Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a member of the now-defunct House Jan. 6 committee, described what she found particularly “unsettling” in the indictment accusing Donald Trump of conspiring to subvert his 2020 election defeat.
Lofgren told CBS News said she was surprised to learn from the indictment that Trump’s confidantes were seriously considering invoking the 1792 Insurrection Act, which would have authorized him to deploy the military against Americans to stay in power.
“I didn’t realize how close we came to Trump ordering the military into American cities,” Lofgren said. “That’s pretty chilling. If he had succeeded there would have been demonstrations.”
“Very unsettling,” she continued.
When deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin had told Jeffrey Clark, a former top Justice Department official in the Trump administration listed as “Co-Conspirator 4” in the indictment, that there was no way Trump could stay in power beyond Inauguration Day, Clark had another idea.
“Well, that’s why there’s an Insurrection Act,” Clark told Philbin, according to the indictment.
Lofgren said the House panel didn’t obtain the “contemporaneous notes” former Vice President Mike Pence took of discussions with Trump and his allies in the days leading up to the Capitol riot. That’s because Pence, now a 2024 GOP presidential candidate, defied a congressional subpoena for testimony and documents.
Lofgren is not the only one to express shock at the idea of mobilizing the military.
Kevin Carroll, who advised former White House chief of staff John Kelly during the Trump administration, said the military was nearly placed in an “unthinkable” position.
Commanders would have been “forced to choose whether to abandon an unbroken tradition of American military obedience to civilian control, or turn their guns on civilians to facilitate a losing candidate remaining in the White House beyond Inauguration Day,” Carroll said.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to four felony charges in the election indictment. He claims special counsel Jack Smith is prosecuting him to hurt his 2024 presidential campaign. Trump also has been bitterly attacking the House Jan. 6 panel, resharing a post calling for its members to be arrested.
The indictment largely overlaps recommendations in the committee’s final report.