Mike Fanone collapsed back into the safety of police lines having been barely saved from execution, he suffered a heart attack from the electric shocks he had sustained when insurrectionists held his Taser to the base of his skull. He joined the 140 officers killed or injured that day. To a nation stunned and outraged at the ferocity of the event, one thing was absolutely certain: these American citizens wanted to destroy American democracy and install Donald Trump as a dictator. To achieve that goal, they would gladly kill many more Americans.

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