Other View: Stewart Rhodes, the Oath Keepers and other Jan. 6 plotters must pay the price for their crimes
Rhodes and his minions, outfitted in combat-type gear, stashed weapons at a Virginia hotel as part of a “Quick Reaction Force” they could activate if necessary on Jan. 6. Then they descended on the Capitol with the intention of intimidating the Congress.
Here’s a stark way to restate why Donald Trump is unfit to lead the Republican Party, much less the nation: He promises “full pardons with an apology to many” of those who violently breached the Capitol to stop the peaceful transition of power to rightful victor Joe Biden. In stark contrast, the current administration’s Justice Department is holding the insurrectionists accountable.
While televised hearings by the congressional Jan. 6 Committee have galvanized public attention, it’s in the legal trenches that federal prosecutors have been building careful criminal cases. Tuesday, a jury found Oath Keepers head Stewart Rhodes and another top member of his organization guilty of the high crime of seditious conspiracy . (Three other Oath Keepers were acquitted on this highest charge but found guilty of other felonies.)
The U.S. Code defines that crime as when two or more people “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.”
The description suits Jan. 6 plotters to a tee. Rhodes and his minions, outfitted in combat-type gear, stashed weapons at a Virginia hotel as part of a “Quick Reaction Force” they could activate if necessary on Jan. 6. Then they descended on the Capitol with the intention of intimidating the Congress.
Quite properly, the charge of seditious conspiracy, which dates to federal attempts to quash Confederate rebels during the Civil War, should be wielded quite rarely. Puerto Rican nationalists were convicted in 1954 . In 1995, Islamic militants including Omar Abdel-Rahman were found guilty for plotting to blow up NYC landmarks including the United Nations, a federal building, two tunnels and a bridge.
The masterminds of the attack on the Capitol qualify. To borrow the chant from the rallies for a certain politician, lock them up.
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