The testimony was unprecedented. In an extraordinary sitting in Washington DC of the congressional committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol building, a White House staffer detailed how Donald Trump had attempted to grab the steering wheel of his presidential car in determination to join his supporters as they rioted. Cassidy Hutchinson also testified that Trump would fly into rages, on one occasion throwing a plate at the wall, smashing it in anger and leaving ketchup dripping down a White House wall.
Lawrence Douglas, a professor of law at Amherst College, tells Michael Safi that, throughout the series of slickly produced hearings, the committee has told a compelling narrative of the events that led up to the riots on January 6. And it goes beyond that, to alleged attempts to “steal” the election via slates of “fake electors” and by piling pressure on key officials such as the vice president and the justice secretary.
As the case against Trump and many of his aides is laid out though, the next steps are far from certain. Even if the evidence unearthed by the committee does reach the standard needed to bring prosecutions, would a prosecution of the former president be deemed in the public interest – and could a jury be found of 12 people who would act completely impartially, in what is now a deeply polarised country?
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