A reassuring press conference after many dispiriting days of silence. The highlight is the mention of sedition charges, a crime you don’t see a lot of in the ol’ U.S. of A. and which carries a sentence of up to 20 years.
What this is, to be blunt, is a very clear “f*** around and find out” message to domestic terrorists who are currently plotting for the inauguration. The litany of charges Sherwin recites at the beginning is designed to let them know that they’ll be prosecuted for every last offense the feds can prove, all the way down to misdemeanors and mail fraud.
We’ll see how many decide the LARP isn’t worth it. Take a few minutes to watch, then read on.
Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin: “Given the enormity of the actors we saw, both inside and outside the Capitol, the range of criminal conduct is really, I think again, unmatched in any type of scenario we’ve ever seen.” pic.twitter.com/spWg3TAQ20
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 12, 2021
The feds have been issuing criminal complaints for the past several days against various rioters. Today they stepped it up to indictments, charging one defendant with two counts of assault on a police officer and another with felony possession of an unregistered weapon. As Sherwin says, they’ve been filing smaller charges quickly just to haul people in and will escalate to more substantial charges as the evidence bears that out. No fewer than 160 cases are currently open and 70 people have already been charged.
How much worse could it have been on Wednesday? It was a matter of seconds, says the WSJ:
Dozens of lawmakers and staff already had fled the House chamber, joined by earlier groups fleeing from the visitors’ and press galleries. That created a bottleneck as they crowded into a single stone stairwell, said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D., N.Y.).
Mr. Maloney estimates that the House was evacuated 30 to 60 seconds before it would have been overrun. “Had that one exit not been open,” he said, “we would have been trapped on the House floor.”
Moving down the stone stairway, with the sound of rioters growing louder, staffers and police urged the lawmakers, some in their 70s, to move faster. Some grabbed wooden posts holding hand sanitizer dispensers to defend themselves if they encountered the mob. Mr. Maloney urged Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), whose face was well-known from his role as lead prosecutor in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial last year, to move to the head of the line to lessen the chance of being spotted.
A photographer captured the moment when the mob started beating a D.C. police officer:
“I’ve never seen a cop scared like that,” Cole told BuzzFeed News. “I knew he was terrified for his life. Cops have this way about them. They don’t show fear most of the time and this man was scared.”…
Hsin-Yi Wang reposted Cole’s photo on Facebook, identifying her ex-husband as the officer and adding more details about the terrifying assault (BuzzFeed News is not identifying the officer because he has not responded to requests for comment).
“He was dragged into the mob, his badge ripped off, beaten, tazed, and pepper sprayed,” she wrote. “All the while hearing the protestors saying, ‘Kill him with his own gun!’”
From “Make America great again” to “Kill him with his own gun.” This party deserves every political setback it suffers for the next decade.
We also have to endure this national humiliation, as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff resorts to reminding American soldiers that Joe Biden is the president-elect and their duty is to the Constitution:
Remarkable memo from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to members of the military reminding them of their duty to support and uphold the Constitution, and declaring that Biden will be inaugurated on January 20. pic.twitter.com/PptcfbNsR4
— Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) January 12, 2021
I can’t tell if that memo is aimed at Trump or aimed at rank-and-file soldiers who might be prepared to sympathize with insurrectionist terrorists whom they know from 8kun, but it’s horrendous either way. We’ll never wash off the shame of this era, that made something like this communique necessary. What a disgraceful thing this country’s become.
Here’s one last bit from Sherwin warning the public not to minimize what happened last week. The most widely circulated images of the attack involve the “QAnon Shaman” decked out in face paint and Viking horns, which gives the attack the patina of a weird but ultimately harmless weirdo carnival. It was much more violent than you think, Sherwin insists. Although, if you’ve seen the videos of MAGA fans beating that face-down cop with poles, you already knew that.
“I think people are going to be shocked” pic.twitter.com/B4CJxVj4te
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) January 12, 2021