Should Trump Be Charged With Treason? Paul Jay on Talk World Radio

Paul Jay joins host David Swanson to discuss the events of Jan. 6th and what the Financial Times called a coup in progress – on Jan. 4th. Why are so few talking about this now?

David Swanson

Welcome to Talk World Radio. A half hour discussion of politics as if the people mattered. I’m David Swanson. This week on Talk Nation Radio, why hasn’t Trump been prosecuted in court yet? Our guest, Paul Jay, is a journalist and filmmaker. He’s the founder and publisher of website. He is past chair of the Documentary Organization of Canada and was the founding chair of the HotDocs Canadian International Documentary Festival. Paul Jay was the co-executive producer of Face Off and Counterspin nightly primetime debate programs that ran for 10 years on CBC News World.

Jay was the founder of the Real News Network. Paul Jay is currently working on a documentary series with Daniel Ellsberg based on his terrific book, Doomsday Machine. Paul. Jay, welcome to Talk Nation Radio. Thanks very much, Dana.

Very glad to finally have you on here. You had me on your various programs many, many times for which I was grateful, and there are some terrific articles you’ve written at What is your view? Should Donald Trump be prosecuted in court? And if so, how? And for what?

Paul Jay

Well, there are so many things. Where do you begin?

The angle I’m taking because other people have picked up other reasons he should be prosecuted is that I think he attempted I think there’s evidence that he attempted a coup meaning he tried to get the acting secretary of defense to intervene with the military before the inauguration of Biden and actually do what Michael Flynn publicly called for in mid-December, declare martial law and call a new election. I think it was delusional, but it seems to be a real scheme, and the reason I’m saying so is because it was publicly attacked, denounced in The Washington Post, first of all, by 10, former secretaries of defense wrote a letter calling on the military not to intervene, and then Admiral Stavridis, I always screw up his name, I’m sorry, but he was the former supreme commander of NATO.

He wrote an article on January 4th, which is the same day the ten secretaries letter hit the post supporting the ten secretaries, and this former NATO commander also talks about the possibilities of the acting secretary of defense.The words he used is not having the “temperament to stand up to a willful president” and specifically says that this was all done in response to retired General Michael Flynn.

Paul Jay

And so this seems to have been a real scheme to try to involve the military, and it’s not just me that thinks this, the Financial Times think it was also on the 4th. All of this seems to hit on January 4th.

The Financial Times has an editorial where they say, as bizarre as it seems, there is a coup in progress, and so it’s not just me coming to this conclusion. That’s the editorial board of the Financial Times. So organizing a coup, attempting to organize a coup, associated with violence, and the violence obviously is the riot on January 6th, which I’m calling the final act of a failed coup.

The Democrats, the media, the press, everyone’s focused just on that one day, but they’re taking the day out of the context that the day was supposed to be, it seems, the trigger for a military intervention. Now, I think Trump was out of his mind, and I’m actually even surprised that these leading figures, secretaries of defense and also there was a couple of tweets from Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also telling the military to stay out of this. So this actually came a little closer than I think maybe we thought it was, and the thing that twigged that for me is the next week in Time magazine and I have in this report I have up on my site right now, that Google tried to censor,  we can get into that, but the same admiral had another article and he was talking about the growth of this far-right extremism in the military and how it has to be purged and cleansed from the military, and he had a very interesting statistic.

That active duty and retired military make up seven percent of the American population, but 14 percent of the people being targeted by the FBI for having been involved in the January 6th events on the Hill, there’s a lot more going on here than is being reported on.

And I’m kind of shocked that I seem to be the only one on to this story, which either makes me mad or I don’t know what it makes everybody else.

David Swanson

I had seen over 20 percent active or former military on January 6th on Capitol Hill was that wrong?

Paul Jay

I don’t know. I was just quoting the admiral. I have no idea, but I don’t think this is just about who was on the Hill. The investigation goes further afield, but your number might be right. I’m just quoting the admiral.

David Swanson

And of course, mass shooters are over 35 percent veterans of the U.S. military trained most of them in how to shoot people, but you can’t mention that in respectable media. Paul Jay, what about Mitch McConnell’s role? You’ve focused on him a little as well, right?

Paul Jay

Yeah. Let me just make one more point about Trump.

David Swanson


Paul Jay

I do think it’s a mistake to focus on Trump as if he’s some individual aberration while he should be charged, and the reason I’m pushing that, honestly, because it opens up a lot of shit that should help reveal some of the kind of what’s really going on in terms of the rise of a fascist movement. I’ve been calling Trump the buffoon tip of a serious fascist spear.

I think Trump was a very good vehicle for some very serious right far-right-wing forces that start off in the billionaire class in the elites, and then they arouse sections of the working class,  of the military, and then another very big component of this, which I also think is part of this manipulation by these far-right elites, and that’s the right-wing evangelical and Christian movements that are also extremely strong in the military.

I’ve done a few stories on this and I have an interview I did with former Ambassador Joe Wilson, who died just a couple of months after I interviewed him, and one of the segments we did was about the strength, really significant strength of this far-right religious movement and not just among the rank and file, but at the highest levels, and I think when these guys, like the ten former secretaries of defense and the admiral, they’re writing, I think they’re writing because there’s such a serious component of the far-right religious at the officer level that actually might have done something.

So anyway, we can get more into that, if you will. As far as McConnell goes. I’m sorry. Do you want to ask something about that first?

David Swanson

Well, I’m just curious why you think Congress doesn’t take this seriously and focuses, as you say, so much on what happened on Capitol Hill on the 6th, other than the fact that it was at Congress and they only care about themselves. I’ve heard people dismiss the very idea of the word coup in reference to any of this, but if you look at things that we routinely call a coup, like efforts to install Juan Guiado in Venezuela with Trump involved, they don’t look any more or less incompetent.

It’s not as if the failure of a coup or the incompetence or the foolishness of the participants makes it less of a coup. If it did the Bay of Pigs wouldn’t be a coup attempt either, right?

Paul Jay

Yeah, right. I think if you look at the events of January 6th in isolation. Then I wouldn’t have called that a coup either, and actually my first response on January 6th was. Even calling this an insurrection, it seems kind of exaggerated. It’s a riot.

They stormed the buildings. You don’t take over a government because you occupy some buildings. You could occupy the White House. You don’t take over the government as long as the state is still operating, but when you look at it in the context of what happened with these, what seems to be an attempt to involve the military as called out by the ten former secretaries, the admiral, Financial Times and so on.

Then it’s the last act of a failed coup, and then in that context, it’s very significant what happened on the 6th. Now, why isn’t Congress taking this up? Well, I think there’s. Probably several reasons, but I think one of the most significant things that happened on the 6th is that the doors of Congress get stormed around 2:00 in the afternoon.

At 3:34, I can be precise, because it was on their website, the Association of American Manufacturers issued a statement denouncing the violence and calling on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. Now, that’s 90 minutes after the doors get breached. How are they so ready to take such an action? Now, this is an organization that has been so pro-Trump for four years,and this is kind of the real point of my article, which is the banking class, the billionaire class, Wall Street, they got everything they wanted out of this Trump administration, all the tax cuts, all the deregulation, but then when he wouldn’t transfer power peacefully that threatened this investors’ nirvana and the instability and chaos that would have come from all that, now, they had enough of Trump and they want him gone, which is why McConnell takes the position he takes because he’s told by these elites enough is enough, because McConnell has been enabling Trump up until just a few days before the 6th.

Trump has a right to have his court cases, blah, blah, blah, but a few days before that, they say, the elites say, and it’s clear from the statement of the Association of American Manufacturers, which is almost the biggest corporate lobbyist on the Hill, except for maybe the Chamber of Commerce, they say to them, you better certify that Biden and we know later Wall Street said they’re not even going to finance campaigns of anyone that didn’t vote to certify.

So McConnell stands up and says he’s going to certify. Even Lindsey Graham says, Pence says he’s going to do what he’s supposed to do. Now, of course, Trump goes nuts, the crowd goes nuts. They’re going to go hang Pence with a noose, but the American Association of Manufacturers within 90 minutes has such a statement out, and that’s a dramatic thing to call for the 25th Amendment. You can’t just say, oh, let’s do this 90 minutes later, have your statement. So what I think McConnell did. Well, let me start with what I know as facts.

The Capitol Hill police report to a body which is made up of the sergeant of arms of the House, the sergeant of arms of the Senate, and a third person who’s appointed, I think, by the president, for some reason it’s the architect.

I mean, the third guy is meaningless. The two guys that matter, the sergeant of arms, but in the pecking order of the infrastructure of Capitol Hill, it’s the Senate that’s senior.

Like, for example, if you go get press credentials, which I have, you go to the Senate TV and radio gallery to get your press credentials, but that gives you the credentials for the entire Congress. Well, the same thing is true for Capitol Hill Police, and I confirm this with the radio and TV gallery.

The pecking order is the chief of police reports to this, to the sergeant of arms, but mostly to the Senate, and who does the Senate sergeant of arms report to? The Senate. Well, what does that mean? The majority of the Senate? And what does that mean? The majority leader and I’ve confirmed this with the radio and television gallery people.

So the Senate of Arms of the Senate reports to McConnell.

Now, there is no way that they have all this intelligence that these right-wing crazies are coming, white supremacists, and so on. They know that’s going to be violent. They know they’re going to storm the buildings. The acting chief of police who took over after the first guy had to resign after the 6th, she testifies to the House Appropriations Committee on January 26th that we knew everything that was going to happen. We knew ahead of time.

Well, how is it possible that the Senate sergeant of arms doesn’t go tell McConnell?

So I think what happens is McConnell tells them not to do much of anything. This Yogananda Pittman acting chief of police, says to the Senate Appropriations Committee, our former chief asked the sergeant of arms to get the National Guard in on January 5th, asks them to come on the 6th and help man the perimeter, and we were told no. Senate Sergeant of Arms, tells them no. Is it possible that he does that without McConnell?

And another reason why I think that’s not possible is Washington Post reports that on January 6th, around 3:00 in the afternoon, this is based on an interview The Post does with the former Chief of police, he asks again for the National Guard to be called in, he goes to the Senate sergeant of arms. He says, will you bring the guard in now? And quote, this is in The Washington Post. It’s in my article. He says I’ll have to ask my boss, McConnell. And the chief of police tells The Washington Post, I never heard from them again. OK, now I’m into speculation.

I think McConnell did it to screw up Trump. They said, OK, let them come storming the place. Trump’s going to wear it. And finally, we’re going to so discredit Trump will we’ll weaken his hold on the Republican Party, and what I call this a failed coup within a failed coup. Trump’s coup failed and so did McConnell because he didn’t break the grip of Trump on the party.

David Swanson

I mean, this is speculating and this wouldn’t prove anything, but I wonder, do we know where physically McConnell was as these people were smashing into the Capitol? Was he the first one to get out to safety? Are you speculating that he did this, thinking he was endangering his own safety or just those of his colleagues?

Paul Jay

I would say those of his colleagues. I think the leadership got out pretty quickly. Now, the other reason you ask me, why isn’t Congress making more out of this?

We’ll see. There is an issue of what did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it and what did she do about it? Did the sergeant of arms of the House fail to tell Pelosi that they weren’t calling in the guard even though the chief of police had asked them to?

It’s possible. There have been some reports that Pelosi and some people that work with Pelosi have claimed they were lied to by the sergeant of arms of the House, that they were told that there was enough security and it’s possible that’s true.

I still think they’re wary of where an investigation will lead of McConnell, and I have some evidence for that, which is when Raskin was going to call witnesses at the impeachment he says we’re calling witnesses and then Cruz, Senator Cruz says, well, if you call witnesses, we’re going to call witnesses, and our first witness is going to be Nancy Pelosi, and we’re going to ask her, what did she know and when did she know what she’s going to do about it? Cruz says this and then Raskin says, OK, we’re not calling any witnesses.

David Swanson

Well, I would never underestimate incompetence either by McConnell or Pelosi, certainly Pelosi or by the Capitol Police, I mean, as someone who’s been arrested by the Capitol Police numerous times for speaking up in committee hearings where I was not a witness, I can certainly confirm they answer to the chairman of the committee, but also that they don’t know what in the world they’re doing.

They’ve got 20 year old computers and don’t know how to type and use one finger and can’t spell, just the level of incompetence, the inability even to effectively arrest somebody. I don’t want to underestimate malevolence, but I never want to underestimate incompetence either.

Paul Jay

They certainly don’t rule each other out, but unless she’s outright lying, she told the House Appropriations Committee that they asked the sergeant of arms for the National Guard on January 5th and were turned down. So that’s not incompetence, and you got to ask, why the hell are they turned down?

Now, the only argument being given is that they didn’t want the optics of the military standing there with protesters on the other side.

Now, of course, they’ve never minded that when it’s the left or Black Lives Matter or whatever, but anyway, let’s say they were really worried about the optics.

Then what you do and this gets done all the time is you get your National Guard or your extra police and you put them in the tunnels of Congress because there are miles of tunnels and you keep them there, and when you need them, you bring them out. You don’t have to have the optics unless you really do need them, and it’s not an unusual thing to do, and they don’t even do that. Well, they don’t worry about any optics when it’s a bunch of peace demonstrators holding posters instead of bats and sticks.

David Swanson

I mean, I don’t find that credible at all.

Paul Jay

I don’t either.

David Swanson

What do you think might bring out some useful information, do you think a government commission being set up along the lines of the 9/11 Commission or the NAACP taking Trump to court or any of these? Is there any prospect of more information coming out or anyone being held accountable for anything?

Paul Jay

Well, they’re talking about this 9/11 Commission. Mind you, the 9/11 Commission was pretty terrible. I mean, maybe the process is OK, but the conclusions they came to were terrible.

I’m more with Bob Graham’s investigation, Senator Bob Graham, the joint congressional committee, whose conclusion was that the Saudi government was involved and that Cheney and Bush knew something was coming and didn’t stop it. I mean, that’s the actual conclusions of this joint congressional committee, and nobody talks about that either, but at any rate, I hope there are these hearings because when sections of the elites fight each other, that’s sometimes when some truth comes out.

Otherwise, they manage this very well. And I’m kind of surprised at how well they’re managing this issue of the attempted coup prior to the 6th, because there’s very little discussion. I think I saw one article in Politico where a former national security person, Fiona [Ma] and I forget her last name. She wrote an article more, more or less saying what I’m saying, but hardly anywhere. Will there be any real accountability?

No, I don’t think there will be. I hope there’s some process something will come out of it, but the more important issue is why is there such a rising fascist movement and what can we do about it, because even if Trump went to jail, frankly, it would turn him into a martyr for this movement. Now, I’m all for Trump going to jail anyway, because I think there needs to be accountability, and part of that would be him going to jail for all the various things, but we have to have a far deeper analysis of why 74 million people vote for Trump, and I wouldn’t call that whole seventy-four million people part of a fascist movement, but there’s at least a third, maybe, maybe more. Now seventy-four million people did vote for someone who is essentially a fascist type of puppet. I don’t even like calling it populism, but

David Swanson

I’ll give you my theory why, just tell me if I’m a left-wing nut. These are seventy four million people living without basic universal health care, education, higher education, retirement security, parental leave, basic universal services that every wealthy nation seems to be better capable of than this one, where you got Democrats who want to means test survival checks. Everything is partial and divisive and bureaucratic, and they resent it, and when people are angry and you have a fascist buffoon, come along and tell them who to blame. They’re happy to blame whoever they’re told to blame.

Paul Jay

Yeah, I think absolutely. I mean, I agree with all of that, and I would like to particularly focus on the issue of education and schools. You go look at what’s being taught as history in the schools, and if you look at, for example, I lived in Brooklyn for a little while and Baltimore and in both places, my kids I have eight-year old twins.

If you looked at what they’re learning in history and compare it to rural Texas or rural Wyoming or rural anywhere, it’s like two different worlds. My kids went to school with African-American and Latinx kids. They learn something about the civil rights movement. It wasn’t a great history, but when I went to both teachers in both schools, I went and said, I don’t want my kids standing for the Pledge of Allegiance, and I started to explain why. In both schools, the teacher said, I’m with you, I am not going to make them stand up. I think it’s terrible they have to do that. I don’t think I would have gotten that reaction in schools in most of rural America. This obviously goes back right into slave society culture, but in modern history, the roots of education and how history is taught is in the Cold War, in McCarthyism, and then Reaganism.

 It is such a false consciousness of what America is, and it is all based on blaming the other, whether it’s immigrants or whether it’s whoever you want to blame, you can blame this abstraction called government and not talk about the way the elites actually control the government, and it’s all part of the construction of the military-industrial complex and the mythology that blamed the communists for everything and so on.

We can get into it more deeply, but if you want to blame anybody a lot of blame has to go on the Democratic Party and to the extent to which they have so given up on rural America. All their focus is on where they win votes, and that’s in the big cities and it’s not like they’re so great to the poor of the big cities, but at least they pay some attention to the concerns of big cities and they’ve let rural America descend economically, culturally, and then why is it any surprise that kids that are born into a culture which is anti-scientific has no sense of history, and it’s not I got to say, it’s not just rural America.

Even some places. I know a girl. She went to school and she was asked to write an essay about World War Two, and she completely mixed up the Soviet Union and the German SS and made them the same thing and got an A + on her test. I mean, teachers themselves barely know their history, so the real question is, we can blame the corporate Dems, but they’re looking after their interests and Wall Street interests.

What are we going to do is the question, how are we going to try to help people who have been denied any sense, any real history, teaching of real history, and some sense of what’s really going on today? How do we get to rural America? How do we get to those sections of the working class who have been sold, that science is your enemy?

It may be something we need to work on in future shows. I hope you can come back on, but in the next minute and a half that we’ve got, I think people can tell you’ve got some great analysis happening at, and they’ll go check it out, but they won’t find you on YouTube or via Google.

Well, no. Yeah, we’re not. Well, the first story where I reported some of what I just said earlier. They took down and now I had clips of Trump calling the elections fake. So maybe their algorithm picked that up and they deleted it. They took the story right down. So I reposted the story without Trump, and they didn’t take it down, so it is still there, of course, it’s easier just to come to our site, but I tried to buy an ad to promote it and they banned me for life from Google advertising, because apparently whatever I did was so egregious that it violates their policy. It’s crazy. I thought it would be it must be another algorithm, but after I appeal, somebody human actually looked at it and confirmed the denial.

David Swanson

Without having to justify or explain themselves to you?

Paul Jay

They’re a private company, they can do as they please.

David Swanson

Paul Jay I wish we had more time. You can find Paul Jay at Where else can people go to keep track?

Paul Jay

That’s the place. Go to the website. That’s the best place. or .com, both of them work.

David Swanson


Paul Jay

And if people want to do anything, yeah, you could go to the YouTube channel and subscribe email, Google, make some noise, but I don’t think Google gives a shit.

David Swanson

All right. Well, we’ll leave Google out of it. Go to Paul Jay. Thank you very, very much for coming on Talk Nation radio.

Paul Jay

Thank you David.

David Swanson

This is Talk World Radio, I’m David Swanson. Take action at, help end war at Read or listen to today’s Peace Almanac entry at All past shows can be heard at Talk World Radio is produced in Charlottesville, Virginia, and syndicated by Pacifica Network.

There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.


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One Comment

  1. Your analysis of who is supporting the Republican party is incomplete, and therefore misleading. You totally ignored the role of Christian evangelicals as a key part of the Republican base, along with Catholic and Jewish fundamentalists. Leaving out these critical demographics leads to erroneous conclusions about who exactly is supporting Trump and the GOP. They are not all poor, rural white Americans at all. And the Hispanic voters who voted for Trump are white Hispanics, and do not consider themselves a minority.

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