- Fiona Hill, a former national security official appointed by President Donald Trump, said he was 'trying to stage a coup' after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington, DC, on Wednesday.
- "This could have turned into a full-blown coup had he had any of those key institutions following him," Fiona Hill told the Daily Beast.
- Hours before a violent mob of protestors broke into the building, President Trump had told them at a rally to 'fight much harder' and 'take our country back.'
Hill said a public intervention from all 10 living former defence secretaries this week had prevented armed forces from becoming involved in the coup attempt.
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President Donald Trump was deliberately "trying to stage a coup" by inciting a mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol, which only failed because the military did not join in, a former national security official to the president has said.
A mob of Trump's supporters violently stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday, just hours after the president urged them to "fight much harder" to overturn the election.
Supporters broke police lines and entered the building through broken doors and windows before ransacking the offices of lawmakers and entering the House and Senate chambers.
Hill said a public intervention from all 10 living former defence secretaries this week had prevented armed forces from becoming involved in the coup attempt, so Trump had opted instead to incite his supporters.
"This could have turned into a full-blown coup had he had any of those key [military and security] institutions following him," Fiona Hill, who served as a US national security adviser on Russia between 2017 and 2019, told the Daily Beast.
She added: "Just because it failed or didn't succeed doesn't mean it wasn't real."
Alarm had grown in defense circles that the president would attempt to involve the military after his former national security adviser Michael Flynn floated the idea of bringing in troops to "rerun" the election as the president continued to baselessly insist he had won the election.
"They prevented the military from being involved in any coup attempt. But instead, Trump tried to incite it himself," Hill said. "Just because it failed or didn't succeed doesn't mean it wasn't real."
Multiple officials including Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger have also accused Trump of trying to launch a coup. Three European security officials this week also characterised Trump's actions as a coup attempt in conversations with Insider.
Two Cabinet secretaries, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and transportation secretary Elaine Chao resigned over the riot, along with multiple White House officials.
"There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me," said DeVos in a resignation letter to the president.
A federal prosecutor on Thursday said that President Trump was being investigated for possible incitement over the siege at the Capitol.
Michael Sherwin, the acting US attorney in Washington, DC, told reporters that prosecutors will examine the statements Trump made at the rally at which he urged his supporters to "fight like hell" to stop Congress from certifying Biden's victory.
"Yes, we are looking at all actors here, not only the people that went into the building, but … were there others that maybe assisted or facilitated or played some ancillary role in this," Sherwin said.
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