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


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        An intelligent troll

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    4. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

  3. It is nothing but a witch hunt just like they tried in the past. Why in the “H—” hasn’t PIGLOSI been charged for not supplying the troops that TRUMP requested, because they all want to RUIN the GOOD OLE USA .But that won’t happen because we may have another CIVAL WAR and it won’t be like the last one because of RACE, it will be because of the RACIST so called leaders in our country.

  4. LISTEN UP….The DOJ and the FBI Can J UMP into a LAKE with CROCODILES. T HEY joined the COMMUNIST CLUB. THEIR REP is in the TOILET. From SamuraiQueen. 😄😄😄

  5. But now we are finding a judge ruling ballot boxes in his state are illegal. We are finding proof there was illegal activity in this election, and that these illegal voter counts were certified, when many testified under oath of sinister events during election night. Why is this not investigated and people criminally charged for adulterating our election system with illegal voting, and illegal counting, connected to the internet by Dominion? Where is the law suit against dominion, that Pelosi is part owner in? Pence and other lame weak do nothing ducks ruined our election system by certifying votes we thought to be invalid. That should be enough to fully audit to we the people’s satisfaction. Biden/Obama team is covering up something.

  6. Stop the diversion and do a TRUE investigation of Pelosi. One would have to be an absolute idiot to believe otherwise.

  7. Even IF (big IF) a dozen nuts did something, that doesn’t implicate Donald Trump or the hundreds of thousands of MAGA people there in DC that day. The videos we have show that the police WELCOMED most of the people in and even had their pictures taken with the protestors. Hardly the actions of someone fending off “insurrectionists.”
    Why won’t Pelosi release ALL of the CCTV footage???

  8. How about being as tough on the smash and grabbers, they should be charged under RICO law because they are organized and committing crimes of Robbery.

  9. there’s no crime or shame in trying to stop a fraudulent election from being rubber stamped by some of the same people who probably were involved in planning or enabling election fraud. Killing cheaters and schemers is a NOBLE thing, and good for a society. You can’t have an illegitimate govt….people will revolt. The mission SHOULD have been to force Congress to refrain from certifying results that were questionable.

    If that requires force, then fine. I dont have a problem with that. Its too important – can’t ignore it. Govt is bad enough by itself – but an illegitimate one, is intolerable. And whether its a little force now, or a widespread LOT OF FORCE later…..that’s the equation you should be solving, not worrying about is someone using force. People have the right, and the obligation, to overthrow tyrants, despots, cheaters, corrupt or abusive regimes, and no law (made by those same regimes) can change a moral imperative into a crime or a thing of which to be ashamed. The system is not designed to protect malfeasants from being held accountable. The second a govt breaches its duties, or infringes on rights, or cheats, it is illegitimate and anyone supporting it should be viewed as an enemy combatant. If you step outside of “the deal”, you cannot expect the protections of “the deal” to be upheld by those you have transgressed against, that is insane. Just stop with that nonsense. We as a people are not beholden to let that happen…and we are sworn NOT to, if we are being truly good citizens and faithful to the Constitution.

    Our nation was created out of resistance to tyranny and abuse- and that tradition, the Spirit of 76, has to live with us, or this glorious experiment in self-government by a free people, is over. And if some idiots who don’t want to play by the rules choose to break our deal, then they SHOULD be terrorized, and killed. Who needs that? Get rid of them!

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