The horrific riots of January 6, 2021 shattered America’s tradition of peaceful transfers of presidential power.
Twenty-two months later, on Tuesday, a jury in Washington, D.C. delivered a monumental verdict against right-wing rioters, reinforcing violations of the country’s democracy.
But while courts and midterm voters have reaffirmed the rule of law, outrage over the meeting between former President Donald Trump and a white supremacist Holocaust denier highlights how vulnerable it is. Just like Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (the man who wants to be Speaker of the House) refused to outspokenly accuse Trump of breaking bread with extremists on Tuesday.
In landmark jury verdict, Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and his underling Kelly Meggs were a conspiracy to keep Trump in power after 2020 loss, Justice Department says Convicted of seditious conspiracy and other charges.
Convictions for rarely prosecuted crimes brought justice for constitutional violations, provided a deterrent to future coup instigators, and showed that the legal system could enforce accountability for attacks on democracy.
And they reinforced the narrative that the rebellion at the U.S. Capitol was not simply an outpouring of frenzied protests, but a preplanned attempt to overthrow the will of the government, the Constitution, and the voters. The verdict comes as Special Counsel Jack Smith investigates the former president, including on January 6. On that front, former Trump aide Stephen Miller testified to a grand jury on the matter, CNN reported.
Former FBI deputy director on message Oath Keepers jury verdict sends to domestic extremists
But the momentous day for democracy, represented by the beliefs of the Oathkeepers, also brought new signs that the forces of authoritarianism, extremism and electoralism were far from being defeated.
McCarthy, who is running for the very same House seat that was looted by Trump supporters last year, defended the former president from criticism a week ago at a dinner with white supremacist Nick Fuentes.
California Republicans said Fuentes has no place in the Republican Party. But his false allegations that Trump had four times accused far-right agitators were consistent with his willingness to appease the former president’s agitation in order to consolidate power for himself and his party. To become president next year, he will need the support of Mr. Trump and his far-right supporters in the House, and even if he gets the job, he will remain saddled with their debt.
Fuentes is a Holocaust denier and has ties to Republican Trump House supporters like Georgia Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene. An extreme lawmaker like her would have even more influence in the narrower House Republican majority, and, letting the events of the day come full circle, Fuentes said she was on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6. did. A few weeks later, at a Stop Theft rally, she spouted lies about the election.
Tuesday’s drama also played out amid new signs that voters rejected many election naysayers in the midterm elections, but the virus of election denialism has yet to be eradicated.Counties in Arizona and Pennsylvania refused to prove results from this month
Despite the fact that the US political system remained solid after the 2020 elections and was reinforced by the 2022 midterm elections, many pro-Trump election naysayers lost in battleground states. The deadliest division in politics is not between left and right, but democracy and authoritarianism. Almost every day in Washington can be seen as a tug-of-war between conflicting dynamics that resurface, sometimes crossing partisan lines, as the twice-impeached Trump tries to retake the presidency. I can do it.
After seven weeks of testimony, Rhodes and Meggs were convicted of seditious conspiracy and obstruction of official process. Her three other defendants were convicted on various other riot-related charges to substantiate her DOJ response to attacks on democracy.
Sedition conspiracy is an accusation that criminals conspired to overthrow, suppress, or destroy the United States government by force. Specifically, the jury verdict bolstered the idea that the Justice Department could indict and obtain a conviction on such a complex charge, and that the Trump world dismissed the Capitol riot. The fact that the jury acquitted some of the defendants on the most serious charges insulated the prosecution against allegations that it was a partisan trial before a politicized jury. do.
Taking a step back, this lawsuit is one of many precedents for alleged rioters and represents a concrete attempt to repair American democracy following the trauma of the 2020 election. I’m here.
“(Today) is a great day for the United States to ensure the rule of law, the peaceful transfer of power, and that it is protected,” CNN’s National Security Agency official Juliet Cayem said. and Terrorism Analysis Analyst: “I think doing the opposite would be very bad not only for the Department of Justice, but for sedition and violence. People would have thought they could have gotten away with it.” ”
Rep. Jamie Ruskin, a Maryland Democrat who is a member of the House Select Committee investigating the riots, said the final report is due next month, but the verdict is set against traumatic numbers after the 2020 election. He said it would cement a sense of what really happened during the week.
“The January 6th feature is finally making its way across the country,” Ruskin told CNN’s Brianna Keillor. “This was a chain of events intended to overthrow the presidential election and essentially overthrow the constitutional order.”
The conclusion of the Orthkeepers trial, along with other convictions against the mob on Jan. 6, reinforced lingering questions: Is accountability also up the chain and ultimately to those around Trump and the former president himself? Is there? Told.
A conviction in a related case could heighten the sense of legal exposure for those involved in the wider drama as well. Whether it is possible remains unknown.
But in a sign that Trump’s position is serious, Miller testified before a grand jury on Tuesday, becoming the first witness since Smith’s appointment, according to CNN’s Caitlin Polanz. It will be in a position to understand Trump’s state of mind before the mob invaded the Capitol. Investigating hoarding of classified documents at Lago Resort. But both indicate that the former president (who has once again become a front-runner for the White House) is very likely to be indicted. It’s a scenario that poses an even greater challenge to the justice system than it faced in the Capitol riots, especially since Trump, as a central board member of his campaign, claims he is a victim of partisan persecution. .
Much of McCarthy’s appearance in the West Wing on Tuesday fell within conventional politics following talks with President Joe Biden and other congressional leaders about the Democratic-controlled Congress’ current lame-duck session.
It coincided with Republicans taking control of the House earlier this month, but with a smaller majority than expected. He was belligerent, put the White House to office, showed members of the public that he was ready to wield Republican power, and set the tone for next year’s new divided Washington. By highlighting core Republican issues such as the Southern border issue and endorsing Twitter chief Elon Musk, it appears to be beefing up its speakership campaign with soundbites that are likely to resonate with conservative TV stations. It looked like McCarthy is on a real mission to hold Biden accountable, assuming he finally got the 218 votes needed to win the House Speaker’s gavel in January.
Still, his somewhat melodramatic tone could also have been designed to impress Trump if he had seen him on television. The former president chose to give permission to extremism if it were to open.
In his first on-camera response to Trump’s dinner with Fuentes, which rapper Kanye West also attended, McCarthy said: He has no place in this Republican Party. ”
McCarthy’s comments were a clear denial of Holocaust deniers. But he wasn’t done, blurring the lines about Trump’s actions and continuing to spread misinformation about what the former president said and did.
“I think President Trump came out four times and denounced him, but I didn’t know who he was,” McCarthy said. Statements by Republican leaders have been inaccurate, if not willfully misleading. He would claim to have known nothing of him or his views prior to his appearance in Arago. Considering Fuentes was a vocal supporter of the former president, that’s an unbelievable statement.
In an interview with Fox Digital on Wednesday, Trump said, “I didn’t know what his opinion was. At our very brief dinner, they weren’t represented at the table.” Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been accepted.” But again, he didn’t condemn Fuentes or his views, and he was veiled familiar to far-right groups in his electoral base. sent a signal.
On the one hand, McCarthy dancing on the head of the pin was a troubling sign for the man who could soon become the third highest-ranking official in the country. But since there’s nothing like hard-line Republicans like to see their leaders battling the Washington establishment, his advocacy of Trump and the controversy it sparks in the media is a major part of his politics. There is a possibility that it will bounce back to the profit.
And his reluctance to unequivocally denounce the former president for meeting Holocaust deniers means that the extremist tensions Trump stirs up to cement his political power remain a powerful force in the Republican Party. is shown.