1st Sedition Charges for January 6, 2021 Insurrection
January 13, 2022 9:24 PM   Subscribe

Takeaways from the landmark sedition indictment against the Oath Keepers and why DOJ acted now, Marshall Cohen, CNN, Updated 10:39 PM EST, Thu January 13, 2022. The Justice Department on Thursday announced the first sedition charges related to the January 6 insurrection, a watershed moment in the year-long investigation. The case revolves around the Oath Keepers, a far-right extremist group, and its leader Stewart Rhodes.
posted by cenoxo (66 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is it sad that I'm astonished that I'm only now seeing the word "sedition" in non-opinion reporting? Is it sad that I'm not surprised that only 2 people in the filing were charged with that?
posted by erst at 9:35 PM on January 13 [8 favorites]


Somewhere I read that the ‘serious’ prosecutions would take longer to get to because the cases are more complicated, require more facts/ supporting evidence etc. with this filing it appears we are approaching that phase.
Good
posted by From Bklyn at 9:44 PM on January 13 [17 favorites]


Marcie Wheeler's assessment goes into additional context on the Jan 6 investigation, as Marcie Wheeler does.

She notes that the "conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duty (18 USC 372)" charge applies as well to "what Donald Trump did to Mike Pence."
posted by away for regrooving at 10:22 PM on January 13 [21 favorites]


Reading the filing now. It looks like 11 people were charged with seditious conspiracy.
posted by lemonshush at 10:25 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]


Stewart Rhodes wears that eye patch because he dropped a loaded gun and shot himself in the face, blinding him in his left eye.
posted by AlSweigart at 10:32 PM on January 13 [53 favorites]


Direct link to the Justice Dept. filing (per away for regrooving’s Marcie Wheeler link above).
posted by cenoxo at 10:38 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


18 USC 2384: Seditious conspiracy:
If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
posted by cenoxo at 10:57 PM on January 13 [7 favorites]


an avid reader of emptywheel's coverage i feel on the one hand all "about time!" and on the other hand "probably about the right time" about this all at once.
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:59 PM on January 13 [5 favorites]


I'm astonished that I'm only now seeing the word "sedition" in non-opinion reporting?

The mainstream media has been making a lot of money from reporting this as a both-sides issue or one that somehow yields to opinion polls, as opposed to being based on factual testimony from representatives and officers who were there that day, as much as video footage captured and seen by all of us.

They are playing with fire, insofar as the fascists behind the insurrection (including its ringleader) will have no use for most of the current media operations, if they manage to take over the country in 2022 or 2024.

Moonves and company may be having another banner year at the expense of humanity, but they may one day have to pay the piper, if Trump or his friends get put back in charge and the purges crank up.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:18 PM on January 13 [12 favorites]


The Oath Keepers, 3%ers and the rest are going to turn this into a recruiting bonanza, pointing to the charges as tyranny and violations of rights.

Good.

The next step (which I have absolutely no faith in our government managing to do, or, really, even trying very hard at all) is to track them like the seditious hate groups that they are, track new members, build case files, and end with charging the lot of them. Any current member that fails to renounce membership is telling the world they want to belong in a group involved in a coup attempt. Any new member is almost certainly joining because they're excited at the idea of round 2.

The government needs to be ready for that. The details coming out, that guns were stashed nearby, with transportation plans to bring them in case they managed to take and hold the capitol? Anyone involved in that planning sought to subvert democracy. The goal is to prevent round 2, and if there isn't a concerted effort by the government, the justice department, and anyone and everyone that could be making a difference, there fucking needs to be.

They've never hidden who they are. Take them and their absurdist paramilitary cosplay at face value, accept that they mean their little oaths in which they announce that they are enemies of democracy, and take action.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:16 AM on January 14 [32 favorites]


If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

To my non-lawyer eyes this seems very broad, so why is sedition so difficult to prove?
posted by JHarris at 12:23 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


...and if there isn't a concerted effort... my impression (from listening to the 'Lawfare' podcast and reading around) is that there is, it's just not public: (mind you, I also thought the Mueller report was going to yield something specific and actionable against the former Pres (though it still might (as in the second half of the report and come on, like Barr was going to let any further investigations arise... it's depressing how profoundly cynical he was/is - he had one goal, enable the former Pres in any way he legally could (even stretching the law as much as possible), regardless of how it affected the standing of the Justice Department in the future. As despicable a figure as Kissinger)))

Take them and their absurdist paramilitary cosplay at face value, accept that they mean their little oaths in which they announce that they are enemies of democracy, and take action.
This is very important - as we have tried to teach our kids, words have an impact on the world around you. You yell 'Fire' in a crowded theatre (where there is no fire), you are responsible for the aftermath.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:40 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]


I'm guessing what happens is that President #47 will pardon them, and immediately deputise them into ICE or some similar stormtrooper outfit.
posted by acb at 2:16 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


To my non-lawyer eyes this seems very broad, so why is sedition so difficult to prove?

It's the word "conspire." You have to prove conspiracy. Planning. Organization beyond merely "Hey! Let's all go to DC and protest!". That requires a ton of deep digging.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:08 AM on January 14 [9 favorites]


She notes that the "conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duty (18 USC 372)" charge applies as well to "what Donald Trump did to Mike Pence."


We'll just throw it on the Surely This pile then?
posted by Fleebnork at 4:38 AM on January 14 [14 favorites]


You have to prove conspiracy. Planning. Organization beyond merely "Hey! Let's all go to DC and protest!". That requires a ton of deep digging.

Like RICO, I'd think more than anything, it requires convincing conspirators to talk, and that means somebody's gotta face the very real and likely specter of lengthy hard time.
posted by thecincinnatikid at 5:10 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


Stewart Rhodes wears that eye patch because he dropped a loaded gun and shot himself in the face, blinding him in his left eye.

Lol.
posted by atrazine at 5:20 AM on January 14


One of the things about which I'm worried (particularly as a leftist in the DC area) is that this will lead to broader authority granted to law enforcement to combat "domestic terrorism" which generally does not go super well for people on the left; even before this they pepper sprayed us and attacked us for protesting and I don't believe that additional law enforcement authority will be restricted, or even mainly target, the right wing, especially knowing what we know about white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement and the military. I'm not saying don't prosecute these guys I'm just saying, I am INCREDIBLY wary about the additional potential for repression of dissent from the left that I'm afraid will come from an increased focus on "domestic terrorism" or whatever, and I'd encourage people to keep a close eye on what additional authority the government claims, how they use it, and against whom.
posted by an octopus IRL at 5:32 AM on January 14 [22 favorites]


WaPo has a good rundown on Rhodes from earlier this month: Paramilitary commander or couch-surfing grifter?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:15 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


(insert "why not both?" meme here)
posted by Wretch729 at 6:55 AM on January 14 [11 favorites]


I’m glad I haven’t seen any “but we can’t possibly prosecute and jail all of them, there’s just too many! We have to come to some sort of political compromise solution.” hand wringing lately. (The correct response to that, of course, is: “(a) Are you completely unfamiliar with the US penal system?! and (b) Fascists are notoriously bad at compromise.”)
posted by eviemath at 7:07 AM on January 14 [6 favorites]


Hmmm. Fuck the oath keepers and the other Jan 6ers. But, sedition charges in the US have historically mostly been used as an instrument of state terror directed at peaceful activists. I guess that so long as it exists and is repeatedly used against the left for legally protected activities, we might as well use it here against these dangerous idiots. But, I'd much rather get rid of the concept entirely and invent better, more specific laws.
posted by eotvos at 8:09 AM on January 14


"Seditious Conspiracy" is the money charge. You get one of these guys on seditious conspiracy, basically EVERYONE who even TOUCHES any of the actions involved is also guilty of seditious conspiracy.

This will turn out to include not only officials in the Trump administration, but several sitting Members of Congress, and probably at least a few Fox News hosts.

And once you have seditious conspiracy, the Fourthteen Amendment, Section 3, comes into play:
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.
The DoJ gets a conviction on this, there are several sitting members of Congress who will face expulsion and a permanent bar to serving in federal or state office. A bunch of GOP state legislators across the nation who will be expelled from their statehouses. Possibly some GOP governors. And a whooooooole bunch of Trump officials and spawn and lackeys will be permanently barred from ever seeking elected office in the United States, or from serving in any state or federal government again.

Election lawyer twitter has been chattering on and off since the insurrection about the use of the Fourteenth Amendment expulsion/ineligibility against Jan. 6 actors, and the sort-of puzzling outcome that clear participants in an insurrection who are sitting in Congress are going to be allowed to run for Congress again. Eleven voters in North Carolina just filed an election challenge demanding North Carolina disqualify Madison Cawthorn from running for Congress because of his violation of the 14th Amendment, and there are plans to bring similar challenges (or lawsuits) in other states. But there's been a lot of "why the DoJ should/shouldn't act on this."

I've seen it described as a high risk/high reward strategy by the DoJ, which I think is probably true. I don't think that this DoJ (which has been pretty careful in its January 6 charges) would have charged these crimes if they didn't have a solid pile of evidence. I think whether it's possible to empanel a jury that will return a unanimous conviction is a much more open question. And I think the political will to carry forward the seditious conspiracy charges against conspirators in Congress, conspirators in state government, and conspirators in the former Trump administration is a different thing yet again.

But a bunch of government officials are pissing themselves today, and a bunch of law firms are frantically tasking associates to dig up every scrap of Fourteenth Amendment, Section 3 history, case law, and commentary then can find. Because if they get this guy on seditious conspiracy, a WHOLE bunch of government officials are in a WHOLE lot of trouble, the kind of trouble that comes not just with big honkin' federal prison time, but the kind of trouble that comes with a permanent ban from governmental or military service of any kind.

(Next I think we should revive section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment, and start taking away representatives from states that restrict voting rights.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:31 AM on January 14 [56 favorites]


(Next I think we should revive section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment, and start taking away representatives from states that restrict voting rights.)

Too bad we can't do the same for Senators...
posted by Gelatin at 8:44 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


"It's the word "conspire." You have to prove conspiracy. Planning. Organization beyond merely "Hey! Let's all go to DC and protest!". That requires a ton of deep digging."

This is generally true, but I would encourage people to read the indictment -- they barely need conspirators to talk because these idiots did all their planning and conspiring online ("is you takin' notes on a criminal fuckin conspiracy?" "Why yes, yes we are"). And yes, the feds already have four Oath Keepers who are cooperating with them, and who are not named in this indictment, presumably because they are earning lesser charges by turning over private encrypted messages. The Signal chats would seem to be from cooperating co-conspirators -- but honestly there's also a whole bunch of just flatly out-in-public "HEY LET'S OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT!" going on from these yahoos.

Also it deserves to be mentioned, repeatedly, that Rhodes graduated from Yale Law School (and was later disbarred). These are not random rural hicks, as some would like to believe. These are people who have passed through our most elite training grounds for the "meritocracy." They know exactly what they are doing. And we need to start demanding that Harvard and Yale and the rest of the elite law schools answer for why so many of their graduates are so eager to overthrow the US government. We need to ask state bars why they are admitting -- and later failing to disbar -- lawyers who clearly intend to undermine the Constitution or overthrow the government, and to abuse legal processes for political ends. And we need to ask ourselves as a society and as a legal profession what the fuck we are doing putting these schools in a place of privilege, as both paragons of legal scholarship and as the ultimate stamp of "meritocracy," when they turn out graduates like Stewart Rhodes and Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:09 AM on January 14 [45 favorites]


Direct link to the Justice Dept. filing

PDF file link.
posted by cenoxo at 9:17 AM on January 14


I believe in harvesting the low-hanging fruit and using them to build cases for prosecutions farther up the tree. However, having practical experience (to mix my metaphors a bit) when fecal matter is pitched at the fan, I understand what flows downhill and upon whom.

More pointedly, I'm discouraged by the idea that our DOJ's priorities depend on who wins the next election. It's guarding the guardians all the way down. My darkest fears come from victories of either the reactionary left or, worse, fascists on the right. Moderates of either flavor are grist for the mill.
posted by mule98J at 9:54 AM on January 14


The DoJ gets a conviction on this, there are several sitting members of Congress who will face expulsion and a permanent bar to serving in federal or state office. A bunch of GOP state legislators across the nation who will be expelled from their statehouses. Possibly some GOP governors. And a whooooooole bunch of Trump officials and spawn and lackeys will be permanently barred from ever seeking elected office in the United States, or from serving in any state or federal government again.

And this is why there will be no conviction, or there will be some workaround where it doesn't apply. There is no way - no way, people need to really internalize this - that our political class will consent to the expulsion of even the most repulsive GOP politician. They hang together partly for the class interest and partly because they understand very well that the other choice is hanging separately.

I will bet any individual mefite a delivery food item that there will be no convictions or that any convictions will impact no one except the grifter small businessmen directly involved.
posted by Frowner at 9:57 AM on January 14 [18 favorites]


But, sedition charges in the US have historically mostly been used as an instrument of state terror directed at peaceful activists.

I don't think I've ever been accused of sedition, but one time I was charged with felony conspiracy to commit a traffic infraction (bicycling where prohibited).
posted by ryanrs at 10:05 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


WaPo has a good rundown on Rhodes from earlier this month: Paramilitary commander or couch-surfing grifter?

Is there a way to get around this paywall????
posted by goalyeehah at 10:10 AM on January 14


goalyeehah
Try this:
https://tinyurl.com/2p9f6ywf
posted by pt68 at 10:36 AM on January 14


... or this
posted by Rash at 10:39 AM on January 14


Do we have evidence yet that Steve Bannon and the other organizers of the Jan 6 event actively coordinated with these domestic terrorists (as opposed to merely creating an opportunity for them to exploit)?
posted by Gerald Bostock at 11:11 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Paramilitary commander or couch-surfing grifter?

You shall know him by his receipts.

Did Rhodes spend the money on target steels and a mountain of ammo? Maybe a couple basic rifles and some optics and comms gear?

Or did he buy just one pricey rifle for himself, a nightforce scope, maybe some swaro glass? Prob picked up a thermal sight, too, those are pretty cool.
posted by ryanrs at 11:13 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


You have to prove conspiracy. Planning. Organization beyond merely "Hey! Let's all go to DC and protest!". That requires a ton of deep digging.
I thought I've read articles about conspiracy convictions in drug cases being easily used to add jail time for some unfortunates.
All they needed was proof two people talked about [x]. Maybe they just needed better lawyers?
posted by MtDewd at 11:50 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


Conspiracy in general requires only an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime and an overt act in furtherance of the agreement by at least one party to said conspiracy.

If the messages indicate an agreement to attempt to disrupt the certification or otherwise prevent officials from performing their duties, traveling to the DC area would qualify as an overt act. Stockpiling weapons in your DC-area hotel room would also qualify.

You can talk about all the bullshit you like, but once one participant actually does something (even if that act would otherwise be perfectly legal), you can get in hot water.
posted by wierdo at 2:02 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


MtDewd: "All they needed was proof two people talked about [x]. Maybe they just needed better lawyers?"

Yeah, I think conspiracy in a drug case means they only need proof that two people talked about selling drugs, whereas conspiracy in this case means they need proof that they talked about actually interfering with Congress, and not just attending a protest.
posted by team lowkey at 2:19 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


Elmer Stewart Rhodes’ lawyer did an interview on teevee and it did not go well.
posted by Sublimity at 2:57 PM on January 14


one time I was charged with felony conspiracy to commit a traffic infraction (bicycling where prohibited).

How does that work? Were you on a tandem bike?
posted by duoshao at 3:16 PM on January 14 [6 favorites]


The DoJ gets a conviction on this, there are several sitting members of Congress who will face expulsion and a permanent bar to serving in federal or state office

That's up to the SCOTUS to determine.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 3:52 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


A couple weeks ago there were stories about two "command centers" in the Willard Hotel on 1/5 and 1/6. There were also stories about "burner phones." It all sounded kind of vague.

What if Roger Stone, Ali Alexander, Don Jr., etc. were passing intelligence about soft targets and coordinating attacks on different areas of the Capitol? Certainly some people seemed to know which windows and doors to go for. Not to mention the battle in the tunnel. And the bombs placed outside the RNC and DNC (with VP inside). Boebert tweeting Pelosi's whereabouts. Some level of coordination seems evident.
posted by irisclara at 5:17 PM on January 14 [3 favorites]


I’d just like consequences matter again. There’s been entirely too much fucking around the last five or six years, not nearly enough finding out.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:58 PM on January 14 [14 favorites]


Oh, the fucking around has been going on a lot longer than that, but they got a lot bolder in recent years. Time was they'd mainly stick to "arguably not illegal," but now they don't even care about having plausible deniability.

It would be helpful if the fuckwits who purported to certify alternate slates of electors got charged with forgery. One set was smart enough to include some language about their game of let's pretend only applying if courts ultimately ruled their game legal, but several others didn't.
posted by wierdo at 1:13 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


A couple weeks ago there were stories about two "command centers" in the Willard Hotel on 1/5 and 1/6….

Trump called aides at command center hours before Capitol riot – Former president pressed lieutenants about ways to delay certification of election result, The Guardian, Nicola Slawson, 30 Nov 2021.
Select Committee to Investigate the Hotline between the White House and the Willard Command Center, jamess | Community, Daily Kos, December 27, 2021.
posted by cenoxo at 6:39 AM on January 15 [4 favorites]


See also emptywheel’s analysis and commentary in The First Seditious Conspiracy Charges Drop, January 13, 2022 and The Structure of the January 6 Assault: “I Will Settle With Seeing [Normies] Smash Some Pigs to Dust”, January 13, 2022.
posted by cenoxo at 8:13 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Additional information including court cases, documents, statistics, and reports about the January 6, 2021 attack is at the George Washington University > Program on Extremism > Research > Capitol Hill Siege:
In keeping with our tradition of providing primary source documents to the research community and the public at large, The Program on Extremism has launched a project to create a central database of court records related to the events of January 6, 2021. This page will be updated as additional individuals are charged with criminal activities and new records are introduced into the criminal justice system. You can view today's numbers, check out our interactive visualizations, browse the cases, read our related reports, and download our database below.
- - - - - - - - - - -
Today's Numbers

The number of federal cases against individuals involved in the Capitol Hill Siege stands at 720. According to our latest analysis of the cases:

• Average age: 39-years-old
• Individuals came from 46 states and the District of Columbia
• Cases have been brought against 629 men (87%) and 91 women (13%)
• The largest numbers came from Florida (78), Pennsylvania (63), and Texas (63)
• The majority (>77%) were charged in part using evidence from their personal social media accounts, others' accounts, or both
• At least 85 (12%) have military experience (77 Veterans, 2 National Guard, 4 Reserve, 1 Active Duty, 1 Attending Basic Training)
• 174 (22%) have pleaded guilty
posted by cenoxo at 3:13 PM on January 15 [6 favorites]


By the text of that sedition law it is an open-and-shut case that Trump is guilty. Basically impossible to argue otherwise. So we are in a very interesting situation where either Merrick Garland charges Trump with sedition, or Trump wins the 2024 election as opinion polling currently suggests.

Does anyone expect Merrick Garland to charge Trump with sedition? I believe that an act would run counter to the Democratic Party's institutional prerogative of being pathetic losers, and is therefore much less likely than a duly elected second Trump administration.
posted by moorooka at 12:11 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Funniest would be if Garland charges Trump, and the case is ongoing when Trump wins 2024, and then he is found guilty and sentenced while in office.

Not saying that would be the best possible outcome for America, but the tweets should be pretty great.
posted by ryanrs at 12:27 PM on January 16


Unlikely, since control of the Department of Justice will pass to Trump when he becomes President again. And he'll just pardon himself anyway. And the Supreme Court will rubber-stamp it. Looks like Trump has the Democrats checkmated: Sorkin's West Wing did not prepare them for a scenario where they would need to charge a seditious opposition candidate in order to save the country.
posted by moorooka at 12:43 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


Does anyone expect Merrick Garland to charge Trump with sedition?

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Delivers Remarks on the First Anniversary of the Attack on the Capitol, Washington, DC; Wednesday, January 5, 2022:
The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy. We will follow the facts wherever they lead.

Because January 6th was an unprecedented attack on the seat of our democracy, we understand that there is broad public interest in our investigation. We understand that there are questions about how long the investigation will take, and about what exactly we are doing.

Our answer is, and will continue to be, the same answer we would give with respect to any ongoing investigation: as long as it takes and whatever it takes for justice to be done — consistent with the facts and the law.

I understand that this may not be the answer some are looking for. But we will and we must speak through our work. Anything else jeopardizes the viability of our investigations and the civil liberties of our citizens.

Everyone in this room and on these screens is familiar with the way we conduct investigations, and particularly complex investigations.

We build investigations by laying a foundation. We resolve more straightforward cases first because they provide the evidentiary foundation for more complex cases.

Investigating the more overt crimes generates linkages to less overt ones. Overt actors and the evidence they provide can lead us to others who may also have been involved. And that evidence can serve as the foundation for further investigative leads and techniques.

In circumstances like those of January 6th, a full accounting does not suddenly materialize. To ensure that all those criminally responsible are held accountable, we must collect the evidence.

We follow the physical evidence. We follow the digital evidence. We follow the money.

But most important, we follow the facts — not an agenda or an assumption. The facts tell us where to go next….
Garland certainly sounds like he means it, and he has the means to carry it out. What Trump and his followers attempted (and fortunately failed to do) should not go unanswered or unpunished.
posted by cenoxo at 7:53 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


January 6 committee subpoenas Rudy Giuliani and ‘Kraken’ lawyer Sidney Powell – Mr Giuliani and Ms Powell are already facing the permanent loss of their law licences for their involvement in former president Donald Trump’s push to overturn the 2020 election, Andrew Feinberg, Independent, Jan 18, 2022.
Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle's phone records subpoenaed by January 6 committee, CNN, Jamie Gangel, Jeremy Herb, Elizabeth Stuart; January 18, 2022.
posted by cenoxo at 6:31 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Seditious Conspiracy: What to Make of the Latest Oath Keepers IndictmentLawFare > January 6 Project; Scott R. Anderson, Quinta Jurecic, Rohini Kurup, Natalie K. Orpett, Alan Z. Rozenshtein; January 14, 2022:
…Yesterday, Jan. 13, the Justice Department unsealed the indictment of Stewart Rhodes—the founder and leader of the right-wing Oath Keepers militia—and several of his deputies for playing central roles in orchestrating the assault on the U.S. Capitol.

In particular, the indictment sets out the most serious criminal charge yet used against any of the Capitol rioters: seditious conspiracy. Although the maximum penalty for seditious conspiracy, twenty years imprisonment, is less than that for many other federal crimes, seditious conspiracy remains an exceptionally serious, and rarely prosecuted, criminal offense because of its expressive effect. To label something sedition goes beyond normal criminality, suggesting that the conduct strikes at the heart of American democracy and falls within the same conceptual category as the most serious political crimes like rebellion, insurrection and treason. Thus, those wishing to see greater accountability for the events of Jan. 6 are likely to be heartened by this latest filing, as the Justice Department lays out a strong factual case that will bring serious legal penalties and hopefully a greater public recognition that the events of Jan. 6 were one of the most serious attacks on democracy in American history.

But the indictment also shows the limits of the criminal law in responding to Jan. 6….
Details in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 7:57 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


Prosecutors allege members of the Oath Keepers returned to the Capitol on January 7 to 'probe their defense line', Insider, Madison Hall, January 19, 2022:
  • US prosecutors allege members of the Oath Keepers returned to the Capitol on January 7, 2022.
  • A recent court filing from a US attorney alleges Edward Vallejo and others went to "probe their defense line."
  • Vallejo currently faces several charges in federal court, including "seditious conspiracy."
US Supreme Court denies Trump request to block January 6 committee from obtaining presidential records, Insider; Charles Davis , Kelsey Vlamis , Sonam Sheth; January 19, 2022:
  • The Supreme Court [*] declined to block the release of White House records [from the National Archives] to the January 6 committee.
  • It's a huge blow to former President Trump, who sought to block their release by citing executive privilege.
  • Lower courts also rejected Trump's bid, saying he cannot cite privilege to shield efforts to "subvert the Constitution itself."
*Direct link (PDF) to Supreme Court Order No. 21A272, January 19, 2022.
posted by cenoxo at 10:46 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


More about Stewart Rhodes and the Oath Keepers in The Atlantic, November 2020 issue: A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans - An Atlantic investigation reveals who they are and what they might do on Election Day by Mike Giglio.
posted by cenoxo at 12:13 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


Experts see 'red flags' at nonprofit raising big money for Capitol riot defendants, Tom Dreisbach, NPR, January 20, 2022. Experts in charity law said there were reasons to closely scrutinize the Patriot Freedom Project … the group reported that it had raised close to $900,000.
posted by cenoxo at 9:36 AM on January 20 [4 favorites]


"Experts see 'red flags' ..."

Jesus, its grifters all the way down
posted by From Bklyn at 6:06 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


What Does the Seditious Conspiracy Indictment Mean For the Oath Keepers? Lawfare > January 6 Project; Jon Lewis, Seamus Hughes; Friday, January 21, 2022:
The Oath Keepers, one of the premier anti-government movements in the United States that boasts a purported membership in the thousands, is facing an existential threat. The group is already under pressure from the arrests of dozens of its foot soldiers related to their efforts to breach the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The Department of Justice has now raised the stakes with the seditious conspiracy charges filed [PDF] on Jan. 12 against the Oath Keepers founder, Stewart Rhodes. Given that escalation, it’s worth taking a look at the history of Rhodes’s involvement in the Oath Keepers and what his prosecution might mean for the future of the organization and the broader anti-government movement….
Trump Loses Big on Executive Privilege, Lawfare, Elizabeth McElvein & Benjamin Wittes, Thursday, January 20, 2022:
…On its face, the Supreme Court’s order yesterday [PDF] appears to mitigate the consequences for Trump of a D.C. Circuit opinion that rejects a number of his key claims in resisting the committee. The D.C. Circuit opinion has been hanging around since early last month with little notice or discussion—probably because the Supreme Court was poised to jump in any time. But in fact, the Supreme Court action does not mitigate the matter for Trump.

Put simply, the former president, whether he knows it or not, is now in a dramatically weaker position than he was only recently with respect to the committee. The new legal landscape, for example, almost certainly means that two top Trump officials—former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadow and former top adviser Steve Bannon—can no longer argue that the privilege prevents them from cooperating with the committee. The same applies to other potential witnesses, and to the former president himself, should the committee seek his testimony. All, of course, may well continue to resist anyway—but if so, they proceed at much greater risk to themselves.

Herein a guide for the perplexed.
Details follow in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 3:17 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Read the never-issued Trump order that would have seized voting machines – The Jan. 6 select panel has obtained the draft order and a document titled "Remarks on National Healing.” Both are reported here in detail for the first time., Betsy Woodruff Swan, Politico, 01/21/2022 [brackets added for clarity]:
Among the records that Donald Trump’s lawyers tried to shield from Jan. 6 investigators are a draft executive order that would have directed the defense secretary to seize voting machines and a document titled “Remarks on National Healing.”

POLITICO has reviewed both documents. The text of the draft executive order is published here [direct link] for the first time.

The [subsequent] draft document labeled “Remarks on National Healing,” also now in the select panel’s possession, provides a first look at the [proposed] remarks Trump would deliver the next day (which stand in jarring contrast to other rhetoric Trump employed at the time and continues to use when discussing the insurrection).
“I would like to begin today by addressing the heinous attack that took place yesterday at the United States Capitol,” it opens. “Like all Americans, I was outraged and sickened by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem. I immediately deployed the National Guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders. America is, and must always be, a nation of law and order.”

“The Demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American Democracy,” the remarks state. “I am directing the Department of Justice to ensure all lawbreakers are prosecuted to the fullest extent” of the law.”

The document follows with a direct communication to the rioters: “We must send a message - not with mercy but with justice. To those who engaged in acts of violence and destruction, I want to be very clear: you do not represent me. You do not represent our movement. You do not represent our country. And if you broke the law, you belong in jail.”
The [proposed] remarks departed significantly from the way he described the rioters in other contexts. In a video released during the attack, Trump struck a tone of empathy with the mob. “We have to have peace,” Trump said then. “So go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens, you see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel.”…
More details in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 7:31 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


“I would like to begin today by addressing the heinous attack that took place yesterday at the United States Capitol,” it opens. “Like all Americans, I was outraged and sickened by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem. I immediately deployed the National Guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders. America is, and must always be, a nation of law and order.”

“The Demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American Democracy,” the remarks state. “I am directing the Department of Justice to ensure all lawbreakers are prosecuted to the fullest extent” of the law.”


Which ‘Demonstrators’ were these scripted draft ‘Remarks’ referring to? The alt-right Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and other Trump loyalists that actually invaded the Capitol on January 6, or the imaginary antifa groups/individuals that were supposed to be scapegoats for the attack?

Even for the Donald – for whom loyalty only flows one (his) way – it seems like fast footwork to blame (and arrest/prosecute) his own supporters starting January 7.
posted by cenoxo at 5:19 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


The White House Counsel and Trump’s Attack on the 2020 Election, Bob Bauer, Lawfare, December 23, 2020:
…now it appears that Trump feels that Pat Cipollone, his current White House counsel, is also failing it. Jonathan Swan reports that Trump is “fed up” with this White House counsel. The president has been meeting in the Oval Office with the likes of Sidney Powell and Michael Flynn, entertaining proposals for overturning the 2020 election that include the seizure of voting machines and the imposition of martial law. And Trump has apparently concluded that Cipollone is unacceptably faint of heart. Cipollone’s offense apparently lies in his strenuous objections to the various attacks on the 2020 presidential election that Powell and company are urging a willing president to consider.

And now, the president is behaving in a way that demands more public action from Cipollone. The president is acting like no other president before him—disregarding the duties of his office while actively undermining public confidence in the election and exploring various schemes to overturn it through blatantly unconstitutional means.

…the president has now denied [Twitter account suspended] that he discussed the potential for imposing martial law. But did Trump explore that possibility? We should not have to trust in his word for the answer.
The Donald has someone else to throw under the bus, but it’s getting pretty crowded under there.
posted by cenoxo at 6:13 AM on January 22


Which ‘Demonstrators’ were these scripted draft ‘Remarks’ referring to? The alt-right Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and other Trump loyalists that actually invaded the Capitol on January 6, or the imaginary antifa groups/individuals that were supposed to be scapegoats for the attack?

I'm sure the latter, but I also think the insurrectionists would wear "violent, lawless mayhem" as a badge of pride and a symbol of success. People who think violence is a legitimate way of dealing with personal problems, that the laws that make Biden the winner are illegitimate, and that mayhem is the fun part.
posted by rhizome at 4:22 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Thank you for the links, cenoxo! Your comments help me keep up with the many moving parts of this thing.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:56 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Pro-Trump Capitol rioters like the 'QAnon Shaman' looked ridiculous — by design. When we interpret the T-shirts and symbols, especially given the history of groups like the Ku Klux Klan, the Capitol insurrectionists look a lot more menacing., Elena Sheppard, NBC News THINK, Jan. 13, 2021:
They stormed the Capitol dressed like mayhem. Amidst the sea of MAGA hats and Trump flags, there were rioters in animal pelts and superhero costumes; they came dressed as Uncle Sam, Abraham Lincoln and Lady Liberty, and in tactical gear; one person wore Superman body armor, replete with muscles, and a plastic mask of President Donald Trump's head. There was no shortage of face paint. There were pioneers, tons of camouflage and iterations of the Punisher — the Marvel character who has been co-opted as a symbol of the far right.

Perhaps the most recognizable person of the day was conspiracy theorist Jake Angeli, also known as the "Q Shaman," who was shirtless to expose numerous tattoos, most notably one of a Valknut, an old Norse runic symbol that has been turned into a hate symbol by white supremacists. Angeli, who has been arrested, also wore red, white and blue face paint and a fur headdress with prominent horns. He carried a spear with an American flag attached near the blade.

To many, the costumes at the "Stop the Steal" riot seem ridiculous. "We spend $750 billion annually on 'defense' and the center of American government fell in two hours to the duck dynasty and the guy in the Chewbacca bikini," read a tweet liked hundreds of thousands of times. But when we actually read the T-shirt slogans and interpret the symbols — especially given the history of groups like the Ku Klux Klan — what the Capitol insurrectionists wore becomes more consequential and a lot more menacing...
Perhaps patriotic cosplay (the Boston Tea Party) was part of the plan. More observations and links follow in the NBC News article, including this reminder:
Members of the far-right Proud Boys — whom Trump famously told to "stand back, and stand by" during his 2020 campaign — were at the Capitol in large numbers, and they were characteristically organized. The group, which usually dresses in yellow and black — often in the form of a Fred Perry polo shirt — told members to dress all in black this time, as if they were part of the anti-fascist movement known as antifa. "We will not be attending D.C. in colors. We will be blending in as one of you. You won't see us. You'll even think we are you," Joe Briggs, an organizer for the group, said in a video on Parler. "We are going to smell like you, move like you, look like you."

After the riots, some conservatives tried to claim that the violence was perpetuated mainly by antifa agitators.
Mayhem and misdirection are partners in conspiracy.
posted by cenoxo at 8:11 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


You’re welcome, MonkeyToes. Commenting here helps me understand this rolling three dimensional maze.
posted by cenoxo at 8:43 AM on January 23


I was off-grid for a month camping in the desert, and just got back a week ago.

It feels like the Jan 6 investigations, at least the publicly visible parts, are really blowing up this past week, I guess since around the time Trump's executive privilege claims were slapped down. Is this the case, or are my perceptions skewed from being disconnected through the holidays?
posted by ryanrs at 2:13 PM on January 23


How could he be doing something wrong — he looks so emboldened and silly?
(from the article cenoxo linked above)

Yeah, in a nutshell. Put another way, "we're just messing around. Sorry your house went up in flames."
posted by From Bklyn at 2:16 PM on January 23


« Older U.S. Supremes: COVID19 Day-to-Day Danger "No...   |   Let them eat free fake Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.