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Far-right influencer calls for ‘end of democracy’ at CPAC as Republicans downplay January 6

Jack Posobiec stated he wants to ‘overthrow it completely’ as panelists hit back at prosecutors for January 6 crimes

Alex Woodward
Friday 23 February 2024 19:05 GMT
Donald Trump delivers incoherent speech praising Capitol rioters

Far-right activist and prominent “Pizzagate” influencer Jack Posobiec hailed the “end of democracy” at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where prominent Republicans and GOP officials trotted out January 6 conspiracy theories and downplayed the attack on the US Capitol to overturn 2020’s election results.

“Welcome to the end of democracy. We are here to overthrow it completely,” Posobiec said during a panel moderated by former Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon on Thursday.

“We didn’t get all the way there on January 6, but we will endeavor to get rid of it and replace it with this, right here,” he added.

Posobiec is among guests at this year’s four-day CPAC event in Washington DC, where Mr Trump, right-wing media personalities, members of Congress, state officials and the former president’s allies and surrogates are reviving familiar grievances and outlining attacks against political rivals heading into 2024 elections.

On Friday, he said his plan to “end democracy” included rolling back what he claimed is a list of Democratic policies, part of a “regime that we will overturn”.

Far-right influencer Jack Posobiec said ‘we will endeavor to get rid’ of democracy while speaking to the convention crowd (Getty)

“They say democracy, but they mean authoritarianism, and they know it,” he said.

Jeffrey Clark, a former US Department of Justice official who is among more than a dozen of Mr Trump’s co-defendants in the Georgia election interference case, told a crowd on Friday that the prosecution of defendants for joining the mob that broke into the Capitol on 6 January 2021, is a “grave injustice”.

Defendants who illegally breached the halls of Congress “for a few hours” as lawmakers were certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election are now being “treated like it’s the worst thing ever”, Mr Clark said.

Mr Clark is also an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal case criminally charging the former president with conspiracy and obstruction for his multi-state attempts to overturn results and a failure to stop a pro-Trump mob from breaking into the Capitol.

Geri Perna, the aunt of a convicted rioter who died by suicide while awaiting sentencing, spoke on the panel alongside Mr Clark. “He stood up for his rights and it cost him his life,” she said. “There will be more suicides. They are pushing people to the brink of insanity.”

“Some of our real heroes were there on January 6, putting their lives on the line,” said panel moderator Julie Kelly, a right-wing media personality and author of January 6: How Democrats Used the Capitol Protest to Launch a War on Terror Against the Political Right.

Former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, who is criminally charged in Georgia for his alleged attempts to unlawfully overturn 2020 election results, addressed CPAC on 23 February (AP)

Simone Gold, known for spreading debunked claims about Covid-19, was fined and sentenced to 60 days in prison in 2022 for illegally entering the Capitol on January 6. She addressed the 2024 event on Friday, outlining a forthcoming US Supreme Court case surrounding January 6 that she said will either “bring down this entire house of cards” or the “pretense that we have a rule of law in this nation”.

Ms Gold – whose group America’s Frontline Doctors sponsored last year’s CPAC – minimized the events of January 6 to argue that an obstruction charge against hundreds of defendants was never intended to target “civilian protests” in Congress.

“Did these people walking the ropes, walking peacefully, act corruptly?” she asked.

Elsewhere at the conference, a legal defence fund for January 6 defendants had a booth in an adjoining exhibit hall. Attendees could also play a January 6-themed pinball game.

More than 1,300 people face criminal charges in connection with the Capitol attack, according to the Justice Department.

Nearly 500 people are charged with assaulting or impeding officers or employees, and more than 100 are charged with using a deadly or dangerous weapon.

In arguments in front of the Supreme Court to keep Mr Trump on Colorado ballots after a 14th Amendment challenge pointing to his support for “insurrection,” the former president’s attorney conceded that the mob’s actions on January 6 were “criminal”.

“It was a riot. It was not an insurrection. The events were shameful, criminal, violent – all of those things. But it did not qualify as insurrection,” according to Mr Trump’s attorney Jonathan Mitchell.

An admission from one of Mr Trump’s attorneys that the Capitol attack constituted “criminal” actions follows his repeated attempts to evade liability from criminal charges connected to his attempts to overturn 2020 election results, and his ongoing praise for rioters as “patriots” and jailed defendants as “hostages”.

Mr Trump has vowed to pardon January 6 defendants, if elected.

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