by Jonathan Turley at Jonathan Turley
According to The Crimson, Harvard has completed what it calls the most comprehensive study of the motivations of those involved in the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. Many will not be surprised to learn that most participated out of loyalty to former President Donald Trump. However, the study also found that only eight percent harbored “a desire to start a civil war.” That is inconsistent with the virtual mantra out of the J6 Committee and many in Congress that this was an insurrection rather than a riot. Some of us (including many in the public) have previously questioned that characterization. Yet, it reflects the relatively small number of seditious conspiracy charges brought by the Justice Department.
The study found that a plurality of the 417 federally charged defendants were motivated by the “lies about election fraud and enthusiasm for his re-election.” It concluded that “[t]he documents show that Trump and his allies convinced an unquantifiable number of Americans that representative democracy in the United States was not only in decline, but in imminent, existential danger.”
The study also found that belief in QAnon “was one of the [defendants’] lesser motives.” The study was hardly pro-Trump and one author even expressed surprise with the results since conspiracy theories “were so prominently displayed in much of the [riot’s] visual imagery.”
Once again, none of this exonerates or excuses those who rioted on January 6th or those who fueled the riot. However, the use of “insurrection” by the politicians, pundits, and the press is not an accurate characterization of the motivation of most of the people who went to the Capitol on that day. It was clear that this was a protest that became a riot.
There is no question that there were people who came prepared for such a riot…Continue Reading