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Home > Uncategorised > USA: Jan 6 Was an Attempted Coup D’Etat-All Roads Lead to Trump

USA: Jan 6 Was an Attempted Coup D’Etat-All Roads Lead to Trump

Wednesday 6 July 2022, by siawi3


All Roads Lead to Trump

We already knew he was at best indifferent to the January 6th violence. The committee that convened last night seeks to prove he was directly responsible for it.

by Harold Meyerson

June 10, 2022

The House select committee investigating the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its first public hearing to reveal the findings of a year-long investigation, June 9, 2022, on Capitol Hill.

The leadoff hearing of the House committee investigating the January 6th insurrection was intended to demonstrate the threat that that day’s riot posed not just to Congress but to the legitimacy of the constitutional transfer of power, and that Donald Trump was certainly in a moral sense and probably in a legal sense behind it.

The case, whose historic context was laid out by Chairman Bennie Thompson and whose particulars were mapped out with pointed clarity by Vice Chair Liz Cheney, appears based on several facts—some already known, some quite new—that the committee leaders, using video clips from witnesses, deftly laid out. One of those facts is that people whose business it was to know clearly told Trump that he had lost the election—most prominently, his attorney general Bill Barr, in whose videoed testimony that was aired said he told Trump that his contentions of fraud and rigging were “bullshit.” It’s not clear, and may never be, whether Trump actually believed this, in which case he knew he’d lost the election that he was illegally and unconstitutionally seeking to overturn, or whether his industrial-strength narcissism kept him from acknowledging what the facts said and he still was OK with contravening the Constitution to keep his hold on power. What is clear is that either way, Trump is the last person any sentient being would want to occupy the White House.

Cheney also alluded to other instances of mind-boggling bad faith that will be detailed in the hearings to come, including that John Eastman, who came up with the bright idea that Vice President Pence could single-handedly declare the election null and void when he chaired the session tallying the electoral votes, had written a month previous that this Pence strategy was nonsense. Another preview of revelations of culpability came when Cheney mentioned that Republican Rep. Scott Perry, who’d brought Eastman into Trump’s coven, sought a post–January 6th pardon from Trump before Trump left office, and that he wasn’t the only congressional Republican who did so.

That’s not normal conduct for a member of Congress unless they think they may well have violated the law.

In other words, the committee appears ready to make the case that the conspirators to overturn the election, among whom Trump was both the germinal and seminal figure, likely knew that they were lying when they said Trump had won, and surely knew that keeping him in power through the bizarre and desperate means they’d chosen broke the law and violated the Constitution.

What makes Trump a formidable figure, of course, is that of all the slimeballs and nitwits involved in this conspiracy, he was probably the only one who didn’t in the slightest degree care that he might be breaking the law and contravening the Constitution. Stacked up against the shattering humiliation of acknowledging that he’d lost, such legal niceties were of no concern to him whatsoever.

Does that mean Trump knew he was inciting a violent insurrection when he told the Proud Boys to stand by, and when he tweeted an invitation (just hours, we learned last night, after meeting with the cracked cabal of Flynn, Powell, and Giuliani, with no staff present to tamp those lunatics down) to his fans to come to D.C. on the day the electoral votes were to be tallied, and that it would be “wild”? Whatever uncertainty still hangs over that question, which later hearings may dispel, the one thing we can be sure of is that he certainly didn’t care if his hold on power was obtained by violence. His conduct during the breach of the Capitol, we already knew, makes that perfectly clear, and the hearings will make that clearer still.

The committee appears ready to make the case that the conspirators to overturn the election likely knew that they were lying.

The power of the kind of hearing that convened last night isn’t simply evidentiary; it’s also emotional, and Officer Caroline Edwards’s testimony surely provided that. The Murdoch minions on Fox are working mightily to undercut the hearings—without, of course, actually airing them so that Fox devotees can judge for themselves—but no one who saw the videos of Edwards on the ground and heard the cry “officer down!” and who then heard Edwards testify about the toll the violence took on her and her colleagues with the just-the-facts statement “I was slipping in people’s blood” can dismiss the hearing’s power. Which is precisely why Fox isn’t airing the hearings.

The committee is presenting a more carefully scripted and laid out presentation than that presented in the Watergate hearings half a century ago, but those hearings began with many of their key revelations (most particularly, that Nixon had taped all his conversations) still unknown to the senators until they ran across them several months into the process. In the current hearings, the committee has had the better part of the year to screen footage and take testimony; they know their case cold and, clearly, are laying it out in the manner they’ve deemed most effective.

One similarity between the two hearings is that both of their chairmen had a whale of a Southern accent. The Watergate go-round was presided over by North Carolina Sen. Sam Ervin, a grandfatherly white-haired segregationist who continually declared he was “just a country lawyer,” a dead giveaway that he was a crafty old fox who knew just how to bring Richard Nixon down. Ervin spoke with an accent so impenetrable that when he once said the words “presidential aides,” The New York Times reported he’d said “presidential eggs.”

Bennie Thompson’s drawl is a good deal more modest and a good deal more intelligible than Ervin’s, but even as we delve into crimes that make Watergate look about as serious as jaywalking by comparison, it’s at least nice to know that we’ve moved from a chairman who filibustered every civil rights bill to a chairman who dutifully represents the Black farmers, public servants, and musical wizards of the Mississippi Delta. January 6th was worse than Watergate, but we have made some progress in the past 50 years.



Jan 6 Was an Attempted Coup D’Etat

Using the Cline Center’s Coup D’état Project definitions, we classify the storming of the US Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 as an attempted coup d’état: an organized, illegal attempt to intervene in the presidential transition by displacing the power of the Congress to certify the election.

June 10, 2022

by Cline Center’s Coup D’état Project

The Cline Center’s Coup D’état Project has categorized the storming of the US Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 as an attempted coup.

Labels matter when it comes to political violence, because each type has distinctive consequences and implications for societal stability. Coups and attempted coups are among the most politically consequential forms of destabilizing events tracked by the Cline Center.

Two days after the storming of the Capitol, the Cline Center released a provisional statement describing the categories of political violence that might be used to characterize the event. At that time, evidence relevant to two of the five Coup D’état Project event criteria was ambiguous. Over the past two weeks, new evidence reported in multiple news sources, including court documents and first-hand accounts, has clarified what happened on January 6th.

How the Cline Center Defines Coups D’état

The Cline Center’s Coup D’état Project is the world’s largest global registry of failed and successful coups. The Cline Center defines a coup as an “organized effort to effect sudden and irregular (e.g., illegal or extra-legal) removal of the incumbent executive authority of a national government, or to displace the authority of the highest levels of one or more branches of government.” To be categorized as a coup, an event must meet the following criteria (which are detailed at greater length in the Coup D’état Project codebook):

There must be some person or persons who initiated the coup.
The target of the coup must have meaningful control over national policy.
There must be a credible threat to the leaders’ hold on power.
Illegal or irregular means must be used to seize, remove, or render powerless the target of the coup.
It must be an organized effort.

These events fall into three categories. Coups that are planned but thwarted before action is taken are coup conspiracies. Once action is taken against a target, it may fail, in which case it is an attempted coup. If the authority of a target is seized, or removed, it is a successful coup.

Some social scientists define coups d’état in ways that require the perpetrators to hold formal positions within the existing national government. We do not. In the Cline Center’s approach, the relationship between the perpetrators and the government only determines the type of coup. Coup D’état Project data includes events initiated from both within and outside the government. Other researchers might classify efforts to overthrow a government by non-governmental actors as insurgencies or civil conflict events rather than coups. We allow data users to decide whether the broader or narrower definition is appropriate for their purposes.

As explained in the Cline Center’s provisional statement, the storming of the US Capitol on January 6th clearly met the first three definitional criteria: one or more persons posed a credible threat to the power of the legislative branch to determine national policy. However, it was unclear at that time whether the attackers were trying to merely disrupt the process of governing or were attempting to change who controls the government. It was also unclear whether the assault on the Capitol was spontaneous, or had been organized in advance.

Over the past few weeks, Cline Center researchers have reviewed voluminous reporting about the event, including official documents, quotes from participants, and analysis of details in videos and images. This additional evidence clearly demonstrates that the two remaining criteria were met.

One or More Groups Planned to Storm the US Capitol

The fifth criterion for categorizing coups excludes purely spontaneous acts that are not intentionally organized in advance. It is clear that those assembled on January 6th possessed a variety of motives and expectations. Those who stormed the US Capitol Building—as well as those who merely joined in the peaceful protests that preceded it—included a diverse mix of groups and unaffiliated individuals. But one or more of the groups within the ranks of those who entered the Capitol Building had carefully planned, equipped, and organized themselves for violent action.

One or More Groups Intended to Usurp Congressional Authority to Certify the 2020 Presidential Election

The “Save America March” rally that immediately preceded the attack on the US Capitol Building was thematically focused on changing the outcome of the 2020 US Presidential election. That alone does not mean the people who stormed the building intended any more than temporarily disrupting the normal operations of the US Congress. Cline Center researchers paid careful attention to evidence that might clarify the intentions of those involved in assaulting the US Capitol Building.

Our team has concluded from publicly-available reporting that one or more groups attempted to intervene in the presidential transition in order to extend President Trump’s time in office past the constitutionally-imposed limit of January 20, 2021. Ample evidence demonstrates that one or more groups within the ranks of those who illegally entered the Capitol intended to usurp congressional authority to certify the election, arrogating control of the transition to themselves or to the executive branch. This would change who controls the federal government, rather than merely disrupt the process of governing.

What Type of Coup Attempt Was It?

If a failed act of insurrection was planned, organized, and implemented in such a way that it posed a short-term credible threat to overthrow the legitimate authority of a policy-making branch of national government, it is an attempted coup d’état under Cline Center definitions. But which type of attempted coup it might be depends on its circumstances and initiators. At the time of this writing, the groups and individuals known to have organized and planned this coup attempt fall clearly into the category of “dissidents.” In the Cline Center typology, a dissident coup is initiated by a small group of discontents that can include former government officials, religious leaders, business owners, or civilians.

If ongoing investigations by legal authorities and news organizations reveal credible evidence that other types of actors were involved, then it might also fall into one or more additional categories of coup d’état. For example, if further investigation were to reveal clear evidence of executive branch involvement, then the events of January 6 would also be considered an attempted auto-coup. Under Cline Center definitions, an auto-coup occurs when “the incumbent chief executive uses illegal or extra-legal means to assume extraordinary powers, seize the power of other branches of government, or render powerless other components of the government such as the legislature or judiciary.” The Coup D’état Project codebook contains more detailed definitions of the various types of coups in the dataset. Cline Center researchers will continue to assess whether any additional coup categories should be applied to this event.


Using Cline Center definitions, the storming of the US Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 was an attempted coup d’état. At the time of this writing, the Cline Center’s Coup D’état Project classifies the type of attempt as a dissident coup. Additional classifications regarding the type of coup attempt are possible if additional details are uncovered.

About the Cline Center and the Coup D’état Project

The Cline Center for Advanced Social Research is a nonpartisan research center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with over a decade of experience in systematically categorizing acts of protest and political violence around the world. Since its initial public release in 2013, the Cline Center’s Coup D’état Project has aimed to document every coup, attempted coup, and coup conspiracy anywhere in the world since 1945. Version 2.0 of the dataset encompasses 943 events, including 426 realized coups, 336 attempts, and 181 conspiracies that occurred between 1945 and 2019. It is the largest global registry of these destabilizing events.

To build these data, Cline Center researchers began with the excellent work of other scholars, including the Center for Systemic Peace (Marshall and Marshall, 2007), the World Handbook of Political and Social Indicators (Taylor and Jodice, 1983), Luttwak’s (1979) Coup d’État: a Practical Handbook, Powell and Thyne (2011), and unpublished datasets compiled by Svolik and Akcinaroglu (2006). The Coup D’état Project team refined and then expanded on existing datasets using the Cline Center Global News Index, events from the Social, Political, and Economic Event Database (SPEED) Project, and other open-access resources. For more details, see the Coup D’état Project codebook.

Click here to read the Cline Center’s January 8th provisional statement on the storming of the US Capitol


Luttwak, Edward. 1979. Coup d’État, A Practical Handbook. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press.

Marshall, Monty and Donna Marshall. 2007. Coup d’état Events, 1960-2006. Center for Systemic Peace.

Nardulli, Peter. Michael Martin, Michael Slana, Sina Toosi, Joseph Bajjalieh. 2013. The Coup D’état Project Dataset. Cline Center for Democracy. September 2013. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved from

Powell, Jonathan M. and Clayton L. Thyne. 2011. Global Instances of Coups from 1950 to 2010: A New Dataset. Journal of Peace Research. 48(2): 249-259.

Svolik, Milan and Seden Akcinaroglu. 2006. Government Change in Authoritarian Regimes. Unpublished data sets. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Taylor, Charles L. and David A. Jodice. 1983. World Handbook of Political and Social Indicators. New Haven. Yale University Press.