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'They were manipulated;' USF professor reacts to allegations about Trump's role in Capitol riot

USF professor treacts to Jan. 6 committee allegations linking Trump to insurgents
USF professor reacts to Jan. 6 committee allegations linking Trump to insurgents 02:17

SAN FRANCISCO -- New details emerged from the House January 6 committee about events leading up to the Capitol riot including a meeting described as "the craziest of the Trump presidency."

It was one tweet from President Trump 18 days before the riot that House committee members say was a call to arms to march on Washington DC.

Far-right groups and conspiracy theorists immediately latched on, including Alex Jones of Infowars.

"President Trump tweeted that he wants the American people to march on Washington," Jones said in a video recorded a day later.

The President sent out the tweet immediately after a more than six-hour-long meeting at the White House. That meeting took place four days after all 50 states certified the electoral results. In attendance were election deniers including Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn, Rudy Guiliani, and former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne.

Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone told the committee about the meeting and one of the aides called it "unhinged", saying it was a screaming match over the effort to install Trump into a second term in office, including an idea to use the military to seize voting machines.

"He clearly was not confused. He didn't think he'd won. He knew he lost and then he set an agenda to try to prevent losing legally," said James Taylor, a political science professor at USF. 

Taylor added Tuesday's hearing also showed how Trump used his supporters for personal gain.

"To confuse the country, confuse the process of the transference of power and they were manipulated," said Jones.

It wasn't just groups like the Oathkeepers and Proud Boys, but also people like Stephen Ayres of Ohio. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct at the Capitol and said many were hanging on Trump's every word.

When Ayers was asked by a House committee member why he decided to march to the Capitol, he replied, "The President got everybody riled up, told everybody to head on down. So we were basically just following what he said."

The panel is scheduled to hold its next hearing on July 21, and it will focus on what Trump was doing during the Capitol attack.

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