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Tag: Jan. 6

Oath Keeper Leader Charged with Seditious Conspiracy for Role in Jan. 6 Riot

Alex Gakos/Shutterstock.com

By Steve Neavling

The leader and founder of the extremist far-right group Oath Keepers and 10 others were arrested and charged with seditious conspiracies and other crimes for their involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol siege, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Stewart Rhodes, 56, was arrested in Little Elm, Texas. 

The Oath Keepers is a loosely organized group that focuses on recruiting current and former military, law enforcement and first-responder personnel. 

According to the indictment, the defendants were wearing paramilitary gear and using a military formation to navigate the crowds and enter the Capitol. 

They assaulted U.S. Capitol Police and conspired to storm the Capitol to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, prosecutors said. 

The indictment marks the first time anyone has been charged with sedition for participating in the riot. 

Since the riot, more than 725 people from nearly every state has been charged in connection with the insurrection. Of those, 225 have been charged with assaulting or impending law enforcement. 

One Year Later, Garland Says DOJ Has ‘No Higher Priority’ than Jan. 6 Probe

Alex Gakos/Shutterstock.com

By Steve Neavling

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday said the investigation into the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol is far from over and pledged to hold everyone responsible. 

“The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law, whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy,” Garland said on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the riot. “We will follow the facts wherever they lead.”

So far, the investigation has led to more than 725 arrests and roughly 165 guilty pleas, and about 70 rioters have been sentenced. 

Garland said about 140 federal prosecutors have worked on the case. 

At least 140 officers were injured during the siege. 

“Those involved must be held accountable,” Garland said. “And there is no higher priority for us at the Department of Justice.”

The Democratic-led House select committee also is investigating the riot. 

In a speech Thursday, President Biden is expected to speak on the “singular responsibility” of former President Trump, who riled up supporters before the riot and spread lies about the election, CNN reports.

Also on Thursday, members of Congress are expected to take a moment of silence and take testimonials from those who were at the Capitol during the attack. 

Brutal Jan. 6 Attacks on Police Revealed on Newly Released Video Released by DOJ

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department released three hours of footage from the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol that showed police officers coming under intense attack. 

The videos were released after several media outlets sued for access. 

The footage shows rioters “push(ing) police further back, jabbing at them with flag poles and hitting them with a baton, spraying pepper spray, taking riot shields and crushing an officer in a door all while banging against the walls and cheering as they filmed the assault on their phones,” CNN said.

It’s the longest government-captured video released by U.S. authorities. 

More than 700 people have been charged so far in connection with the insurrection. 

A U.S. House committee is investigating the riot. 

Ex-Homeland Security Official Cuccinelli Questioned by Congressional Committee about Jan. 6

Ken Cuccinelli

By Steve Neavling

Former top Homeland Security official Ken Cuccinelli was questioned by the U.S. House committee that is investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

Cuccinelli, who served as deputy Homeland Security secretary from 2019 to 2021, was asked about the events of Jan. 6 and what the agency did to prepare for them, CNN reports.

He said the committee also asked him about discussions he had with Trump. He said he declined to discuss details of those conversations. 

Cuccinelli was considered a Trump loyalist and was often in meetings when the administration discussed the election results. Trump even broached the idea of appointing Cuccinelli to serve as “special counsel” to investigate voter fraud.

Capitol Police Exodus Followed Jan. 6 Insurrection

Alex Gakos/Shutterstock.com

By Steve Neavling

Since the Jan. 6 riot in Washington D.C., about 130 Capitol Police officers have left their jobs, a Senate panel was told Tuesday. 

There are now more than 230 vacancies in the roughly 2,000-officer force. 

“They are down significantly (in) officers and they need to bring … folks on that can augment that,” Michael Bolton, the inspector general for Capitol Police, told the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, USA Today reports.

The Capitol riot left about 140 officers injured, and five have died since. Two of the deaths were Capitol Police officers, including Brian Sicknick, who died from a stroke the following day, and Howard Liebengood, who committed suicide days later.

While Bolton said morale has improved since the riot, he said there are concerns about overtime and recruiting. 

A House task force in April recommended hiring 854 officers, including 350 to reduce an alarming increase in overtime. 

Congress still hasn’t decided on funding for the department. 

“This work is crucial to securing the work of the Capitol,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who heads the committee, said. 

Homeland Security Warns about Potential for Violence at ‘Justice for J6’ Rally

Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo via Shutterstock.

By Steve Neavling

Homeland Security officials expressed concern about the potential for violence at an upcoming right-wing rally to advocate for the jailed Jan. 6 rioters. 

In a bulletin to law enforcement partners, the Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis warned about a “small number of recent online threats” related to the Justice for J6 rally on Saturday and noted there were “online discussions encouraging violence the day before the rally,” CBS News reports.

Meanwhile, U.S. Capitol Police are erecting a chain-link fence around the Capitol building and requested the National Guard Quick Reaction Force and D.C. Metropolitan police to be prepared in the event of violence. 

The bulletin says that some social media users discussed rushing the Capitol, and one user “commented on kidnapping an identified member of Congress.”

“Other references to violence identified on social media include discussions of using the rally to target local Jewish institutions, elected officials, and ‘liberal churches,'” the bulletin states. 

Authorities expected as many as 700 people attend the rally. 

Making matters worse, former President Trump criticized the prosecution of hundreds of rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, CNBC reports.

“Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election,” Trump said in a written statement. 

“In addition to everything else, it has proven conclusively that we are a two-tiered system of justice. In the end, however, JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL!” Trump said.

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., responded by accusing Trump  of “trying again to gin up insurrection and get people killed.”

“I’ve called for trump to be arrested and prosecuted for his Jan 6 treason,” Pascrell tweeted. “Nothing has changed.”

McCabe Says Federal Law Enforcement Should ‘Take Seriously’ an Upcoming Right-Wing Rally

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

By Steve Neavling

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe warned Monday about the potential for violence at an upcoming right-wing rally to advocate for the jailed Jan. 6 rioters.

“I think they should take it very seriously. In fact, they should take it more seriously than they took the same sort of intelligence that they likely saw on January 5,” McCabe told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

The Justice for J6 rally is scheduled for Sept. 18 in Washington D.C. and was organized by a former Trump campaign staffer. 

Federal law enforcement officials have been criticized for their handling of the Jan. 6 riot. The Government Accountability Office concluded that Homeland Security failed to provide adequate security at the Capitol, despite plenty of evidence of possible violence.

McCabe said federal law enforcement appears to be more prepared this time around. 

“It looks like, from all indications, our law enforcement partners are well prepared for this one,” McCabe said. “They seem to be taking the intelligence very seriously, which raises a question as to whether or not they did on January 6, but that’s another issue.”

Capitol Police Officer Speaks Out about Fatal Shooting of Ashli Babbitt

Alex Gakos/Shutterstock.com

By Steve Neavling

The Capitol police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 siege said he pulled the trigger to “save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers.”

For the first time, Lt. Michael Byrd spoke publicly about the Capitol attack and his reasons for firing his weapon during an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt on Thursday night. 

Byrd, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran, said he’s been threatened, and some of the attacks have been racist. 

“They talked about killing me, cutting off my head,” Byrd said. “It’s all disheartening, because I know I was doing my job.”

The interview comes several days after an internal investigation cleared Byrd of wrongdoing, saying he followed department policy, which allows deadly force when there’s a reasonable expectation of serious physical harm to themselves or others. 

“If they get through that door, they’re into the House chamber and upon the members of Congress,” Byrd told NBC, saying Babbitt had been “posing a threat to the United States House of Representatives.” 

Byrd said he saved lives: “I know members of Congress, as well as my fellow officers and staff, were in jeopardy and in serious danger. And that’s my job.”

Also on Thursday, seven other Capitol police officers filed a lawsuit against former President Trump and others, including right-wing extremists groups, accusing them of conspiring to promote groundless claims of widespread fraud that fueled the riot.