— Donald Trump
defended the domestic terrorists who stormed the Capitol on his behalf on Jan. 6 as he announced federal lawsuits against social media
companies, which could force him to testify under oath about his actions that day.
“We’re going to hold big tech
very accountable,” Trump said from his Bedminster
, New Jersey
course, where he is spending the summer, adding, “It will be a pivotal battle
in the defense of the First Amendment
When asked what he did to defuse the mob attack
on Jan. 6, the day that resulted in his social media ban, Trump instead complained about how harshly authorities treated his rioters.
“It was an unfortunate event,” he said, “but people
are being treated unbelievably unfairly.” He then falsely stated, “There were no guns
in the Capitol, except for the gun that shot Ashli Babbit.... There was no reason for that.”
Babbit was the woman fatally shot by Capitol Police
as she climbed through a broken window into an anteroom from which House members were being evacuated, and FBI
investigations have revealed that several of the insurgents did, in fact, bring guns into the Capitol.
Trump went on to say that the lawsuits, which were filed in the Southern District of Florida
, could result in punitive damages totaling "trillions" of dollars.
Legal experts predict that his lawsuits will be dismissed quickly, as private social media companies have the right to allow or disallow whomever they want on their platforms. After years of lying about everything, Trump was finally kicked off Twitter
, and YouTube
after inciting the Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol in his last-ditch attempt to hang onto power despite losing last N.
“Rather than giving Trump any rights in relation to Facebook or Twitter, the First Amendment’s Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press
Clauses give those companies the right to expel any user they wish,” said Laurence Tribe, a Harvard
constitutional law professor.
However, if the lawsuits are allowed to proceed, Trump will almost certainly be required to provide depositions under oath, forcing him to answer questions about his actions and inactions for the first time on January 6
According to Danya Perry, a former federal prosecutor in New York
, that should make Trump's criminal lawyers nervous.
“You’d think so, because these are likely the same lawyers who let him go and make all those admissions at his rally,” she said, referring to Trump’s Saturday admission of his company’s tax-free payments to a top employee, for which both were indicted last week.
On Jan. 6, some of Trump's White House
aides began urging him to condemn the violence and tell his supporters to stand down as soon as they began assaulting police officers defending the Capitol building and forcing their way inside. But Trump remained silent for hours, instead posting a tweet within minutes of the initial breach attacking his own vice president
, claiming Mike Pence
"didn't do anything."
When Trump finally released
a video telling his supporters to leave the Capitol, he repeated the lies
about the election
that sparked the attack in the first place: “We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it.”
“We love you, and you are very special,” he added to the mob.
Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington did not respond to Stardia's questions about Trump's willingness to testify under oath, while Facebook and Twitter declined to comment, and Google, which owns YouTube, did not respond.
Trump spent weeks after losing attacking the legitimacy of the Nov. 3 election, beginning his lies in the early morning hours of Nov. 4 with claims that he had won in a “landslide” and that his victory was being “stolen” from him.
After the Electoral College
finally voted on Dec. 14, confirming Democrat Joe Biden
's victory, Trump began urging his supporters to come to Washington on Jan. 6 to intimidate his own vice president and members of Congress
into overturning the election results and installing Trump as President.
The mob Trump incited attempted to do just that as it stormed the Capitol, with supporters chanting "Hang Mike Pence" after Pence refused to comply with Trump's demands.
A police officer died after being assaulted during the insurgency, and two others committed suicide
shortly afterwards, as did four Trump supporters
, including Babbit.