2020 Capitol Crowd

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The collection of documents at Lawfare charging people with crimes, both federal and local, is essential readings. See https://www.lawfareblog.com/compiling-criminal-charges-following-capitol-riot . The Justice Dept. had a press conference on January 12. It looks like maybe many of the arrests are on pretextual charges, made in the hope Justice can get evidence of real crimes later to bulk them up to felonies. See https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/fbi-justice-department-briefing-transcript-on-capitol-riots-january-12.



Agent Provocateurs

  • John Earle Sullivan, who broke a window and spoke inciting the crowd, was a left-wing activist.
  • Revolver.News article on Ray Epps, long and detailed with lots of evidence. Ray Epps, a protester who though captured on video egging people on and being called “Fed! Fed!”, was not arrested. But it didn’t hit the news, and even then didn’t hit most news, until a Republican Congressman brought it up and asked Attorney General Garland about it and whether the FBI had agents in the crowd (Garland refused to comment). See https://www.the-sun.com/news/3936657/who-is-ray-epps/.

From those January 19 arrests until the present day, Stewart Rhodes features prominently as the star of every Oath Keepers indictment. That includes four superseding indictments to add new defendants and new charges.

It is important to recall that the specific charge against the indicted Oath Keepers on 1/6 is not simply or even primarily, as is widely assumed, “storming of the Capitol.” Rather, the indicted Oath Keepers mentioned above first and foremost face charges of conspiracy to obstruct Congress.

...

The government has, in effect, built its case against the 16 Oath Keepers in large part by saying “We know you’re guilty of conspiracy because we definitely know your leader Stewart Rhodes is guilty of conspiracy, and it looks like you were following your leader.” But Stewart Rhodes is not even charged. He is still just “Person One.” Almost as strange as Rhodes’ apparent protection from indictment is the complete lack of curiosity or skepticism as to why.

...

The academic world’s apparent top expert on the Oath Keepers, Sam Jackson, also appears to have fallen short of independently confirming the official timeline of Rhodes’s mythical ascent from Army paratrooper to 28 year-old car valet in Montana with zero college education, to Yale Law School, then [Insert 4-Year Black Hole], then voila, the most prominent antigovernment group in the country.

...

Rhodes’ behavior and context eerily and overwhelmingly appears to fit the pattern of a government informant or agent, dating back many years before the events of 1/6.

Typically, informants will put out such rhetoric as a honeytrap, and then report their own overzealous followers and adherents to Federal law enforcement. They collect checks for jailing their own well-intentioned patriot “comrades” whose lapses in judgment, intelligence, or self-control lead them one step too far down the path of escalating keyboard warrior rhetoric.

This was exactly the shtick, incidentally, of another high-profile right-wing “shock jock” patriot leader, Hal Turner, who was revealed to be a self-admitted “deep undercover intelligence operative” for the FBI. Incidentally, Hal Turner’s tenure with the FBI ended within mere months of Stewart Rhodes’s starting of the Oath Keepers.

...

Rhodes was then booted from Bundy Ranch by the unanimous vote of other militiamen on site, who openly described him as a likely FBI informant or federally-sponsored agent provocateur.

... Note that the entire Bundy family — including father Cliven and son Ammon, as well as friend of the family Ryan Payne who personally got Stewart Rhodes ejected, were all arrested for conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding (a similar charge for 1/6). Even though Stewart Rhodes flew in to help that obstruction, and a number of Rhodes’s fellow Oath Keepers were arrested for their activities, Stewart Rhodes got off scot-free, even though he gave every appearance of acting as a chief organizer and instigator.

...

It is astonishing to us that no one had thought to bring up the Michigan kidnapping plot in light of 1/6. The Michigan plot involved the same action (storming of the state capitol) and one of the same major militia groups (Three Percenters). Not only was that plot heavily infiltrated (at least 5 of the 18 plotters turned out to be fed operatives), but the FBI agent who oversaw that infiltration operation got promoted to the DC office where he went on to oversee the 1/6 investigation. The parallels were remarkable, and it is still more remarkable that no journalist thought to ask whether there could have been similar infiltration in 1/6 — specially in the key militia groups implicated in the most egregious and spectacular elements of 1/6.


Officer Sicknick's Death

Consider the lie spread by the NY Times and the government that Officer Sicknik had been killed by protesters, two of whom were charged with assaulting him, when it turned out he had gone home fine but then had a stroke. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/brian-sicknick-capitol-riot-died-natural-causes/ . To be sure, the govenrment suppressed the autopsy for some months, but Sicknick’s family did know, yet it was hard for the news to spread. Revolver News had a good article on the suppression of the evidence about his death by the government and a March article on the charges against two men for assaulting him.

Rosanne Boyland's Death

  • Now the Boyland death is being attributed by some—with very specific claims—to her being beaten with batons by the police rather than from an overdose of her ADHD medicine, though the government refuses to release the autopsy and video and both sides have contradicted their claimed causes of death. https://amgreatness.com/2021/11/18/terror-in-the-capitol-tunnel/
  • Twitter thread by Policeman Dunn, who helped take Boyland to the office, attacking Kyle Rittenhouse. See alsothe tweet by the other policeman who did it with him, on a photo of Trump and Rittenhouse: "A dear leader moment…on both pictures. A leader idolizing a dictator…and the other idolizing a dictator wannabe. But they are fighting for our freedoms."

Penalties


"Government drops charges against all inauguration protesters," (2018) https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/government-drops-charges-against-all-inauguration-protesters-n889531 and https://twitter.com/DineshDSouza/status/1349767786457935876 linking to 2017 video of protests against Trump in Washington.

See https://apnews.com/article/capitol-police-reject-federal-help-9c39a4ddef0ab60a48828a07e4d03380 for a story on the failure of the Capitol Police, including their rejection of help offered from the Defense Dept and their lack of contingency planning.

https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/bryan-preston/2021/01/08/leader-of-far-left-insurgence-usa-group-encouraged-rioters-to-enter-the-capitol-n1325304 talks about Mr. Sullivan, the arrested left-wing protester who was a leader of the movement into the Capitol and has arrests for previous left-wing protests. https://www.unz.com/article/lessons-from-the-trumpistan-coup/ Theodore Dalrymple on the lack of attemp to hurt anyone or damage the Capitol building.

  • "Here’s How the Capitol Mob Violated Federal Criminal Law By Bryce Klehm, Alan Z. Rozenshtein, Jacob Schulz Thursday, January 7, 2021, https://www.lawfareblog.com/heres-how-capitol-mob-violated-federal-criminal-law. This is a useful article, though its title is completely misleading. It lists statutes that might apply, but it has close to zero on how the crowd violated federal criminal law, because it doesn't link what they did to the statutes. For example, any of them who were carrying guns in the Capitol violated a federal statute (and, I bet, local DC criminal statutes), but were any of them carrying guns? Maybe, but I haven't seen even any rumors of that.

I question calling it a "mob" too. There were mobs, to be sure-- a crowd of people pushing down barricades is a mob. But people wandering around the Capitol or standing in line behind velvet guard cords aren't a mob.

Let's think of what people in the crowd did that are common-sense illegal, because there are no doubt statutes that apply, though perhaps only DC local criminal statutes:

1. Disobeying police orders to stop pushing barricades. 2. Pushing away barricades. 3. Knocking down or punching policemen. 4. Breaking windows. 5. Picking up government property such as podiums or police shields with possible intent to steal them (this probably requires actually taking them home, not just moving them). The man who took a letter from Nancy Pelosi's office did this, though unless it was an important letter this is de minimis. (De minimis lex non curat.) 6. Entering a "restricted area" or simple trespassing. Trespassing is the easier one. The "restricted area" federal statute only applies to buildings occupied by the President or VP or someone else protected by the Secret Service. Pence was there, and Harris, so maybe it does apply. But trespassing is simpler.

It is questionable whether 99% of the crowd violated any law, though, including many people in the best-known photos and videos. This is because all we have for 99% of the crowd is that they were on the Capitol grounds or in the Capitol. That's not illegal, unless you have good reason to think that the police forbid it. Remember, on ordinary days, tourists are there all the time. To convict Mr. Smith of trespassing, you need evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that he knew the owner of the property wanted him to stay off it, I think (am I wrong?). If there are prominent No Trespassing signs that anybody entering your property would see, that would usually provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If the front door of your house is open and someone comes to the house, sees that, and comes in to your living room, though, I doubt that counts as trespassing, especially criminal trespass. It is certainly not breaking and entering.

In the case of the Capitol, whoever pushed aside the barricades or broke a window knew they were trespassing. But what about the people who followed who didn't even see that there was a barricade or that the doors were closed? There is video of people entering the capitol peacefully through an open door with police standing there watching and making no sign of disapproval. Those people were not trespassing--- and if you think they were, remember it has to be beyond a reasonable doubt to convict them. Now consider someone against whom the only evidence is a video of them inside the Capitol looking at the ceiling or wandering the hallway. There is evidence that the police let some people in. There is no evidence that these particular people entered illegally, much less evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Most of them are innocent, and even those few who were guilty will mostly have to go free for lack of evidence.

And, indeed, though I've just glanced at the criminal complaints, it looks like the people being arrested on probably cause are those against whom the police have good evidence, such as a policeman reporting he was punched by the arrested man, or people who were still in the Capitol five hours later at 7:15 pm when there were loud announcements broadcast in the Capitol that it was closed --https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/20446138/yevgemya-et-al-affidavit.pdf(which implies to me that there were *not* such broadcosts earlier in the day).