The Phoenix Flyer

Asked about Trump’s culpability for U.S. Capitol riot, Gov. DeSantis dodges

By: - February 2, 2021 3:41 pm

Gov. Ron DeSantis changed the subject when asked on Feb. 2, 2021, whether Donald Trump shares blame for the Capitol riot or whether he believes Democrats stole the election. Source: Screenshot/Florida Channel

Gov. Ron DeSantis refused to say Tuesday whether he believes Donald Trump bears any responsibility for the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack or agrees with Trump that the election was stolen from him.

Asked about the matters during a press conference, DeSantis changed the subject to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“How many people tweeted in 2016, ’17, ’18, ’19, and ’20 that Russia stole the election for Trump? That happened every day, thousands of times a day. (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi said the election was taken from us by Russia,” he said.

“Did any of those people get deplatformed? I don’t remember even anyone calling for them to [be] deplatformed,” he said.

He asserted, falsely, that the allegations of Russian interference in the election had been debunked. “They did an exhaustive investigation, found squat,” he said.

“Those claims of collusion were amplified by Big Tech. They were amplified by social media for years. It was the dominant form of discourse in our country, and it was without a factual basis.”

At that point, DeSantis cut the news conference short.

In fact, special counsel Robert Mueller found “sweeping and systemic” Russian interference in the election, including information warfare that favored Trump and the hacking of Hillary Clinton’s emails and other material.

Additionally, Mueller found “numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign” and said the campaign “showed interest in WikiLeaks’s releases of documents and welcomed their potential to damage candidate Clinton.”

Moreover, Mueller found multiple instances of obstruction of justice by Trump but declined to file charges because of a Department of Justice guideline forbidding indictment of a sitting president.

Mueller’s report says that it specifically “does not exonerate” Trump.

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.

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