News broke this week that Congress has been unable to pass bipartisan legislation creating an independent commission to study the Jan. 6, 2020 insurrection at the US Capitol Building. And it doesn’t take a political scientist to understand why: Only one party is willing to acknowledge that an insurrection even occurred.
Republican objections to an independent investigation — as opposed to commissions in the House and Senate, which are already investigating the events of that day — include the use of the word “insurrectionists,” any efforts to tie Donald Trump to the actions of the mob and the scope of the investigation itself, which House Republicans say should include the Black Lives Matter protests that took place throughout the year.
And these are just the objections they are voicing out loud. Surely some House Republicans must be silently wondering if their actions on that day — and the days leading up to it — could be construed as seditious, or even treasonous. Some may even be wondering if they will be charged.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn: We’re talking to you. But not just you.
Regardless of Congress, the Justice Department has already begun its own independent investigation; already hundreds of people have been charged with crimes that day. Former lead prosecutor Michael Sherwin told “60 Minutes” on Sunday that the evidence collected so far supports charges of sedition, a felony with a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
But it doesn’t take a lawyer to see sedition here. “Seditious conspiracy” is addressed in Title 18 of US Code, defined as: “conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States,” which fits the bill if you consider the Capitol Building to represent the country. And there’s, “to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States,” which is literally what happened when the insurrectionist mob attempted to abort the electoral vote count on that day. Then there’s “by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States,” which is what that guy carrying the podium was doing.
That’s the problem the GOP is having with their revisionist fantasies of the Jan. 6 insurrection: We watched it live, as it happened, on our phones. And we don’t need a commission to tell us what sedition looks like.