Now that the lawyer has gotten the “QAnon shaman’s” organic diet taken care of, he’s looking for the president who caused the insurrection on the Capitol last week to pardon his client.
In an interview with CNN, Albert Watkins said his client, Jacob Chansley, “felt like he was answering the call of our president” when he stormed the Capitol building wearing no shirt, carrying a spear and wearing bullhorns as a hat, with his face painted red, white and blue.
On Tuesday, Chansley became one of the first three people indicted by federal prosecutors in connection with the violence at the Capitol. He was charged with a felony violation of the Federal Anti-Riot Act, as well as obstruction of Congress and other offenses.
In a filing on Thursday, prosecutors said Chansley was as “an active participant in” and “the most prominent symbol of” what they described as a “violent insurrection.” Prosecutors also said Chansley had expressed his intention of returning to Washington, D.C., for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.
The language in the filing suggests more severe charges, such as sedition or insurrection, could be coming for those involved in the siege.
Watkins claimed that his client was following lockstep with the president’s commands.
“He felt like his voice was, for the first time, being heard,” Watkins said, Politico reports. “And what ended up happening, over the course of the lead-up to the election, over the course of the period from the election to Jan. 6—it was a driving force by a man he hung his hat on, he hitched his wagon to. He loved Trump. Every word, he listens to him.”
Before the mayonnaise marauders stormed the Capitol, Trump held a terrorism pep rally in which he and his family and political allies, including the unhinged Rudy Giuliani, riled up his followers. Trump urged the seasonless secessionists to march on the Capitol as Congress was attempting to certify Biden’s Electoral College victory.
“If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Trump said. He also said that “you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
Seems clear to me. Also seemed clear to Watkins’ client.
“We all have to understand that the words that were spoken by the president meant something, not just to my client. They meant something to a lot of people,” Watkins said in his interview.
“They listened to those words. And those words meant something to them. And they had a right to rely on the words of their president that was strewed forth worldwide,” he said. “And they did. And now they’re turning around [and] they’re getting arrested, as well many should be.”
But, Watkins added that Trump needs to claim the people who did his dirty work. He “needs to stand up and own these people,” Watkins argued. “He has an obligation to them. He has an obligation to our nation. It’s not going to happen.”
And if Watkins’ request wasn’t clear, he noted that the president needs to give them “a pardon.”
As Chansley’s attorney, “my role is not to judge somebody. My role is to be an advocate,” Watkins said. “If there’s one iota of a chance that the guy who’s the president of our country — who invited everybody down Pennsylvania [Avenue] — will give my client a pardon, you know what? I’m going to do it,” Politico notes.
Even Watkins noted that the pardon might be a longshot.
“Am I holding my breath thinking that Donald Trump is going to be sitting around going, ‘You know what? … What’s the name of that guy with the horns? Yeah … let’s give him a pardon.’”
Watkins even went so far as to “compare the president’s supporters who stormed the Capitol to the Jonestown cult members who died in a mass suicide at their settlement in Guyana in 1978: ‘You know the only thing different here? There’s no Kool-Aid.’”
All of this is interesting considering Republican lawmakers have argued that the president’s words didn’t incite the violence that unfolded, and here is a lawyer for one of the most recognizable terrorists saying that’s exactly what happened while simultaneously begging for a pardon.