Trump’s relationship with far-right groups under scrutiny during ‘insurrection’ trial in Colorado

Oct 30, 2023, 9:09 PM | Updated: Oct 31, 2023, 12:44 pm

DENVER (AP) — Lawyers sparred Tuesday over former President Donald Trump’s relationship with the mob that attacked the Capitol, an important point in a Colorado lawsuit seeking to bar him from the 2024 ballot under the rarely used “insurrection” clause of the Constitution.

Still to come: arguments over whether the events of Jan. 6, 2021, amounted to an insurrection under a provision put in the Constitution in 1868 to prevent former confederates from taking over the government.

The plaintiffs presented testimony from an extremism expert who maintained that Trump had a clear relationship with far-right extremists and that they interpreted his pleas to protest the certification of President Joe Biden’s win as a call to arms.

“A consistent theme is individuals reporting that they thought that Donald Trump had sent them there,” said sociology professor Peter Simi of Chapman University, a private college in Southern California.

Trump’s lawyers say his comments protesting the election results were merely a matter of him stating his opinion, which he had every right to do.

The hearing in Colorado is one of two this week — with the second before the Minnesota Supreme Court on Thursday — that could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court. The nation’s highest court has never before ruled on the Civil War-era provision in the 14th Amendment.

Late Tuesday, a law professor was expected to testify about Section Three of the 14th Amendment, which has been used only a handful of times since it was adopted a century and a half ago. The testimony will get to the heart of the thorny legal issues the case raises — what constitutes an “insurrection” and how can the extreme political penalty of being barred from office be applied?

The plaintiff’s lawyers contend the provision is straightforward and that Trump is clearly disqualified from the presidency, just as if he were under the Constitution’s minimum age for the office of 35.

Trump’s lawyers argue that there remain a host of questions. Those include whether the amendment’s authors even meant for the provision to apply to the presidency, which is not mentioned in it — although “presidential and vice presidential electors” are, along with senators and members of the House of Representatives. They also question whether it applies only to those who take up arms or extends to others who simply exercised their free speech rights to support unpopular causes.

Scott Gessler, Trump’s lead Colorado attorney and a former Republican secretary of state there, dismissed the lawsuit as “anti-democratic” and noted that one other presidential candidate — socialist labor organizer Eugene Debs — even ran for the office from prison without people trying to use Section Three to disqualify him.

“If they don’t like President Trump, they need to get involved in an election,” Gessler said after the first day of testimony on Monday. “But what they’re trying to do is short-circuit an election.”

The Colorado testimony began with a description of the Jan. 6 assault, which was intended to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s election win.

Lawyers representing six Republican and unaffiliated Colorado voters argue that Trump’s violent rhetoric preceding the attack makes him culpable, and that he should be barred from the presidency again under the clause prohibiting anyone who swore an oath to the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” against it.

Trump’s legal team and presidential campaign assailed the 14th Amendment challenges as little more than an attempt by Democrats to derail his attempt to reclaim his old job. Trump is so far dominating the Republican presidential primary, and the lawsuits to block him were organized by two separate liberal groups.

United States News

Boeing is now aiming for its first astronaut launch at the beginning of June. Officials for the com...

Associated Press

Boeing’s 1st astronaut flight now set for June after a review of small leak on new capsule

Boeing is now aiming for its first astronaut launch in early June, after spending weeks struggling with more problems on the space capsule.

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Lawsuit filed in the death of dancer with a peanut allergy who died after eating mislabeled cookie

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — The estate of a young dancer who died after eating a mislabeled cookie containing peanuts has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming the failure to properly label the package was grossly negligent. Órla Ruth Baxendale, 25, died Jan. 11 after eating a Florentine cookie sold by grocery retailer Stew Leonard’s and […]

7 hours ago

Colorado River settlement center of new Navajo Nation push...

Associated Press

Tribes say their future is at stake as they push for Congress to consider Colorado River settlement

Navajo officials are celebrating the signing of legislation outlining a proposed Colorado River settlement that would ensure water rights.

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Lara Trump touts RNC changes and a 2024 presidential victory for Trump in North Carolina

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — To a room full of Republicans from across North Carolina on Friday, former President Donald Trump railed against the Biden administration and vowed to win in the state for a third time — all over a speaker phone call after his son Eric Trump dialed him on stage. “I just want […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Nevada voter ID initiative can appear on 2024 ballot with enough signatures, state high court says

ELKO, Nev. (AP) — An initiative that would amend the Nevada Constitution to require that voters show photo identification at the polls can appear on the 2024 ballot as long as organizers collect enough signatures, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday. Organizers must gather just over 100,000 valid signatures by June 26 for it to […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Florida priest accused of biting woman who grabbed Holy Communion wafers during Mass

ST. CLOUD, Fla. (AP) — The Diocese of Orlando is defending a Catholic priest accused of biting a woman who tried to grab Holy Communion wafers during Mass at a central Florida church. The confrontation occurred Sunday afternoon at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in St. Cloud. Police have forwarded a report to prosecutors accusing […]

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Trump’s relationship with far-right groups under scrutiny during ‘insurrection’ trial in Colorado