Senate Democrats via Wikimedia Commons

ANALYSIS – For the first time in the year-long investigation into the violence on January 6, 2021, the Biden Justice Department (DOJ) has filed sedition charges against members of one group that attacked the Capitol.

On Thursday the FBI arrested the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, charging him and 10 others with seditious conspiracy. This is a significant escalation in DOJ efforts to connect the acts of violence that day with the broader effort by former President Trump’s supporters to block the electoral vote certification.

The latest seditious conspiracy charges shows that the Biden DOJ is prepared to try to prove that these persons joined the Capitol attack as part of a coordinated effort to deny President Biden the White House. They are also an attempt to help combat a narrative from Republican lawmakers that the attack was primarily a protest that got out of hand and not an ‘insurrection.’

While some rioters have been charged with felonies, until now all the hundreds charged in connection with the riot were indicated as individuals and mostly for simple misdemeanor crimes such as demonstrating in the Capitol and disorderly conduct, or for being in a restricted building and disruptive activity.

This reinforces the Republican narrative of the attack being primarily conducted by a disorganized mob.

Charging Rhodes and his colleagues with seditious conspiracy raises the legal and political stakes, even though these are only a tiny fraction of those who entered the Capitol.

The Hill notes:

The criminal statute for seditious conspiracy covers plots to overthrow or attack the government or use force to prevent the execution of U.S. laws. The Justice Department’s case against the leaders of the Oath Keepers alleges that they conspired “to oppose by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of presidential power.”

Bruce Hoffman, a counterterrorism and homeland security expert with the Council on Foreign Relations said:

When you’re talking about seditious conspiracy, you’re talking about something that’s planned, premeditated and purposeful. It’s not that all of a sudden these people are angered and spontaneously or serendipitously descended on the Capitol. … It’s elevating this entire Jan. 6 insurrection onto a different level where it becomes very difficult to deny it was an insurrection. It underscores how serious it was and puts it in the realm of terrorism. 

The Hill explains:

The indictment from the Justice Department details how a group of 19 members wore paramilitary gear and used a military “stack” formation to enter the Capitol. It also details how Rhodes spent thousands of dollars on weapons before and after the riot and coordinated with a “quick reaction force” in Virginia that was awaiting word on whether to bring weapons into Washington, D.C.

However, charging people with sedition, and convicting them are very different.

Seditious conspiracy charges can be hard to prove and can be complicated by free speech challenges. This is why prosecutions have been rare in recent years, and federal prosecutors have a mixed record of success in the more recent cases.

Still, even if any of these 11 men are convicted, the fact that a very small group planned an attack on the Capitol, doesn’t change the fact that the vast majority of the hundreds charged for being involved on January 6 did not.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AmericanActionNews.com


Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
22 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Trump Lost
Trump Lost
4 months ago

Supremely awesome amazing excellent great news!

David L Maddox
David L Maddox
4 months ago
Reply to  Trump Lost

Dear Troll; I don’t quite understand your sick obsession with Donald Trump. Do you fantasize about him, often. Just curious……

Trump Lost
Trump Lost
4 months ago
Reply to  David L Maddox

Dear idiot,

I never “fantasize” about him. Maybe you should go back to grade school to learn how to punctuate?

Coldly,

An intelligent troll

UIrsus Logicus
UIrsus Logicus
4 months ago
Reply to  Trump Lost

“The troll protesteth roo much, methinks.’–Astute readees

Dan Tyree
Dan Tyree
4 months ago
Reply to  Trump Lost

Great news for a commie moron.

Trump Lost
Trump Lost
4 months ago
Reply to  Dan Tyree

Great news for an intelligent … person.

Victoria Humphries
Victoria Humphries
4 months ago
Reply to  Trump Lost

Three weeks from now you will wish you had started today. Simply give it a shot on the accompanying site.

GOOD LUCK… 𝐆𝐨𝐨𝐠𝐥𝐞𝐩𝐚𝐲𝐬𝟎𝟏.𝐓𝐤

Linda
Linda
4 months ago
Reply to  Trump Lost

Did You Know that anybody in the Boundaries of U.S can start gettlng pald every m0nth 15,000 D0IIars or m0re just from w0rk on PC or M0bile. i just got pald 500+ D0IIars every day. F0r Details…. FOX72.COM

Trump Won & Biden is a Crook
Trump Won & Biden is a Crook
4 months ago
Reply to  Trump Lost

It’s just more Deep State fascist tyranny. When we take back control I want to see all those involved in the persecution and abuse of these political prisoners LINED UP AND SHOT.

MAGA BACKER
MAGA BACKER
4 months ago

OK, then those that participated in the summer riots of 2020 should be held to the same standard. Can’t wait until the 2022 election when the House and Senate are won by the Republicans, committees in both houses can move ahead with their investigation.

Jean
Jean
4 months ago

I’d say stealing elections is seditious, yet none of those people broke into the Capitol. I’d say having people implanted to encourage people to violence is violence, yet The People didn’t do that. You thieves could not turn us, so you true Insurrectionist broke the windows yourself and you WILL eventually be judged in court for that. We know you know it, because the escalating of your tyranny is revealing more and more to EVERYONE. GOOD BYE SUCKERS!

Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
4 months ago
Reply to  Jean

Can’t quite follow your line of argument. The people who STOLE the election already had control (in 14 more days). They didn’t need to do anything other than wait!

AZtejas41
AZtejas41
4 months ago

Aw yes, if they had any common sense. Their hate overrides their common sense, if they had any in the first place. As long as Pres. Trump has the right to run for office and is not in jail, these idiots will continue to try to convict him and those that support him of anything they can find. We have a huge mess to cleanup starting in 2023.