Trump Colorado 14th Amendment Ballot Access Trial Progresses – Donald Trump’s place on the ballot in Colorado remains in the balance. Plaintiffs claim that Trump supported an insurrection and, therefore, is disqualified from being on the ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
District Court Judge Sarah Wallace will deliver her verdict in the case after closing arguments on November 15. The Constitution does not say how the ban would be enforced and that it has not been used since 1919.
Wallace overruled dozens of motions by Trump attorneys during the weeklong case.
“Do you have examples of situations in which a court has basically said, ’the Constitution’s too hard for me to interpret, therefore, I’m gonna let Congress tell me what it means?’” Wallace said. “In general, I think that’s exactly the job of the court – to interpret the Constitution. So, I’d love to hear from you, as to why you think in this instance, that what I need to do is say, ‘it’s too hard.’”
The claim that Trump aided and abetted and “insurrection” hinges around his call to “fight like hell” during his Jan. 6, 2021 speech at the White House. Trump’s defense notes that the former president called on his followers to “peacefully and patriotically” march to the Capitol to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to send slates of electors from states contested by the president’s campaign to the states.
Expert: Donald Trump’s Words Taken as Call to Violence
Peter Simi, a self-described expert on far-right extremism, testified that Trump’s words were taken by far-Right extremists as a call to violence. Simi claimed that “within far-right extremist culture, fighting is meant to be taken literally … especially within the context as it’s laid out, that these threats are imminent, and that you’re going to lose your country. Then, fighting would be understood as requiring violent action.”
He noted that the former president seemed to embrace the Proud Boys, a group that was involved in numerous brawls with far-left Antifa rioters.
“Far-right extremists really were galvanized by his candidacy starting in 2015,” Simi said. “And a relationship really emerged between Donald Trump and far-right extremists, with far-right extremists really seeing him as speaking their language, and really addressing many of their key grievances.”
At least 54 Proud Boys participated in the Capitol riot. Proud Boy leader Enrique Tarrio received 22 years for seditious conspiracy. Prosecutors failed to connect Trump with the Proud Boys beyond his sarcastic comment during his debate with Joe Biden at which he said, “stand back and stand by.” Tarrio claimed that prosecutors wanted to pressure him into saying things about Trump that were not true.
The FBI found scant evidence of an organized conspiracy to storm the Capitol, although it found evidence that the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers had plotted to enter the Capitol before Trump gave his speech.
“But the FBI has so far found no evidence that he or people directly around him were involved in organizing the violence, according to … four current and former law enforcement officials,” Reuters reported in August 2021.
Riot Participant: January 6 a Protest that Got Out of Hand
A January 6 riot participant who spoke under the condition of anonymity under advice the of legal counsel told 19FortyFive on background that the riot ensued in the heat of the moment.
He also said he was not part of an organized effort. He also did not recall seeing agitators egging on the participants.
The question at hand is whether Trump aided and abetted an “insurrection,” not if he incited one.
“… [E]ven the view that it was an ‘insurrection’ is by no means a consensus. Polls have shown that most of the public view Jan. 6 for what it was: a protest that became a riot,” George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley wrote in an August 2023 column. “One year after the riot, CBS News mostly downplayed and ignored the result of its own poll showing that 76 percent viewed it for what it was, as a ‘protest gone too far.’ The view that it was an actual ‘insurrection’ was far less settled, with almost half rejecting the claim, a division breaking along partisan lines.”
January 6 protest organizer Amy Kremer, a former leader of the Tea Party movement, testified that the demonstration began with “patriotic, freedom-loving citizens” who were “joyful, singing and dancing,” after Trump finished his speech.
Colorado Rep. Ken Buck questioned the credibility of the partisan congressional January 6 Committee and its report, which he says undergirds the effort to disqualify him from the ballot.
Proving that Trump aided and abetted an “insurrection” comes down to proving intent, and thus far, no evidence has been presented to establish that as a fact of law.
“The theory that this was a rebellion or insurrection has always been highly contested,” Turley wrote. “Sulking in the Oval Office does not make Trump a seditionist. Indeed, despite formal articles of the second impeachment and years of experts insisting that Trump was guilty of incitement and insurrection, Special Counsel Jack Smith notably did not charge him with any such crime.”
Turley continued, “The reason is obvious. The evidence and constitutional standards would not have supported a charge of incitement or insurrection.”
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting. He writes opinion pieces, like this one, for 19FortyFive.