A year after the assault on the Capitol, the game is far from over

This morning of January 6, 2021, when he left for work, he already had the feeling that it would not be a day like any other. Then correspondent for Radio France in the United States, Grégory Philipps goes to Ellipse Park, in Washington, where outgoing President Donald Trump, losing in an election whose result he disputes, has gathered his supporters. “The first thing that strikes me is that a lot of the people I talk to seem convinced, in good faith, sometimes with tears in my eyes, that the election their was stolen “, he recalls.

At the end of the morning, the president lights the fuse: “If you don’t fight like hell, you won’t have a country!”, he blurted out, urging his supporters to go to the Capitol to put pressure on members of Congress in full certification of the election results.

“This is where I start to realize that something is going to happen”, remembers the correspondent of Radio France. He is witnessing the climbing live. Literally: «LThe Capitol police are quickly overwhelmed, hundreds of people cross the barriers to reach the square, and others climb same the perimeter wall with bare hands. “

Behind scenes seeming straight out of an episode of South Park, a human toll of five dead, including a Trumpist supporter shot by a policeman. The United States has just experienced an insurgency, inspired by a conspiracy theory bludgeoned for months on social networks and relayed by ultra-conservative channels, as well as by the outgoing president in person.

Obstruction of justice

“The pictures seemed outes straight out of a science fiction movie ‘, summarizes Mathieu Magnaudeix, United States correspondent for Mediapart during the Trump years and who covered the 2020 campaign. «MBut it was the logical end of a presidency of incitement to hatred and violence during which Trump galvanized white supremacists, the far right or even followers of the QAnon movement

For a year, the American press has not stopped trying to reconstruct the disaster film. How could the defenses of the temple of American democracy collapse so quickly? A New York Times survey Putting together the countless videos of the event highlighted the panic that quickly gripped the Capitol Police, left alone for several hours in the face of a horde of militants determined and ultra-violent.

“It took a long time for the federal police to admit that white supremacism was the number 1 terrorist threat in the United States.”
Mathieu Magnaudeix, former correspondent in the United States for Mediapart

For his part, le Washington Post showed how the FBI, which only alerted Capitol Hill police of a possible security threat the day before January 6, failed for weeks to take seriously the many alerts that were rising from the ground as planning to the assault took place in the open, on the internet.

These national security loopholes have been admitted in a senatorial report published last June. «Lthe federal police took a long time to admit that supremacism blanc was the number 1 terrorist threat in the United States, even after what happened to Charlottesville in 2017», explains Mathieu Magnaudeix. Indeed, it will be necessary to wait until June forAlejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security of the United States, recognizes it in the Senate.

But beyond the issue of security breaches, it is above all that of responsibilities that continues to arise. Was the insurgency premeditated by Trump and his entourage? This is what the special commission of inquiry set up in June is trying to find out.

An investigation largely hampered by a Republican camp which minimizes January 6 and which unites around the former president, as told for the website Les Jours Corentin Sellin, associate professor of history and specialist in the United States. Time is playing against the commission, whose work could well suffer from a defeat of the Democratic camp in the mid-term elections to be held next November.

In the meantime, Trump is doing everything to obstruct justice and continues to try to prevent the transmission of the White House archives that would allow a clearer view of the communications that took place before and during the insurgency. . Joe biden finally intervened on December 28 to provide at least part of it.

The more time passes, the more the thesis of an organization at the highest level takes shape. In October, Rolling Stone magazine revealed that two of the insurgency participants who testified before the commission confessed to attending dozens of planning meetings with Trump staff and congressional Republicans, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, close to the QAnon movement. Another Republican representative, Paul Gosar, reportedly even promised to pardon them in another case in exchange for planning the insurgency.

Source d’inspiration

“The lesson is that democracy has finally held”, believes Grégory Philipps. “Fourteen days later, in the same place, Biden is still invested forty-sixth president of the United States. But again with another crazy image, that of the men of the National Guard in arms and in fatigues who sleep in rooms usually reserved for elected officials, as in a film by Roland Emmerich

But for the former correspondent of Radio France as for Mathieu Magnaudeix, the game is far from over. “It is not becausee Trump is no longer on Twitter that he has disappeared. The is still there and remains the favorite candidate of the Republican base for the next election ”, notes the journalist from Mediapart. «74 million Americans voted for Trump, and a good chunk of them still consider the election stolen and that Biden is illegitimate. The Trump page is therefore far from tournée», Replies Grégory Philipps. One recent Washington Post poll shows that there is still a huge rift between Democrats and Republicans over the reality of what happened on January 6.

There are many similarities in the way certain media nonchalantly relay, and a certain form of complicity, the excesses of a candidate like Eric Zemmour.

Above all, the Trumpist coup de force was followed. In September, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his supporters openly called for a January 6 remake for a show of force against the Supreme Court and in anticipation of the October 2022 election, which they consider in advance to be rigged. Jason Miller, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, and founder of the social network Gettr dedicated to the far right, was arrested at the same time by the Brazilian authorities, while participating in the movement.

In France, where the extreme right had softly condemned –If this is not welcomed– the insurgency of the Capitol, identity activists are also beginning to raise the little music ofa presidential election that could be rigged, against a background of disinformation on the health crisis. “Controversies over the vaccine and attacks on the homes of elected officials which we are currently witnessing in France, we have also seen them a lot in the United States when militias protested against the confinements or the wearing of masks, with the encouragement of Trump ”, remarks Grégory Philipps.

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On January 6, faced with reality, the media which had relayed Donald Trump’s lies suddenly got scared. Mathieu Magnaudeix rightly notes that, even if the American and French political and media systems are very different, “There are many similarities in the way which some media nonchalantly relay, and a certain form of complicity, the excesses of a candidate like Eric Zemmour, who applies the same strategy as Trump: shock, split, and turn the debate around his person ”. December 19, 2020, to announce the January 6 demonstration, Trump tweeted: “Be present, it will be wild!”

Source: Slate.fr by www.slate.fr.

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