“Judges sounded the alarm today, verbally grabbing America by the lapels Warning from the bench today that Jan 6 is ongoing risk to the nation,” Scott MacFarlane reported late Friday.
“The Judges, nearly a year later, as cases get more and more serious that go to sentencing, are taking this moment to underscore the significance of January 6th, 2021 – to make sure America recognizes the significance of what happened that day and that January 6th was, and is, a threat to our country.”
Watch NBC4 Washington investigative reporter Scott MacFarlane’s reporting here:
(transcription mine, errors mine)
“Today ended up being a busy day of sentencings in U.S. Capitol riot sentencing. The longest sentence handed down so far in a January 6th prosecution, five years and three months for defendant Robert Palmer, who was accused of going after police here that day with a pole and with a fire extinguisher.
“We heard multiple defendants, including Palmer, tearfully say they were sorry as they asked for leniency, say they were horrified or ashamed of what they did, say they learned their lesson.
“But it wasn’t what the defendants said today or what the prosecutors. Today was a day about what the Judges said.
“In particular today, they really leaned into the defendants, into the significance of the unparalleled American moment that occurred January 6th here at the Capitol, and into the significance of that day and this prosecution to our country.
“While sentencing Palmer, the Judge said January 6th was a quote ‘violent attempt to overthrow a duly elected government.’ That it was law enforcement, first responders and the Congressional staff and Congress that were the real patriots of January 6th, not the mob. And mentioned the horrifying image of those gallows erected on the opposite side of the Capitol and of seeing the mob egg each other on — even as police were being beaten.
“In a different case, in a lower level case today, defendant accused of being in the U.S.Senate chamber, the Judge said what occurred on January 6th hurts the credibility of our country in the world, that America is no longer seen- or it’s more difficult to champion our country as that shining light, shining city on the hill.
“The Judges, nearly a year later, as cases get more and more serious that go to sentencing, are taking this moment to underscore the significance of January 6th, 2021 – to make sure America recognizes the significance of what happened that day and that January 6th was and is a threat to our country.”
After nearly a year of defendants being treated like they were almost the victims of their own behavior and choices, Friday was a rather large pivot. The Judges signaled a grasp of the looming threat to democracy and to our global credibility as a “democracy.” This is a huge shift from the Judge who ordered the corrections authorities to give a Trump insurrectionist his preferred organic food while in jail. Yes, the “Man who wore horns at US Capitol to get organic food in jail” days might be numbered.
More January 6th trials are coming, for example the high level trial date for former Trump Administration State Department appointee Federico Klein and co-defendants is set for September 26, 2022.
Finally, multiple people in authority seem to get the danger posed by January 6th and are trying to sound the alarm regarding the ongoing risk we all face so long as the domestic terrorist attack on our capital – an attempted coup to overthrow the duly elected government by the people – continues to be rug swept by judges, media and certainly the Republican Congressional suspects.
Domestic terrorism seeks to (per Cornell Law): ” appear to be intended— (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping”. We currently have policy being influenced by threats, an intimidated and coerced civilian population, and the attempt to overthrow the government via destruction, assassination and kidnapping (including credible plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer).
The Committee on Homeland Security “examined” the ongoing domestic terrorism threat in the wake of the attack on the U.S. Capitol in February of 2021. It opens with damning evidence that January 6th “was not an isolated act” of terrorism and that domestic terrorism attacks were at an all time high, with racially -motivated violent extremists posting the greatest threat and then in July of 2020 :`that the upcoming election will spark one or more violent events if the President loses his reelection bid.“[His supporters] want him to continue, and they have talked about civil war now for years if he does not.’
It is now December 18th, and in the interim we have been gaslit as a nation about what January 6th was, including the infamous attempt by a Trump loyalist, Georgia Republican Representative Andrew Clyde, falsely claiming the insurrection looked more like a “normal tourist visit” — and that’s when Republicans weren’t blaming “antifa” for the result of their own party leader’s public incitement of the attack.
Judges stepping up to call attention to the grave ongoing threat of January 6th impacts more than just upholding the law, although that can’t be underappreciated at this point. It is also a lifeline for Americans who feel justifiably threatened in their own communities, all over this country, for simply not supporting Donald Trump, and for those who see these predominantly white terrorists being treated like judicial guests while our police continue to kill Black people over much less.
A Democracy cannot function without enforcement of its own laws. If it doesn’t enforce its own laws, it is not a democracy. It might appear as a democracy, but it is in the process of falling to corrupt and criminally minded authoritarians.
Finally, a glimmer of hope for our embattled country.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
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