People are calling for a boycott of Publix after the Wall Street Journal unmasked an heiress to the Southern grocery empire as the top donor to the Trump rally that led to the Capitol riots on January 6.
Julie Jenkins Fancelli, an heiress to the Publix founding family’s nearly $9 billion fortune, has previously donated millions to Republican causes and candidates. On January 30, the WSJ reported Fancelli as having contributed $300,000 out of the roughly $500,000 total raised for Trump’s now-infamous “Stop the Steal” rally.
Publix has a dedicated fanbase, but Fancelli’s contribution to the rally was the last straw for many loyal customers, The Guardian reported Monday. On Monday, the hashtag #BoycottPublix was trending on Twitter, with many users expressing outrage and claiming betrayal over Fancelli’s donation.
Fancelli is still president of the George Jenkins Foundation, Inc., Publix founder George Jenkins’s charity, which is not affiliated with the grocery chain. Since posting the statement on January 30, the Publix Twitter account – which previously posted around once a day – has been uncharacteristically silent.
This isn’t the first time Publix has courted controversy over its political donations. It came under fire after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded the chain an exclusive vaccine distribution contract. This followed the Publix PAC donating $100,000 donation to his campaign – a spokeswoman for DeSantis said any implication that the contract was a reward for the donation was “baseless and ridiculous,” per the Lakeland Ledger.
Leaders from predominantly Black communities throughout the state also criticized the contract, saying it deprived many Black Floridians of the chance to get vaccinated.
As Donald Trump’s impeachment team prepares to argue this week that the former president did not play a role in inciting the deadly Capitol insurrection on January 6, a growing group of his own supporters is claiming the exact opposite.
Lawyers for at least 10 people charged over their roles in the Capitol attack so far have blamed Trump directly for their clients’ involvement in the siege that left five dead.
This week, Trump faces his second impeachment trial as House impeachment managers try to make the case that he incited the insurrection by telling a crowd to “fight like hell” right before a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol building last month.
Though it looks like Trump will have the votes he needs for an eventual acquittal, the result of the trial could have legal impacts beyond the former president’s political future. Criminal law experts told Insider’s Jacob Shamsian that the outcome of the trial could help Capitol rioters shift the blame to Trump in their own criminal cases.
Trump has already faced accusations of blame for his role in the riots. Family members of Rosanne Boyland, a 34-year-old woman from Kennesaw, Georgia, who was one of four civilians who died during the Capitol attack, have blamed Trump for her death.
“I’ve never tried to be a political person, but it’s my own personal belief that the president’s words incited a riot that killed four of his biggest fans last night…,” Justin Cave, Boyland’s brother-in-law, told local Atlanta media.
Now, some of those charged in the riots have started to use Trump’s incitement as a defense for their own actions on January 6.
Here are the alleged rioters so far who are blaming Trump:
An attorney for Matthew Miller, said the 22-year-old accused of discharging a fire extinguisher at Capitol Police, was “merely following the directions of then-President Donald Trump.”
“On January 6, 2021, Mr. Miller attended a rally in Washington, DC, where many speakers, including the then-President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, exhorted attendees to march to the Capitol to protest the certification of the vote count of the Electoral College for the 2020 Presidential Election,” Miller’s attorney wrote in a pre-trial release motion.
“QAnon Shaman” Jacob Angeli Chansley
Once one of the former president’s most loyal supporters, Jacob Chansely has apparently changed his tune.
His lawyer, Al Watkins, has said the “QAnon Shaman,” as Chansley became known, feels betrayed by the former president.
Watkins said his client acted on “months of lies and misrepresentations and horrific innuendo and hyperbolic speech by our president designed to inflame, enrage, motivate.”
“Our president, as a matter of public record, invited these individuals, as president, to walk down to the Capitol with him,” Watkins told a local NBC News affiliate, adding that Chansley “regrets very very much having not just been duped by the president, but … allowed that duping to put him in a position to make decisions he should not have made.
Sanford’s lawyer, Enrique Latoison, told The New York Times that his client would not have been at the Capitol at all if not for Trump’s words.
“You’re being told, ‘You gotta fight like hell,'” Latoison told the newspaper. “Does ‘fight like hell’ mean you can throw stuff at people? Maybe.”
Court filings say Emmanuel Jackson is a “recently homeless” man who voluntarily turned himself in to the FBI and identified himself in pictures and videos from the riots. Jackson allegedly struck a police shield with a metal baseball bat during the siege.
In a pre-trial release request, Jackson’s lawyer, Brandi Harden, argued that Trump “encouraged the crowd to walk down Pennsylvania Ave,” and “roused the crowd by telling them ‘we will stop the seal’ and ‘you’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong…… if you don’t fight like hell you are not going to have a country anymore.'”
Harden wrote, “the nature and circumstances of this offense must be viewed through the lens of an event inspired by the President of the United States.”
An alleged member of the right-wing extremist group the Proud Boys, Dominic Pezzola is accused of using a Capitol Police shield to shatter a window in the Capitol, allowing rioters to enter the building, according to the Department of Justice.
Pezzola’s defense lawyer, Michael Scibetta, told Reuters that Trump encouraged the mob.
“The boss of the country said, ‘People of the country, come on down, let people know what you think,'” Scibetta, told the outlet. “The logical thinking was, ‘He invited us down.'”
Edward Lang was arrested last month after he posted numerous incriminating videos and photos on social media documenting his time in the Capitol building, according to charging documents.
“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said in January. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”
The FBI received three separate tips regarding the same image of Kenneth Grayson, a 51-year-old Pennsylvania man, inside the Capitol on January 6, court documents say.
Charging records reveal Grayson sent multiple private messages before the siege discussing his travel plans and saying he would follow the president’s orders.
“I’m there for the greatest celebration of all time after Pence leads the Senate flip!! OR IM THERE IF TRUMP TELLS US TO STORM THE F***** CAPITAL IMA DO THAT THEN! We don’t want any trouble but they are not going to steal this election that I guarantee bro!!” Grayson wrote.
A lawyer for Garret Miller, an alleged capitol rioter charged for his role in the siege who also reportedly tweeted death threats to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a Capitol Police Officer, said his client “certainly regrets what he did.”
“He did it in support of former President (Donald) Trump, but regrets his actions,” Attorney Clint Broden told CNN.
Jenny Cudd, who was charged with participating in the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, made headlines last week after asking a federal court to grant her permission to leave the country for a retreat in Mexico.
A federal judge ruled in favor of Cudd’s request on Friday afternoon, granting the Texas florist’s motion to visit Mexico for a “planned and prepaid” four-day weekend retreat with her employees later this month in Riviera Maya.
Judge Trevor McFadden of the DC District Court signed the order, noting that Cudd has no prior criminal history. McFadden, a 2017 Trump appointee, also said there was no evidence suggesting she posed a danger to others or was a flight risk.
The motion said Cudd will have to provide her itinerary to her supervising pretrial services officer.
Cudd was charged in January with unlawfully entering a restricted building and with disorderly conduct after the FBI said video footage showed her inside the Capitol on January 6. FBI documents said Cudd walked around various parts of the Capitol and used social media to document her time in the building.
“I f****** charged the Capitol today with patriots today. Hell yes, I am proud of my actions” she reportedly said in a Facebook video.
Following the riot, Cudd remained unapologetic. She participated in an interview with a local news station where she confirmed she entered the building and said she would “do it again,” according to FBI documents.
In order to make the case to be allowed on the retreat, which was reportedly planned before her actions on January 6, Cudd’s lawyers described her as a “small business owner” and “established member of her community” who had followed all court orders so far and had no criminal history.
The voluntary New York State Bar Association is considering removing Rudy Giuliani from its membership roll after receiving hundreds of complaints for his efforts to overturn and his comments leading up to the US Capitol riot last week.
“Giuliani’s words quite clearly were intended to encourage Trump supporters unhappy with the election’s outcome to take matters into their own hands,” the association said.
The move would not prevent Giuliani from practicing law, as that would require a state court committee.
The New York State Bar Association is considering expelling the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for comments he made before Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol last week.
The NYSBA, the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation, said in a statement that it has received hundreds of complaints since the election about Giuliani and “his baseless efforts on behalf of President Trump to cast doubt on the veracity of the 2020 presidential election and, after the votes were cast, to overturn its legitimate results.”
The association also cited Giuliani’s statement to Trump supporters just hours before the Capitol riots: “Let’s have trial by combat,” he said at the time.
As a result of the complaints and comments, NYSBA President Scott M. Karson launched an inquiry to determine whether Giuliani should be removed from membership, the statement said. Expulsion from the voluntary organization would not prevent Giuliani from practicing law, though, as attorneys can only be disbarred by a state court committee. The New York State Board of Law Examiners was not immediately available Monday for comment on the matter.
The association’s bylaws say no person in the association who advocates the overthrow of the U.S. government can be a member.
“Mr. Giuliani’s words quite clearly were intended to encourage Trump supporters unhappy with the election’s outcome to take matters into their own hands,” the statement said. “Their subsequent attack on the Capitol was nothing short of an attempted coup, intended to prevent the peaceful transition of power.”
Giuliani could not be reached for comment. The former New York City mayor will be provided due process and have an opportunity to explain his words and actions, the association said.
Earlier on Monday, a top Georgia election official said Giuliani “lied”over election-fraud claims by presenting a deceptively edited video as evidence, despite having access to the full footage. And last week, attorneys working for the city of Detroit filed a complaint asking the state of Michigan to disbar Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood for trying to overturn election results. They said other states should look at disbarring the attorneys as well.
House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Monday charging him with incitement of insurrection.
The House will formally vote on impeaching the president for high crimes and misdemeanors later this week unless Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer brought a resolution to the floor during a pro forma session on Monday calling on Pence to invoke the amendment and tried to get it passed by unanimous consent, but Republicans blocked the measure.
The resolution accuses the president of “inciting violence against the government of the United States” and argues that he “threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government” by urging a mob of his loyalists to challenge Congress’ ratification of the presidential election.
The resolution is widely expected to pass on Tuesday, when House Democrats will bring it to the floor again and vote via roll call. At that point, Pence will have 24 hours to move forward on invoking the 25th Amendment or the House will vote on passing the article of impeachment against Trump.
Business Insider reported last week that the vice president is not inclined to take the drastic step, though a source later told CNN that he has not completely ruled out the option.
“As our next step, we will move forward with bringing impeachment legislation to the Floor,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a Monday statement. “The President’s threat to America is urgent, and so too will be our action.”
Politico reported that House Democrats have enough votes to impeach Trump later this week if he isn’t removed from office.
Monday’s developments come after Trump incited a deadly riot at the US Capitol as Congress was counting up electoral votes in the 2020 election and preparing to finalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. The failed insurrection resulted in five deaths, including a 42-year-old Capitol Police officer who died from brain injuries sustained after Trump supporters beat him with a fire extinguisher.
At a rally before Congress convened, Trump urged thousands of his supporters to march to the Capitol and stop Congress from cementing Biden’s win.
“You’ll never take back our country with weakness,” he told the crowd. “You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
On Monday, House members quoted yet another line from Trump’s speech in the articles of impeachment: “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
Shortly after Congress began debating Republican election challenges to some states’ electoral votes, rioters breached barricades surrounding the Capitol and easily overtook Capitol Police, some of whom were filmed stepping aside to let the mob swarm into the building and taking selfies with Trump’s supporters.
The insurrectionists went on to ransack lawmakers’ offices and steal property including some records that the Justice Department said may have contained “national security equities.” Some rioters in the pro-Trump mob appeared to be hunting down members of Congress and the vice president.
Additional footage and media reports released since the riots indicate that several members of the mob are active law enforcement officers and ex-military members with tactical training. Another man who was seen with zip-ties in the Senate, Larry Rendell Brock, is a US Air Force veteran and was arrested after his ex-wife identified him to the FBI.
The president has been relatively silent since the Capitol siege after being banned from Twitter and blocked from posting on Facebook and Instagram. Parler, a far-right platform popular among violent extremists, was also taken offline Sunday night after being booted from Amazon Web Services’ cloud-hosting platform.
Almost immediately after the attack on the Capitol building last Wednesday, social media platforms began suspending and permanently disabling accounts they say disseminate violent rhetoric.
The most prominent ban was Twitter’s permanent suspension of President Donald Trump’s account Friday night.
After his account got disabled, top conservatives began sharing their Parler accounts on the platform, encouraging their followers to gravitate there. Parler has become a mainstay in alt-right communication, advertising itself as a platform for unregulated language and “free speech.”
Days after the presidential election, Parler download counts surged, signaling that the platform was at the time seeing an influx of new users.
After Twitter banned Trump, Gab another far-right website that bills itself as a “free speech” platform, reported massive growth. About 10,000 new users signed up every hour on Saturday, according to Gab, signaling the gravitation from mainstream social media accounts to less-popular ones like Gab known for the circulation of alt-right speech.
Alt-right content is still available on mainstream social media accounts like Twitter. But after the Capitol riots, social media platforms have begun removing accounts they suspect will incite violence. Some users whose accounts have been removed have previously spread misinformation related to the 2020 election results and QAnon content.
These accounts, social media platforms said, violate their rules of engagement and pose a risk to the public.
Here are the people who’ve been banned since the Capitol riot attacks:
Trump has been suspended from accessing multiple social media platforms almost immediately after the Capitol riots.
He was permanently suspended from Twitter on Friday “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the company said in a tweet.
Facebook blocked Trump “indefinitely” a day earlier, saying the ban will last at least until President-elect Joe Biden gets sworn into office on January 20.
That same day, Twitter banned the account of Ron Watkins, a crucial QAnon figure who ran the alt-right platform 8kun.
Watkins’ misinformation posts have frequently often been amplified by Trump himself. When his account was active, Trump retweeted posts from Watkins.
Other QAnon accounts were also suspended on Friday, and Twitter has been taking steps to reduce the influence and misinformation that comes out of the group. The same day, for example, Twitter removed thousands of QAnon-affiliated accounts.
Still, there are several other QAnon accounts that continue to thrive on the platform.
President Donald Trump did not order flags to be flown at half-mast over the White House and federal government buildings in honor of Brian D. Sicknick, the Capitol Police officer killed in riots by Trump supporters.
The president has also not contacted Sicknick’s family to offer his condolences, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence told The New York Times.
Sicknick was struck over the head with a rioter’s fire extinguisher after Trump incited supporters to attack the Capitol Wednesday.
President Donald Trump has not ordered flags to be flown at half-mast over federal government buildings in honor of Brian D. Sicknick, the police officer killed in the storming of the Capitol on Wednesday.
An aide to Vice President Mike Pence told The New York Times that while Pence has contacted Sicknick’s family to offer his condolences, Trump has not contacted them.
Flags over the US Capitol were flown at half-mast in honor of Sicknick Saturday, while the White House did not lower its flag.
Before the riot, Trump addressed the protesters, who had gathered to support his baseless allegations that the election had been stolen from him as a result of mass fraud.
The president told them they would have to “fight much harder” and urged them to march on the Capitol, where lawmakers were certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
In the Capitol’s resulting violence, a Trump supporter, Ashli Babbit, was fatally shot by a police officer and three people died in medical emergencies.
On Thursday, police and law enforcement officers from several agencies lined the streets of Washington DC to pay tribute to Sicknick, only the fourth Capitol Police officer in its history to die in the course of duty. Lawmakers, including Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, have paid tribute to Sicknick.
Many of the protesters on Wednesday directed their fury at Pence, who had refused to comply with Trump’s demands and find a way to block the certification of Biden’s win.
Lehigh faculty members have for years urged the university to rescind Trump’s degree, which he received upon speaking at its 1988 commencement ceremony. In 2018, nearly 300 Lehigh faculty members urged the board of trustees to rescind the degree. They argued that Trump’s statements and actions as president did not fall in line with the values of the school, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The trustees did not budge.
The Wagner board of trustees also voted Friday to rescind an honorary degree he had received from the institution in 2004, according to a statement posted online.
The riot, which began after Trump encouraged his supporters to protest the results of the election, has been characterized as an attempted coup. Rioters stormed the Capitol building as lawmakers were meeting inside to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The riot spurred calls to once again impeach Trump, this time on a charge for “incitement of an insurrection.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell circulated a memo to Republicans saying Trump cannot logistically be removed from office before Inauguration Day.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.