Durbin: Instead Of Calming The January 6 Insurrection, Donald Trump Poured Gasoline On The Fire

In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin reflects on the most recent hearing of the bipartisan Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, and the Senate Judiciary Committee’s tandem investigation

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today spoke about the revelations the bipartisan Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol has shared in its eight recent public hearings. Specifically, Durbin referenced the evidence that former President Donald Trump knowingly stood by during the attack, which threatened the lives of Members of Congress, law enforcement, and staff.

“Donald Trump sent this carnage in motion by riling up his supporters with the Big Lie and ordering them to march on the Capitol… The public hearings of the January 6 Committee have answered the question in frightening detail: where was the President?” Durbin said. “We now know from last Thursday's hearing, Donald Trump knew within 15 minutes of finishing his remarks that the mob was on its way to attack this building and the people inside. What did he do? … He sat in his private dining room next to the Oval Office watching the violence on TV… He refused pleas from congressional leaders of both parties, from his own staff and family, [and] from his allies in the media at Fox News to call off the mob. He refused to walk less than 60 seconds to the White House briefing room and to make a simple statement asking the violence to stop. He was silent. And he watched Fox News every second of that three hours and seven minutes.”

During his speech, Durbin also spoke about the Senate Judiciary Committee’s October 2021 report, Subverting Justice: How the Former President and His Allies Pressured DOJ to Overturn the 2020 Election. Following an eight-month investigation, the Judiciary Committee released testimony and a staff report that revealed that we were only a half-step away from a full blown constitutional crisis as Donald Trump and his loyalists threatened a wholesale takeover of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Durbin continued, “Our report showed just how aggressively the defeated President tried to hold on to power, how some within the Justice Department were actually conspiring to help him, and how hard the Department's leadership had to work to prevent Trump's illegal scheme from succeeding. We knew when we produced our report that it was just one chapter in an intricate plot to subvert America's democracy. In eight public hearings over the last six weeks, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol has laid out in clear and chilling detail more chapters in the plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election. The facts are damning. What makes them even more shocking and credible is that they've been revealed under oath not by former President Trump's political foes, but by people who once believed in him, people who worked with him for years—close aides, advisors, even his own family members.”  

Durbin concluded, “The Senate will soon consider a bipartisan Electoral Count Reform Act to make it plain that a presidential election cannot be overturned by wrongful, partisan interference by a Vice President or any state or congressional officials… I hope that ten Republicans will join us in modernizing this law so it works for today. It was written in haste in the middle of a political controversy in the 19th century. Some of the sections of that law are almost unintelligible. Let's clarify it. Let’s give the American people assurance that we learned a lesson on January 6, 2021, and in the election that preceded it. And that in that lesson we learned the American people want their votes to count—accurately, honestly, and fairly. Ultimately, however, the only way we can protect our elections and our democracy is by respecting the rule of law and the will of the American people—and telling them the truth. By laying out the truth clearly for the American people and for history, the January 6 Committee is performing an invaluable public service.” 

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.