WASHINGTON — Former President Donald TrumpFor each person who was arrested in connection with the Jan. 6, assault on Capitol, using the NSAT, the government could cover $156,000 legal costs $105 million he has collectedHe spread the same lies that he used as an incitement to the attack but has so far not helped one of the 700 rioters.
“Many people who went there that day are disappointed by his lack of support,” said one defense lawyer on the condition of anonymity so as not to hurt his Jan. 6 client’s case. “If President Trump was ever going to step up and step in, the time to do it is right now.”
Albert Watkins, the lawyer for the self-described “QAnon Shaman” who last week was sentenced to three and half years in federal prisonTrump’s role in the attack. He was much more direct speaking with reporters afterwards about his plans.
“I’d tell him, ’You know what? You’ve got a few fucking things to do. Including clearing this fucking mess up and taking care of a lot of the jackasses that you fucked up because of January 6,’” he said.
In all, 670 of Trump’s Jan. 6 mob face permanent criminal records and five- and six-figure legal bills for believing Trump’s lies that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from him, and acting on his requests that they do something about it.
Cynthia Hughes, who is collecting money to help Jan. 6 defendants — her “Patriot Freedom Project” web site offers visitors the opportunity to make a “1/6 Thanksgiving Pledge” — appeared on Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast and urged Trump to act.
“They’re disappointed they haven’t heard from him. They’re disappointed he hasn’t spoken out,” she said on Nov. 13. “President Trump, I need to hear from you. I need to hear from you immediately, because we need your help, and we need to know that you’re behind us. That you support these people that support you.”
Trump, though, appears to have done nothing to support his followers, outside of the occasional public statement claiming they are being “persecuted” by his successor’s administration.
On March 25, Fox News appearance, he claimed: “They’re persecuting a lot of those people.” And in a Sept. 16 statement, he wrote: “Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election.”
Federal Election Commission records, meanwhile, show that through the first half of this year, Trump had not paid for anyone’s legal costs related to Jan. 6, other than possibly his own. Through June 30, Trump’s “Save America” political committee had paid $206,480 to Elections, LLCJustin Clark founded the law firm LLP, which represented Trump in the House Jan.6 committee’s dealings.
How much of that money precisely went toward his attempts to keep secret his involvement in that day’s attack cannot be determined through public records, and neither Trump’s office nor Clark responded to HuffPost queries.
In all, 140 police officers were injured by Trump’s mob, with five officers dying over a period of weeks in addition to four Trump supporters who died that day.
But Trump, both during his impeachment for inciting the attack as well as in comments afterwards, has refused to take any responsibility for what happened — even though he himself invited his followers to descend on the Capitol on that particular date and at his rally urged them to march on the Capitol to “fight like hell” to persuade then-Vice President Mike PenceTo install Trump to a second term.
A number of those arrested in the weeks and months afterward have cited Trump’s exhortations as the main reason they came to Washington and wound up illegally entering the Capitol.
The “Shaman,” Jacob Chansley, actually requested that Trump pardon him before he left office on Jan. 20. Trump refused to pardon Chansley, although he did so for Bannon who was involved in Trump’s Jan. 6 attack. He also faced fraud and theft charges.
“Trump has not offered to pay, much less paid, legal fees,” Watkins said. “To be fair, he wasn’t asked to pay legal fees.”
FEC records show Trump has spent millions of Save America’s dollars to raise more money, well over a million on legal fees and hundreds of thousands on staff to maintain his public visibility with press releases and political rallies. Trump has managed to channel $180,000 into his businesses. This includes $150,000 for rent in a small office in his Trump Tower in Manhattan.
Save America’s $1.5 million reserve at June’s end has grown to approximately $125 million. Trump is likely to have enough money to reimburse all his legal expenses, including those of his thousands of supporters, who may be subject to criminal charges, even though the average legal cost is only $62,500. Precise figures for Save America’s fundraising and spending for the second half of 2021 will not be available until January.
Trump was the first American president to reject peacefully handing over power to his successor after 232 years.
He spent weeks attacking the legitimacy of the Nov. 3, 2020, contest that he lost, starting his lies in the predawn hours of Nov. 4 that he had really won in a “landslide” and that his victory was being “stolen” from him. Through a series of false lawsuits, he continued to spread lies about the outcome in several states.
Trump and some of his advisers even discussed using the military by invoking the Insurrection Act or declaring martial law to retain power despite having lost the election, including by seizing voting machines and ordering “re-votes” in states narrowly won by Democrat Joe Biden.
But military leaders had earlier made it clear they would not involve themselves in the political process, so after the Electoral College finally voted on Dec. 14, making Biden’s win official, Trump instead turned to a last-ditch scheme to pressure his own vice president into canceling the ballots of millions of voters in several states Biden won and declaring Trump the winner during the pro forma congressional certification of the election results on Jan. 6.
Trump invited his supporters to Washington on that day. He then instructed the thousands of people who came to the Capitol to harass Pence and make him do what he wanted. “When you catch somebody in a fraud, you’re allowed to go by very different rules,” Trump said.
His supporters organized a mob and stormed the building to fulfill his demands. They even chanted “Hang Mike Pence” after the vice president refused to comply with Trump’s demands.
After being attacked during the uprising, a police officer was killed. Four others also died in the weeks and days that followed. A rioter was shot and killed as she tried to climb through a window into an anteroom that contained still-evacuating House members. Three others died in the chaos.
Though the House impeached Trump for inciting the attack, all but seven Senate Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, chose not to convict him ― thereby letting Trump continue his political career even as faces several investigations into his postelection actions.