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Video of ‘QAnon Shaman’ saying Capitol rioters responded to Trump’s orders could be used in impeachment hearing

Mr Chansley was recently moved to a jail in Alexandria, Virginia so he can be fed organic food

Graig Graziosi
Monday 08 February 2021 18:10 GMT
'QAnon Shaman' appears to confirm crowd was awaiting Trump's orders

New video has emerged of the "QAnon Shaman" Jacob Chansley in the immediate aftermath of the attack on the Capitol building, seemingly confirming that the rioters were awaiting instructions from Donald Trump.

The video - which was dredged up by internet archivists pouring over data collected from right-leaning social media site Parler just before it was shut down - shows Mr Chansely leaving the Capitol building and responding to questions from the livestreamer.

In the clip, Mr Chansley is asked why he's leaving the Capitol.

"Donald Trump asked everybody to go home," he replied.

Mr Chansley cited Mr Trump's tweet calling on the rioters to leave the Capitol.

When asked why they were in the building in the first place, Mr Chansley said it was to "send a message" to vice president Mike Pence and the rest of Congress.

Mr Pence became a target for Trump supporters in the final days of the Trump presidency because he would not go along with the former president's scheme to stop the electoral vote count on 6 January. Mr Pence had no power to do so, and had he tried he would have only prolonged the inevitable loss while cementing his place in history as a complicit part of the former president's attempted power grab.

Mr Chansley, at least immediately afterward, considered the riot a victory for Mr Trump and thought he would remain in power.

"All I can say is, we won the f***ing day. Donald Trump is still our president."

Since then, Mr Chansley has been arrested and held in a Washington DC jail, where he has been on a hunger strike because he apparently can only eat organic food due to his adherence to "shamanism."

Mr Chansley's lawyers filed an emergency motion to have him either released or provided with organic meals, like wild caught tuna. A judge ordered he be moved to a detention facility in Alexandria, Virginia, where his dietary needs could be met.

Since his arrest, Mr Chansley appears to have soured on Mr Trump.

Followers of the QAnon mass execution conspiracy theory believed that Mr Trump would stay in power, prove the election was rigged, and then round up, try, and - in some cases - execute his political opponents.

Mr Chansley made a personal appeal to Mr Trump for a pardon, but was ignored. After that, he said he felt "duped" by Mr Trump.

Part of Mr Chansley's defense will be to push responsibility on Mr Trump. His lawyers make the claim directly that Mr Trump incited the events at the Capitol.

"What's really curious is the reality that our president, as a matter of public record, invited these individuals, as President, to walk down to the Capitol with him," his lawyer, Al Watkins, said.

Mr Chansley's legal team said their client would be willing to testify against Mr Trump in exchange for leniency from the court.

Videos like the one involving Mr Chansley may be used by prosecutors in Mr Trump's second impeachment trial to prove that the former president's words were the inciting motivator for the Capitol attack.

It seems unlikely that additional evidence will sway the opinion of Senate Republicans, however, as many have latched onto the idea that impeaching a president once they are out of office is unconstitutional. Most constitutional scholars - and some Senate Republicans - disagree with that interpretation.

Mr Chansley is facing charges of interfering with police during civil disorder and obstruction of Congress, as well as several misdemeanours.

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