This excellent DOJ description of the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot, the one the RNC called “Legitimate Political Discourse” and FOX and friends characterized as a “meek, respectful tourist visit protected by the First Amendment” should be on the front page of every newspaper in the country and all over the internet. It is from the recent DOJ sentencing memo (pp 73-75) for several leDers of the riot convicted of seditious conspiracy, violence against police and other crimes involved in the successful, violent, successful disruption of the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021 to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s election as president. Here is part of the statement of facts:
The attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 was a criminal offense unparalleled in American history.
A. Nature and Circumstances of the Offense and Need for the Sentence Imposed to Reflect the Seriousness of the Offense and Promote Respect for the Law
These defendants each played a role in an unprecedented conspiracy to oppose the transfer of presidential power. As the Court noted after the second trial verdict, the seriousness of these offenses cannot be overstated. For over two-hundred years, since President George Washington first voluntarily relinquished his executive power back to the people and set in motion a tradition that has formed the bedrock of our democracy, the American people have chosen their president through free and fair elections. Not force. To justify their actions, the conspirators called the outcome they disagreed with “tyranny” that would lead to an apocalyptic end of the country. They sowed doubt in others, riled up and recruited them to travel to D.C., and led them in an attack on the Capitol by giving the riot leaders, in the form of so-called Oath Keepers. Their oaths of service were not to the country, but to themselves.
The attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 was a criminal offense unparalleled in American history. It represented a grave threat to our democratic norms; indeed, it was one of the only times in our history when the building was literally occupied by hostile forces. By its very nature, the attack defies comparison to other events. Every defendant here joined a conspiracy that contributed to this unprecedented attack on our democracy.
Moreover, opposing the transfer of presidential power and attacking the U.S. Capitol building and grounds constitutes an attack on the rule of law. Leading up to January 6, the defendants and their co-conspirators believed their view of the Constitution trumped all others and anointed themselves the “Guardians” of their “Republic.”
These defendants attempted to silence millions of Americans who had placed their vote for a different candidate, to ignore the variety of legal and judicial mechanisms that lawfully scrutinized the electoral process leading up to and on January 6, and to shatter the democratic system of governance enshrined in our laws and in our Constitution. And when they did not get what they wanted, they acted by together attacking the very people and place at the very time when those laws were in action.
At its essence, these defendants’ crimes are the antithesis of respect for the law. “The violence and destruction of property at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 showed a blatant and appalling disregard for our institutions of government and the orderly administration of the democratic process.” As with
the nature and circumstances of the offense, this factor supports a lengthy sentence of incarceration. A lesser sentence could encourage further abuses not only by these defendants, but by others who disagree with the next elections in our country’s local, state, and federal governments. See Gall, 552 U.S. at 54 (it is a “legitimate concern that a lenient sentence for a serious offense threatens to promote disrespect for the law”)
(citations removed, except for last one.)