The Independent’s reporting cited in Trump impeachment trial

Stacey Plaskett submits Andrew Feinberg's article as evidence

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Thursday 11 February 2021 10:02

Stacey Plaskett argues ex-president had pattern of encouraging violence

An Independent article about Donald Trump's close relationship with his social media guru has been submitted as evidence during his impeachment trial to show how the former president's team was monitoring "dark corners of the web".

The Independent’s contributing reporter Andrew Feinberg, who is based in Washington DC, was quoted by House impeachment manager Stacey Plaskett during testimony on day two of the Mr Trump's trial.

The Democrat used a 12 January article in which White House insiders said Mr Trump must have known what was being planned prior to the riot because of his close relationship with social media guru, Dan Scavino.

Former campaign and administration officials told The Independent that Mr Trump’s digital operation would have made him aware of the planned attack on the Capitol in the weeks leading up to his infamous “Save America” rally on 6 January.

Ms Plaskett highlighted one paragraph of the story in particular as evidence that Mr Trump and his team knew what was coming.

“The ex-White House and campaign insider, who has known both Scavino and the president for years, said there was no way that Scavino and the Trump social media operation would not have been aware of plans circulating online to storm the Capitol,” read The Independent's story.

"That’s because the operation closely monitored the web’s darkest corners, ranging from mainstream sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit, to fringe message boards like 4chan and 8chan (now called 8kun) to, an offshoot from a banned Reddit community dedicated to rabidly supporting all things Trump.”

The trial went ahead on Tuesday after six Republicans joined with Democrats to rule that it was constitutional and should go forward.

Mr Trump’s senior advisor, Jason Miller, told Fox News that the former president had watched the morning’s testimony and “was in a good mood” at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Mr Miller said that he had spoken to Mr Trump, who has been impeached for a historic second time, and that he was feeling positive.

"I just spoke to him five minutes ago, you just caught me right after I got off the phone with him," Mr Miller told Fox News.

Mr Trump’s mood may have soured though as House impeachment managers in the afternoon session showed dramatic security videos of the pro-Trump mob attacking the Capitol.

These showed Mike Pence and his family being rushed to safety and police officer Eugene Goodman bravely leading rioters away from lawmakers.

A total of 67 senators will be needed to vote in favour of convicting Mr Trump at the end of his trial.

If that supermajority mark is passed and the ex-president is convicted, the Senate can take action against him and vote by a simple majority to disqualify Mr Trump from ever holding elected office again.

That would prevent him seeking the GOP presidential nomination in the 2024 race, for which he is still favoured among possible Republican candidates, polls show.

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