Here's how a ruling in the Proud Boys trial could pull Trump into a seditious conspiracy case
Donald Trump / AFP PHOTO / Paul J. Richards

A judge allowed prosecutors to use Donald Trump's infamous comments about the Proud Boys to be used at their seditious conspiracy trial, and a legal expert explained how that might come back to haunt the former president.

The ex-president was asked during a 2020 debate to condemn the right-wing militant group, but instead, he urged them to "stand back and stand by," which District Court Judge Timothy Kelly found could be "an additional motive" for the Proud Boys to engage in a conspiracy to keep him in power -- and MSNBC legal analyst Barbara McQuade said that could be used as evidence against Trump himself.

"That was a signal for them that began some of their recruiting but was a unifying cause, that was part of their conspiracy, and what prosecutors have to prove is an agreement to do this attack," McQuade told "Morning Joe." "That was something that ignited the recruiting, the communication, the travel to Washington and what they did, so very significant in that case."

"Whether it can be used against Donald Trump, as awful as it is, it reminds me a lot of the statement he made when he said, 'Russia, if you're listening, we're looking for Hillary Clinton's e-mails,'" McQuade added. "You have to show an agreement to tie someone to a conspiracy. Making a random comment, even if it was igniting for a particular group, is not enough for a conspiracy standing alone. If there's evidence that others, Roger Stone and Mike Flynn, some of these people who have been seen with some of these seditious conspirators on Jan. 6 and before, if you can tie them to part of the agreement to attack the Capitol, then that is a possible way to draw Trump and as allies into the seditious conspiracy."

The House select committee referred Trump to the Department of Justice for prosecution on four charges -- inciting an insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiring to defraud the US government and making false statements -- and McQuade said the judge's ruling could impact those potential cases.

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"I think the other crime that the committee recommended was inciting insurrection, providing the inspiration, lighting the match that caused people to attack," McQuade said. "Because the Supreme Court provides so much protection for political speech, I don't know if that gets you there. But I'll tell you the part that does possibly get you there that I thought was a brilliant move by the committee, which is to include in the recommending charge, assisting insurrection with the 2:24 [p.m.] tweet that occurred after the attack started, saying Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what was necessary and the United States demands the truth. That one put fuel on the fire, and I think could be a basis for assisting an insurrection against Donald Trump."

Watch McQuade's comments in the video below or at this link.

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