That “QAnon Shaman” Argues He Was Only at the Capitol Riot Because Donald Trump’s Tweets Were an “Invitation”
The man who showed up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol in facepaint and a furry, horned headdress is arguing in court that he and the other rioters did no wrong because they were simply acting on an implied invitation from Donald Trump.
Jacob A. Chansley, aka Jake Angeli, aka the “QAnon Shaman,” is being represented by Al Watkins, the same lawyer who represented the McCloskeys, the St. Louis couple who pointed their guns at protesters last summer because even this stupid, terrible timeline has given up on trying to be original.
Watkins is seeking a pardon for Chansley from Donald Trump in his final days in office. After all, it was Trump’s words that brought Chansley to D.C., Watkins argues—the constant attacks on Mike Pence and Congress and state leaders across the country, and the constant declarations that people like Chansley needed to “fight” to keep Democrats from “stealing” the election. If Watkins was just listening to Trump, then Trump should pardon him, right?
“The words and invitation of a president are supposed to mean something,” Watkins said. “Given the peaceful and compliant fashion in which Mr. Chansley comported himself, it would be appropriate and honorable for the president to pardon Mr. Chansley and other like-minded, peaceful individuals who accepted the president’s invitation with honorable intentions.”
For four years, Trump and his surrogate mouthpieces have been arguing that we shouldn’t be taking Donald Trump’s words at face value. We’re supposed to know, they say, when he’s being hyperbolic or metaphorical or sarcastic or engaging in “alternative facts.” I guess no one told Chansley.
As for the insistence that Chansley’s presence was 100% “peaceful,” that’s up for debate.
First of all, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests across the country, some Republicans have been campaigning to make it a felony for anyone to even be present at a protest where property is damaged. I guess that doesn’t apply to this “protest” for … reasons.
But Chansley wasn’t just present at the riot that left five people dead and plenty of property destroyed. According to court documents, Chansley, who brought a six-foot spear to the riot and repeatedly, aggressively ignored the instructions of Capitol police, also left a menacing note on the Senate desk of Mike Pence.
“It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming,” the note read.
That’s a pretty menacing note to be left by someone so “peaceful” he refused to eat while detained and awaiting trial until he was served only organic foods, a man who literally compared himself to Gandhi, Jesus, and Martin Luther King Jr. How could a man so “peaceful” that his torso is covered in ambiguous neo-Nazi tattoos leave a note like that? It’s a mystery, I guess.
According to the court filings, “U.S. Capitol Police Officer Keith Robishaw […] was attempting to quell the crowd and move them out of the area. Chansley approached Officer Robishaw and screamed, among other things, that this was their house, and that they were there to take the Capitol, and to get Congressional leaders. Chansley also used his bullhorn to communicate that they were there to take out several United States congressmen.”
Hmm, just this month, Republican Senator Josh Hawley called the use of a bullhorn at a protest an act of “violence.” I wonder what he has to say about this.
It’s not clear if Chansley’s trial will be done before Trump leaves office. There is the chance that Trump might decide to preemptively pardon Chansley, which would be very unusual though not unprecedented—he’s done it twice before.
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