Del. Stacey Plaskett Makes Damning Case Against Trump At Impeachment Hearing: Capitol Insurrections ‘Were Following His Orders’
Virgin Islands Delegate Stacey Plaskett brought a spotlight to dozens of social media posts showing that Trump knew what would happen on Jan. 6.
February 10, 2021 at 11:59 pm
Virgin Islands Delegate Stacey Plaskett methodically made the case in front of the Senate on Wednesday that former President Donald Trump was fully aware of what would happen on Jan. 6 when he stoked his supporters into committing acts of violence at the Capitol Building that day.
On the second day of the impeachment hearings, Plaskett stepped up to the plate, going through dozens of social media posts and news stories that spotlighted how Trump helped incite and plan the attack on Congress.
“The violence — it was foreseeable. The violence that occurred on Jan. 6, like the attack itself, did not just appear. You'll see that Donald Trump knew the people he was inciting. He saw the violence that they were capable of and he had a pattern and practice of praising and encouraging that violence, never, ever condemning it," Plaskett said during her powerful speech at the impeachment hearing.
"You'll see that this violent attack was not planned in secret. The insurgents believed that they were doing the duty of their president. They were following his orders and so they publicized it openly, loudly, proudly — the exact blueprints of how the attack would be made," she added.
Plaskett was an assistant district attorney for the Bronx District Attorney’s Office and a senior counsel at the Department of Justice before becoming the 5th Delegate to the United States House of Representatives from the United States Virgin Islands' at-large congressional district, The New York Times reported.
As the representative for the Virgin Islands, she’s not allowed to vote in the House. But she is close with Rep. Jamie Raskin, lead House impeachment manager, who taught her in law school at American University, according to CNN. He called it a moment of "special pride" to introduce her as one of the impeachment managers in the trial over whether to convict Trump. She’s also the first delegate to have a role on an impeachment team of managers, CNN reports.
She appealed directly to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for a chance to be involved in the impeachment proceedings, according to BuzzFeed News, and did not hold back when it was her chance at the microphone.
In her speech, she outlined the many ways Trump was directly responsible for the attack on Congress on Jan. 6, highlighting the his role in the preparation for the attack by citing social media posts, news stories and FBI court filings.
WATCH: Stacey Plaskett shows screenshots of Trump supporters publicly planning violent siege on the Capitol for January 6, and says Trump's staff monitored the websites where they were posted— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 10, 2021
"Because [Trump] was inviting them, the insurgents were not shy about their planning" pic.twitter.com/myh551Ax0X
Trump and his social media team were fully aware of the discussions and planning that went on before Jan 6., and Plaskett shared photos of dozens of messages on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, 4chan and 8chan. She also shared quotes from former White House officials who said Trump and his team were intimately aware of the online communities that supported him and actively watched the content they shared.
"The exact thing that happened on Jan. 6, that was their goal. And they said it out loud on sites that the Trump administration was actively monitoring," she said.
Multiple posts on all of these sites explicitly reference their desire to "storm and occupy the Capitol." She highlighted the weeks of Twitter posts and public statements from Trump made the attackers feel justified in their plan to disrupt the election certification. Many explicitly called it a "war."
"President Trump had truly made them believe that the election had been stolen and that it was their patriotic duty to fight to steal it back," Plaskett said, sharing one social media post that showed a Jan. 6 participant saying goodbye to his children under the assumption that he would die, while attacking the Capitol Building.
"The supporter said, quote, 'Stop calling this a march, or a rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our president or we die,'" she added.
She also spoke at length about how Trump promoted an attack on a bus full of campaigners for President Joe Biden in Florida that took place days before the election. Trump gleefully tweeted out a video of the incident and criticized law enforcement for looking into it. "These patriots did nothing wrong," he wrote on Twitter.
Trump then referenced the incident multiple times during campaign speeches, as Plaskett showed in videos shared during the trial.
"The president made a public joke of violence against campaigners in an American election. The president of the United States, in a campaign, saw his own supporters trying to run a bus carrying his opponent's campaign workers off the highway. To physically intimidate people in this country campaigning," Plaskett said before playing a video of Trump mocking the controversy.
She tied his support for that incident as one of the many ways he gave his supporters the idea that violence was not just acceptable but necessary.
"This was not just a comment by an official to fight for a cause, this was months of cultivating a base of people who were violent, praising that violence and then leading that violence, that rage, straight at our door," Plaskett said.
She also spent significant time showing the ties between Trump and the domestic terror group Proud Boys. After Trump told members of the group to "stand back and stand by" during a debate against Biden, the group made the words their official slogan and started selling T-shirts with the phrase.
They wore those same shirts to many of Trump's rallies, Plaskett noted.
The Proud Boys, along with the Oath Keeper militia, were two of the most organized groups that participated in the attack, arming their members with weapons and earpieces as well as radios, Plaskett said. They had maps of the tunnels underneath the Capitol Building and they knew which tunnels led to the Senate chambers.
Some online had posted detailed layouts of the Capitol Building, which she showed the Senate. Trump’s supporters also spoke openly about how many police officers they would be facing off with during the attack, and implied Trump would force the military to stand down once the attack started.
"That’s the level of planning in advance that occurred," she said. "It's all right there. The overall goal, maps of the Capitol, the weapons, communication devices, they even said publicly, openly, proudly that President Trump will help them to commandeer the National Guard so all they have to do is overwhelm the 2,000 Capitol Police officers.”
She also reminded the public that Trump specifically got involved in the planning of the rally that preceded the attack. Plaskett shared documents showing that the permit for the rally explicitly said the attendees were not allowed to march to the Capitol Building after the speeches, but Trump got involved and the permit was changed.
"The permit stated in no uncertain terms that the march from the ellipse was not permitted. It was not until after President Trump and his team became involved in the planning that the march from the ellipse to the Capitol came about," she said.
"Donald Trump, over many months, cultivated violence, praised it, and then when he saw the violence his supporters were capable of, he channeled it to his big, wild, historic event. He organized Jan. 6, with the same people that had just organized a rally resulting in substantial violence and made absolutely sure this time these violent rally-goers wouldn't just remain in place," Plaskett said.
"He made sure that those violent people would literally march right here to our steps from the ellipse to the Capitol to stop the steal. His cavalry. This was deliberate," she stated.
Before she described Trump's actions, she spoke passionately about how her experience as a Black woman in search of truth led her to where she is today.
"I've learned throughout my life that preparation, and truth, can carry you far and can allow you to speak truth to power. I've learned that as a young Black girl growing up in the projects in Brooklyn, a housing community on St. Croix, sent to the most unlikely of settings, and now as an adult woman, representing an island territory speaking to the U.S. Senate," she said. “And because of truth, I am confident today because truth and facts are overwhelming.”