In Harvard study of Jan. 6 rioters, top motivation is clear: Trump

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Harvard researchers who conducted the largest study to date of what motivated rioters on January 6, say the data is clear: The most common responses focused on former President Donald Trump and his lies about the election.

The study, which was shared with NBC News before it was published, recorded and analyzed the motives of 417 Capitol rioters, all of whom are accused. Regarding the sixth of January. The motives are derived from 469 documents filed with the US District Court for the District of Columbia, including indictment documents and sentencing notes.

The researchers from Harvard University’s Shornstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy wrote that the documents show that Jan. 6 committee member, Representative Liz Cheney, R-Wyo, “was mostly correct. evaluation“Trump summoned the mob, gathered the mob, and lit the torch of this attack.”

“Far and far, we find that the two most common reasons for the breach of the US Capitol are the desire to support Trump on January 6 in the capital and concerns about the integrity of the election,” the report read.

The report adds to evidence from thousands of court documents in more than 840 cases filed so far that many of those who stormed the Capitol and committed acts of violence were motivated by their support for Trump and their belief in lies about the 2020 election.

A large number of the rioters cited either their support for Trump (20.6%) or Trump’s mistaken belief that the election had been stolen (also 20.6%) as the primary motivation for their actions that led to the January 6 indictments.

The third most cited reason the defendants gave law enforcement authorities for entering the Capitol was their belief that they were participating in a “revolution, civil war, or secession.”

The same number of defendants in the study claimed to have been in the Capitol for “peaceful protest” (7%) as those who claimed to have been there because of “public interest in violence” (6.2%).

The report, written by Joan Donovan, director of the Shornstein Center for Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University, and Kayleigh Fagan and Frances Lee, research assistants at Shornstein, is an analysis of “the largest and most widely publicly available archive of social media posts, private messages, and direct attributable citations.” To the gang members: their court documents.

The report includes specific social media posts from rioters in the days leading up to January 6 that identified Trump as the main cause of the chaos. The Harvard study also notes the most common links among the more than 400 Capitol rioters included in the analysis.

The second most shared link among the defendants was a December 22, 2021 Facebook video posted by then-President Trump in which he made baseless accusations of voter fraud for more than 14 minutes.

“When we were formulating a research question, we really wanted to answer, ‘What prompted the January 6 defendants to go to the Capitol?'” Donovan said. “

The documents were produced by FBI agents or law enforcement and include both the people’s stated motives for going to the Capitol that day, as well as some of their social media history that officers believed was relevant to their arrest.

Kelly Meggs, a member of a far-right militant group oath keepers, citing then-President Trump’s December 18 tweet in which he told fans “Get there, you’re going to be wild!” In a Facebook post on the same day.

“Trump said it’s going to be wild!!!!!! It’s going to be wild!!!!!!” Meggs wrote. “He wants us to make it rough and that’s what he says. He has called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!! Sir yes sir!!!”

The Department of Justice subsequently charged Miggs with conspiring to storm the Capitol on January 6.

Daniel “DJ” RodriguezA California supporter of Trump who was captured in multiple videos driving a stun gun into the neck of Metropolitan Police Officer Mike Fannon has admitted to the FBI that he did what was shown in the video.

After Rodriguez was arrested by the FBI in late March 2021, he waived Miranda’s rights and gave the FBI an in-depth look at how he ended up committing an act of violence against an officer. (After he confessed, Rodriguez’s lawyers tried unsuccessfully to have his confession removed from a potential trial. He has pleaded innocent in his case, but remains in custody until trial due to the overwhelming evidence against him.)

“It’s so stupid and so ignorant, and I see it as a big joke, that we thought we were going to save this country, and we were doing the right things and things,” Rodriguez explained.

Rodriguez said he knocked on doors in support of the Trump campaign, attended several rallies, tried to sign up for the military after Trump became president, and walked to a recruiting station wearing a Trump T-shirt.

Call us Trump. Trump called us in Washington, D.C., “I thought he thought we were doing the right thing,” Rodriguez told the FBI, explaining why he was going to D.C. on Jan. 6.

The massive body of evidence released in connection with the criminal cases on January 6 illustrates the motives of the accused in the Capitol riots in other ways. Recently released police authority camera shots, which was presented as evidence in connection with the January 6 case, mob members chanting “Fight for Trump” are shown inside the Capitol as they try to fight former police officers trying to get them out of the building after the mob stormed the door on the building. East side of the Capitol.

additional shots Filmed by the Capitol Hooligan Nolan Cook, which was recently released at the request of NBC News, shows the mob chanting “Stop the robbery” and “We want Trump!” After breaking the police line and chasing exhausted cops up the stairs of the Capitol.

Donovan said she hopes her research will help show social media companies and authorities when they need to act before a similar flashpoint occurs in the future.

“What we are trying to understand is really the new, effective forms of political violence that can come from online incitement, that create that kind of fervor. And then, once the match is ignited by a politician, we have to have appropriate responses by other actors, including In it not only law enforcement, but journalists and technologists,” Donovan said.

“I think the only way to solve the network agitation problem is to solve the whole community.”



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