Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Opinion Jan. 6 convicts aren’t ‘hostages’: Judge decries gaslighting. (Jennifer Rubin, WaPo)

How many rebarbative Republican loudmouths are reporting and distorting the Big Lie? Here's Judge Royce C. Lamberth, an appointee of President Reagan, rebutting the insurrectionists' crazy talk and stupid talk.  From The Washington Post: 

Opinion Jan. 6 convicts aren’t ‘hostages’: Judge decries gaslighting

April 8, 2024 at 7:45 a.m. EDT
Rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (John Minchillo/AP)
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D.C. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth delivered a tongue-lashing last week during the sentencing of a participant in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot convicted of multiple crimes. He railed against downplaying the insurrection and specifically condemned the effort to elevate convicted criminals to the status of “hostages.”

I have been shocked to watch some public figures try to rewrite history, claiming rioters behaved “in an orderly fashion” like ordinary tourists, or martyrizing convicted January 6 defendants as “political prisoners” or even, incredibly, “hostages.” …
“Protestors” would have simply shared their views on the election — as did thousands that day who did not approach the Capitol. But those who breached and occupied the Capitol building and grounds halted the counting of the electoral college votes required by the Twelfth Amendment.

He continued, “This was not a protest that got out of hand. It was a riot; in many respects a coordinated riot, as is clear from cases before me. … Although the rioters failed in their ultimate goal, their actions nonetheless resulted in the deaths of multiple people, injury to over 140 members of law enforcement, and lasting trauma for our entire nation.” He concluded, “This was not patriotism; it was the antithesis of patriotism.”

With the presumptive Republican presidential nominee calling the convicted Jan. 6 criminals “hostages” and saluting their “anthem,” plainly aligning himself with the violent insurrectionists, Lamberth’s latest lecture against the normalization of all of this could not have been more timely.

At the sentencing hearing last week of Jan. 6 violent criminal Taylor James Johnatakis (convicted of obstruction of an official proceeding, civil disorder, and assaulting, resisting or impeding police officers), Lamberth declared, “We cannot condone the normalization of the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot.” Although he did not mention four-times-indicted former president Donald Trump, who incited the insurrection, the senior judge warned just how much the damage such outrageous lying does to our democracy.

CNN reported that Lamberth warned about a “‘vicious cycle … that could imperil our institutions’ if Americans, upset with future election results, resort to the ‘vigilantism, lawlessness and anarchy’ that occurred on January 6, 2021.” He called the insurrection “corrosive … selfish, not patriotic.” Lamberth also stressed to the defendant, and the wider public, that “there can be no room in our country for this sort of political violence.”

And yet, a major political party, its presumptive nominee and millions of Americans have embraced and lionized the violent rioters, insisting on transforming them into “hostages,” and calling into doubt whether Trumpism and American democracy can coexist.

Trump has not only reimagined Jan. 6 as a glorious event but promised to pardon those involved. Just Security compiled a list of the criminals who would be let out of jail if he spared convicts and those incarcerated awaiting trial. Tom Joscelyn, Fred Wertheimer and Norman L. Eisen calculated that, as of March 23 (the day after Trump reportedly vowed to set “these guys free”), there were 29 inmates in custody related to Jan. 6, “including defendants who are either awaiting trial or post-conviction.”

These include 27 “charged with assaulting law enforcement officers in the U.S. Capitol or on its grounds,” of which 20 have either been convicted or pleaded guilty. The violence involved should shockAmericans:

One convicted felon helped lead the assault on police guarding the Capitol’s external security perimeter, an “attack [that] paved the way for thousands of rioters to storm the Capitol grounds.” Another inmate allegedly threw “an explosive device that detonated upon at least 25 officers,” causing some of the officers to temporarily lose their hearing. “For many other officers that were interviewed,” an FBI Special Agent’s statement of facts reads, “it was the most memorable event that day.” Other January 6th inmates held in D.C.: “viciously ripped off” an Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer’s mask; assaulted officers “with an electro-shock device;” allegedly sprayed multiple police officers with a pepper spray; “struck an MPD officer with a long wooden pole multiple times;” and allegedly used a “crutch and a metal pole” as “bludgeoning weapons or projectiles against” a “line of law enforcement officers.”

At its most basic level, Trump’s support of Jan. 6 criminals should demolish the notion that Trump and MAGA followers “stand with the blue” or represent the “law and order” party. Trump called these people to the Capitol, fired them up and urged them on to the Capitol. Facing trial himself for the events of Jan. 6, he wants to let out of jail the foot soldiers he enlisted to attack democracy.

Taking a step back, it should still sicken Americans that someone running for chief executive continues to embrace lawbreaking and promises to reward it. The job Trump seeks requires an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” In embracing constitutional terrorists, Trump signals he cannot comply with the oath. (And let’s not forget he has insisted he can “terminate” the Constitution when it suits him.)

Although the Supreme Court has ruled Trump’s participation in the violent attempted coup is not technically disqualifying under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, voters can certainly decide that a candidate who incites, glorifies and promises to free insurrectionists cannot fulfill the duties of president.

They should heed former congresswoman Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyo.) admonition. “We know (Trump) tried once not to leave office, and he will have no incentive to guarantee a peaceful transfer of power and to leave office should be selected again,” Cheney recently said at an appearance at Drake University in Des Moines. In explaining why Trump was obviously a much worse choice than Biden, she said, “I know the nation can survive bad policy. We can’t survive a president who is willing to torch the Constitution.” (As an aside, Trump’s “policies,” including a 15-week nationwide abortion ban, inviting Russia to invade NATO and a 60 percent tariff on Chinese goods that would raise inflation to 10 percent, are also far worse than anything Biden could dream up.)

Through mass gaslighting, the MAGA Republican Party stands poised to nominate the architect of an attempted coup. That alone besmirches our democracy. Actually electing such a character president, however, would irretrievably mar our constitutional system. Because spineless Republicans in the Senate refused to convict him at his second impeachment trial and bar him from office, the American voters must now do what they did not: protect our democracy from the scourge of Trump and Trumpism. To do otherwise would be to side with monstrous liars ready to throw the Constitution overboard.

Opinion by 
Jennifer Rubin writes reported opinion for The Washington Post. She is the author of “Resistance: How Women Saved Democracy from Donald Trump” and is host of the podcast Jen Rubin's "Green Room." Twitter

1 comment:

Parker said...

Well then every other criminal in the USA is a hostage. Fascists and conservatives aren't a protected class of people. You can't crawl out of a double wide trailer or a penthouse and commit acts of sedition and terrorism then get a get out of jail free card because you claim conservative. Your views aren't a defense against your crimes. That's called delusional narcissism. Many of these people have lost it.