“It is denied that the phrase ‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore’ had anything to do with the action at the Capitol as it was clearly about the need to fight for election security in general, as evidenced by the recording of the speech,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in his official response papers.
But court filings in many cases showed that the former president’s supporters came to Washington spoiling for a fight and that they broadly took calls from Trump and his allies to “stop the steal” — a reference to baseless claims of widespread voter fraud — to be an appeal for violence. Social media posts, FBI interview summaries, and publicly available interviews that prosecutors included in charging papers also lay out the extent to which Trump’s supporters were waiting to take orders from him and understood his words as a direction to act.
Robert Bauer, charged with unlawfully entering a restricted area (the US Capitol) and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, spoke with two FBI agents on Jan. 8. He “reiterated that he marched to the U.S. Capitol because President Trump said to do so,” according to his charging papers. The FBI affidavit includes a screenshot of a selfie found on Bauer’s phone that shows him and his cousin (and codefendant) Edward Hemenway II, both wearing “Trump 2020” hats, smiling and posing with their middle fingers up inside the Capitol building.