The Broken Windows Terrorism Enhancement and Detention of the January 6 Insurrectionists

In this post, I described how Jessica Watkins’ defense attorney, Michelle Peterson, admitted how damning her client’s own description of her actions was, but then invented a false timeline to explain away those statements. Peterson also said that evidence about Stewart Rhodes’ plans for the Oath Keepers to replicate January 6 can’t be held against her client because Watkins was already in jail when Rhodes made those comments, but also says Watkins — who in November, before the Trump rallies that Watkins’ own lawyer cited to explain Watkins’ actions, said she’d go underground if Biden assumed the Presidency — can be released while those plans are ongoing. (Peterson is also arguing that Watkins should go back to running the bar where she recruited co-conspirator Donovan Crowl.)

I think Peterson’s argument fails because the evidence doesn’t match her claims. But she makes an argument that I think will be compelling for some other Oath Keeper defendants.

The government conspiracy charge against nine Oath Keepers alleges a conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding (the counting of the electoral vote), obstruction of that proceeding, and forcibly entering the Capitol while the Vice President was present. The evidence for those allegations is all clear cut.

But as I described in the post, the government also charges the nine Oath Keepers with destruction of government property and aiding and abetting such destruction.

The indictment only describes destruction in two places: in the general boilerplate description of the event used against all January 6 defendants, and describing the door through which The Stack entered the Capitol, around 40 minutes after the Capitol was initially breached.

In the course of these events, approximately 81 members of the Capitol Police and 58 members of the Metropolitan Police Department were assaulted. The Capitol suffered millions of dollars in damage-including broken windows and doors, graffiti, and residue from pepper spray, tear gas, and fire extinguishers deployed both by crowd members who stormed the Capitol and by Capitol Police officers trying to restore order. Additionally, many media members were assaulted and had cameras and other news-gathering equipment destroyed.


The Capitol building doors through which CROWL, WATKINS, SANDRA PARKER, YOUNG, STEELE, KELLY MEGGS, CONNIE MEGGS, and the others in their group breached suffered significant damage.

The government implicates the Oath Keepers in this destruction via an aiding and abetting charge.

It’s on that basis that the government initially moved to detain Watkins.

Watkins made her initial appearance in the Southern District of Ohio on January 19, 2021, and the government moved for detention under 18 U.S.C § 3142(f)(1)(A), on the basis that 18 U.S.C. § 1361 is a crime of violence.

While they don’t explain it specifically in that motion (but the government does elsewhere for other defendants, such as for the Proud Boys’ Ethan Nordean), effectively the government is using the damage done to a government building to get presumption of detention under 18 USC 2332b‘s terrorism enhancement.

Peterson argues that the Watkins’ crimes are not crimes of violence.

The offenses charged are not crimes of violence. While violence was committed on January 6, 2021, and those responsible will be held accountable, that is not the issue before the Court in determining whether Ms. Watkins must be held in custody pending the outcome of her case. Rather the question is solely whether or not there are conditions that can reasonably assure the safety of the community and her appearance until this case is resolved in whatever manner it is resolved. Here, the government has not presented any evidence that Ms. Watkins committed any violence. Their evidence is that 40 minutes after the Capitol had been breached, she went to the Capitol and entered the building. By that time, the door had already been opened. The government acknowledges that “the crowd aggressively and repeatedly pulled on and assaulted” the doors of the building to get inside, causing damage. Ms. Watkins is charged with aiding and abetting this offense, but there is no evidence that this was something she had a criminal intent to do. She would have to have shared in the intent to destroy property, when in fact, she attempted to stop people from destroying property.

Peterson argues that the body cameras of some of the cops with whom Watkins interacted will show her trying to prevent damage (though, as noted, Peterson’s explanation for Watkins’ description of the beauty of breaching the Capitol is utterly inconsistent with the actual comments Watkins made, which framed that beauty specifically in terms of fighting cops).

Peterson’s argument here is important, and it will be very compelling for those Oath Keeper defendants who didn’t leave tracks of messages describing efforts to train a militia to take out the federal government even before Trump’s incitement to violence cited by the defense started. While there might be evidence from other Oath Keepers the government is investigating (remember there is a busload of Oath Keepers from NC who were coordinating with the charged co-conspirators, along with the Quick Reaction Force ready to bring additional weapons, as well as a few more known Oath Keepers who directly confronted cops), nothing in the record thus far shows The Stack had a direct role in the damage to the Capitol.

Compare with the Proud Boys to understand the significance of this. In that case, Dominic Pezzola, in fairly obvious coordination with others, was the very first person to break a window allowing the breach of the Capitol. While the other Proud Boys are not yet charged in a conspiracy with Pezzola, there’s every likelihood they will be, in which case a claim that they worked together to break that window will be reasonable and detention claims based on that property damage against co-conspirators substantiated.

In the apparent Proud Boys plot to breach the Capitol and delay the vote count, breaking that window was a fundamental part of the conspiracy.

This is the same problem the government has — and will face on appeal — with Zip Tie Guy Eric Munchel and his mother, Lisa Eisenhart. While mother and son clearly had intent to obstruct the counting of the vote and Munchel came armed with a taser, there’s no evidence that they were working in concert with those who committed the violence or did the damage to the Capitol.

In both the Munchel case and the Oath Keepers case, the government might believe or might have believed they could rely on another terrorism enhancement, attempted kidnapping of  congressional or cabinet targets (18 USC 351), kidnapping of Presidential staff (18 USC 1751a) or hostage taking (18 USC 1203). The government has argued, for example, that Munchel and his mom are the only ones who saw the Capitol Police zip ties sitting out in public and seized them, after which Munchel headed to where the vote was being counted in the Senate chamber, supporting a supposition he would have detained Senators if he had had the chance.

One of the Oath Keepers on the Zello channel Watkins was using (it’s unclear whether the government has IDed this person yet) told her she was executing a citizens arrest based on probable cause for treason and election fraud, implying a plan to detain members of Congress.

An individual directed, “You are executing citizen’s arrest. Arrest this assembly, we have probable cause for acts of treason, election fraud.” WATKINS responded, “We are in the mezzanine. We are in the main dome right now. We are rocking it. They are throwing grenades, they are fricking shooting people with paint balls. But we are in here.” An individual responded to WATKINS, telling her to be safe, and stated, “Get it, Jess. Do your fucking thing. This is what we fucking [unintelligible] up for. Everything we fucking trained for.”

That is, in both cases, there’s reason to suspect the intent was to detain members of Congress — possibly even Mike Pence himself — but that hasn’t been charged against either Munchel and his mom or the Oath Keepers.

The government also may have reason to believe the Oath Keepers conspiracy will ultimately merge with the Proud Boys conspiracy, putting the former on the hook for the violence of the latter.

There’s evidence, for example, that Oath Keeper co-conspirator Thomas Caldwell was trying to coordinate between the militias. By December 23, he described to someone what he knew of the Proud Boys’ plans.

Okay. I got your msg that maybe a whole bunch of you will be going to the rally which is great. [Person Two] and I are going for sure and as of now a bunch of the Oathkeepers from North Carolina whowe hosted here on the farm for the Million Maga march are coming up on one or two buses so that will be neat. I am expecting a big turn out of the Proud Boys (didn’t know until the last march that they had a chapter in Charlestown) and of course the local Vietnamese will probably have at least 2 bus loads like last time. We will keep in touch. I gotta get off my ass and get on parler. I picked up Signal which is a free app that is encrypted talk and text. Thats how I do some secure comms with the Oathkeepers.

On December 30, he reached out to someone in the Three Percenter movement and asked to be included in their plans.

“[A]re you and any of your fellow 3-percenters having any kind of meetings coming up to discuss the 6th of Jan in d.c. or just getting together? I would like to meet some of the guys if you think I ‘m cool enough.” That individual responded, “You can join our group if you want but you have to be veted before you can attend any training events or zoom meetings. Ill get with ya this evening.” In part, Caldwell replied, “Outstanding!”

While there’s no sign yet of a conspiracy charge against the Three Percenters, one of the three people charged together in beating a prone cop, Thomas Lopatic, wore Three Percenter clothes. The father who threatened to kill his kids if they reported his involvement (who mounted the scaffolding used in a flanking move in the breach), Guy Reffitt, is a member. Most intriguingly, Robert Gieswein, who marched with and coordinated with the Proud Boys in the original breach and is also charged with assaulting cops while wielding a baseball bat and some kind of spray, also has ties to the Three Percenters.

There’s also reason to believe that the December MAGA March provided a key networking opportunity in advance of January 6 — for example, Pezzola spent time there with Roger Stone bodyguard, Robert Minuta.

Indeed, one of the likely nodes between the two main militia groups charged with conspiracy is Roger Stone, who was hanging out with both of them. Heck, even Rudy Giuliani, a key proponent of a very different theory of law enforcement involving broken windows, could be such a node.

So it’s possible that as FBI exploits more communications and starts to flip cooperators, they’ll tie the coordinated actions of the various militia together. But they’re not there yet. And until they do that, it’s not clear that the government has the evidence to detain Oath Keeper foot soldiers or random militia sympathizers pre-trial.

The government makes a very good case that the far right — particularly these three groups — have plans to follow up on January 6, plans for which the existing leadership arrested as part of January 6 could play a key role. This is what I’ve pointed to repeatedly (most clearly with Munchel). January 6 was an unprecedented insurgent attack on the country. But that unprecedented attack can look like either civil disobedience involving legally owned weapons or a threat to the Republic. Because of that, it’s not entirely clear how the government’s attempts to detain key figures pre-trial will work out.

44 replies
  1. Silly but True says:

    Legal and law enforcement issues aside, as a matter of principle, I’m skeptical of the government’s argument of using the costs of damages to government property from the government’s acts against its opposition. It’s not like we’ve not already been engaged in a national dialogue of overzealous policing going on about ten years now. I’m not necessarily willing to pin the blank check on the opposition. Maybe if the government’s responses are so damaging to government, it should try to consider less damaging responses to people and property.

    • emptywheel says:

      Perhaps you’d like to share that comment in a thread or about an event where it was the government’s response that caused the damage?

      • Silly but True says:

        This is stated in your 6th paragraph of this very post, in the first cited text:
        “The Capitol suffered millions of dollars in damage-including broken windows and doors, graffiti, and residue from… …and by Capitol Police officers trying to restore order.”

        Federal prosecutors are holding the charged individuals accountable for damage that the US Government has done to the US Government.

        Again, I remain skeptical that some of the damage caused by federal law enforcement to federal buildings isn’t result of overzealous policing including area saturation of chemical agents.

        But thanks for the check!

        • subtropolis says:

          I saw nothing in the actions of any law enforcement present that day which could seriously be characterized as overzealous. That includes the point-blank shooting of one member of the mob. Do you have any post-action suggestions for how they might have peacefully resolved the situation sooner?

          • Silly but True says:

            I do: it is exactly the reason why Chief Sund resigned: acknowledgement that his mobilization decisions were woefully underprepared, which directly led to Capitol Police placing themselves in an overwhelmed reactionary position rather than being in control of the situation.

            This directly caused needless injuries to rioters, Capitol Police officers, and Capitol grounds, and forced Capitol Police into the situation of taking desperate measures while being breached and routed.

        • Rayne says:

          Provide evidence you’ve seen in any of the myriad photos or videos of the January 6 event which supports your skepticism.

          The problem with the January 6 event is that there was insufficient policing, not even an adequate level let alone an excess. On the face of it that day with several Capitol police taking photos with insurrectionists, it looked overtly racist — far more police were summoned for BLM protests this summer and excess of both city and federal personnel deployed including military resources, for a peaceful protest. But it’s become clear this was worse than inequitable policing since there were indications Women For America attendees were intent on violence; police and national guard were not prepared in advance, weren’t deployed before or during the WFA rally, and ordered hours after the insurrectionists made their way to the capitol building and past barriers.

          If anything assumptions policing is always and uniformly excess discourages appropriate preparedness for white supremacist/white nationalist domestic terror. The excess force used this summer against BLM may be the excuse we’ll hear for why CPD and national guard weren’t prepared or deployed to meet the threats on January 6: “Oh we had so many complaints, we didn’t want to make that same mistake again.”

          Christ, there wasn’t even adequate security video to identify the person who planted bombs. Contrast and compare to the manner in which videos were used against DisruptJ20 protesters.

        • PeterS says:

          I didn’t understand your initial comment at all, but if you want to make a point about overzealous policing why the holy fuck would you choose the events of 6 January to make the complaint?

          • RLHall says:

            Yes. Though one of the insurrectionists was shot and killed, it is an amazing fact that there was not a full fledged fire-fight.
            I’m a pacifist by nature, but if I was law enforcement and confronted by such an onslaught …
            If there is another such incident, I don’t think it will end with 5 or so deaths.

    • skua says:

      SbT was initially addressing the general case.
      On a thread about a specific case.
      While SbT stayed general the concerns raised were reasonable.
      But SbT quoting about damage done by Government in efforts to restore order in the Capitol on 1/6 makes this look like trolling by SbT.

      • Silly but True says:

        The allegation is that of US government that the US government contributed causing millions in damages to US government property. Full stop. First, let’s train law enforcement so they’re not causing millions in damages.

        But they long lost the assumption of reasonableness.

        These prosecutors would blame MOVE for city of Philadelphia dropping a satchel charge that wiped out nearly an entire neighborhood burning 61 homes to the ground.

        They would blame David Koresh because ATF illegally used incendiary grenades in contradiction to lawful rules of engagement that ignited teargas burning 76 people alive.

        So using damage caused by Capitol Police to try to hold people pre-trial is pile-on tactic by prosecution. Blame the accused for their own actions; that’s enough.

        • vvv says:

          This: “The allegation is that of US government that the US government contributed causing millions in damages to US government property.” does not foundation this: ” First, let’s train law enforcement so they’re not causing millions in damages.”

          The use of two incidents mentioned in attempted analogy is ridiculous, including their use of explosives which were not part of the damage caused at the capitol, much less IIRC during a planned attack in the case of the former and a planned response to a stand-off in the case of the latter. This was an emergency situation, and further, any damage arguably resulted from and in response to the illegal acts of the accused.

          And it’s not a “pile-on” – altho’ as described it’s an attempt to apply terrorism-related charges in a simplified and potentially non-disclosing-of-all-the-evidence manner. There is no apparent *misplaced* blame at all.

          • Silly but True says:

            Reiterating the government’s allegation: “ The Capitol suffered millions of dollars in damage-including broken windows and doors, graffiti, and residue from pepper spray, tear gas, and fire extinguishers deployed both by crowd members who stormed the Capitol and by Capitol Police officers trying to restore order.”

            When the costs are detailed and delineated as to which costs resulted from “crowd members” versus “Capitol Police,” then it will be much easier if Capitol Police need to be trained to not cause millions, or less. Right now, it’s the government’s allegation. And they need to more fully address your points.

            • bmaz says:

              This is absolute baloney, this distinction will NEVER be made. Never. To the extent restitution is directed, it will all be too those convicted, NOT the Capitol Police. This is just not happening, and it is silly to argue it.

              • Silly but True says:

                Of course it will never be made, because it serves as perfect justification for everything prosecutors & law enforcement can try to do after a bell is rung. This exact nature of this exact problem is and has been used to justify every single abusive act on government’s side, which is why they’ve lost benefit of doubt for me.

                • bmaz says:

                  It is a ridiculous argument to make If the fact that absolute nonsense like this is not being done is the basis for losing faith in government, your priorities are fairly off kilter.

                  • BobCon says:

                    It is the equivalent of arguing that the federal government should be held responsible for someone slashing El Greco’s Laocoon in the National Gallery or defacing an ancient petroglyph in a National Monument because they weren’t guarded better. Just so unfair to hold the perpetrator responsible for the costs of restoration!

  2. d4v1d says:

    Despite Trump’s delusions of being the next Constantine, these equally delusional foot soldiers were never going to turn the Capitol into the Milvian Bridge. For one thing, after promising ‘I’ll be there with you,’ old bone spurs went upstairs to watch it on the telly. Constantine, on the other hand, was on hand at the bridge – the Serb with a proven record of success and the first to unify the entire empire under a single emperor, who went and built out a city named for himself. Meanwhile, one of Trump’s many failures was demolished in New Jersey.

  3. harpie says:

    Oath Keeper CALDWELL coordinating with the other groups is really interesting. I hope we hear more about how The Three Percenters fit into all of this. This is part of a statement they made on 12/16/20, [ie: just AFTER the second Million MAGA rally on 12/12/20]:

    We stand ready and are standing by to answer the call from our President should the need arise that We The People are needed to take back our country from the pure evil that is conspiring to steal our country away from the American people. We are ready to enter into battle with General Flynn leading the charge.

    We will not act unless we are told to. And we will not act on our own as TTPO, but rather as a united body of American patriots.

    FLYNN spoke at that 12/12 rally’s “Jericho March” and OK MINUTA did security for him.

    …and the walls come a-tumbling down

    • harpie says:

      Why I emphasized that We The People:

      When OATH KEEPER leader Stuart RHODES traveled in support of MINUTA’s tattoo shop anti-covid-restrictions protest in Newburgh, NY, around Memorial Day, he had Minuta tatoo him with “We The People” in original Constitution script.

    • harpie says:

      Hunter Walker mentions seeing a THREE PERCENTER flag at about 1:30 of his livestream from the 1/6/21 March to the Capitol:
      11:08 AM · Feb 7, 2021

      And looking at FLYNN might ALSO bring in the QANON people:
      11:39 AM · Feb 14, 2021

      THREAD: QAnon was enabled in part by former military and intelligence professionals “gone wild.” They lent credibility to the myth and laundered QAnon messaging to the public, sometimes via E-list “influencers.” Here are some of the key personnel. /
      2/ MICHAEL T. FLYNN is at the very center of the Q operation. […]

      • harpie says:

        There’s info here from the Soufan Center:

        The Future of QAnon: Fringe Conspiracy or Acute Security Threat?
        February 16, 2021

        – – The QAnon conspiracy theory-based movement appears to have fractured following the inauguration of President Biden on January 20, 2021.
        – – There are efforts being made by a range of violent non-state actors to recruit disaffected QAnon members into their orbit.
        – – The QAnon movement is in flux and the most ardent members point to a new date – March 4 – as critical to the fight against the deep state.
        – – In its 100-day review of domestic extremism, the U.S. government should evaluate the dangers posed by the remnants of the QAnon conspiracy. […]

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Here are some visuals that may be helpful. Sometime in 2009 or 2010, I was working at the library’s reference desk when a young boy walked up and deliberately used his hand to flash his belt buckle at me. I immediately recognized it as a far right symbol (although I can’t recall what it was now.) Not wanting to feed into a weird conversation, I simply said “hello” and asked how old he was. He said he was 10 and then walked away. I wonder what he is doing these days…

      “Far-right symbols seen at the U.S. Capitol riot: What they mean and where they come from” – Washington Post, 1/15/21

      • Honeybee says:

        Around those same years, the kid came home from high school and said that the armed forces recruiter had zeroed in on a boy sporting a rebel flag belt buckle.

  4. Vinnie Gambone says:

    What can we make of Caldwell’s mention that of course the “local Vietnamese” will have two buses ?

    • skua says:

      Here we had many Vietnamese refugees arrive post-Vietnam War. They formed strong community groups. And a youth organisation that had meetings which included uniforms, flags, marching and lining up in squares. I understand that some dreamt of re-taking control of Vietnam. I wonder if something like this youth organisation has continued on. And been FoxNews-ed.

  5. John Forde says:

    BREAKING: Supreme Court without comment denies Trump request to keep tax records from Manhattan district attorney

    • Chris.EL says:

      Even though the release directive from SCOTUS has been in news all day — there’s a bit more: poor Donald Trump (apparently) thinks he is still President!!

      See Jim Acosta’s twitter page for Trump’s statement!

      Lots of Trump’s version of they’re being mean to me like no one has ever done before!!! Wwaaahh — I want my mommy!
      Noticed in Don Jr.’s video remarks he gestures repeatedly with his left hand — is Jr. left handed? Maybe he’s holding the camera with his right… Guns on the walls! Room rater might flunk Jr. #trumpcrimefamily

  6. OldTulsaDude says:

    My simplistic thinking makes me wonder why the insurrectionists, meaning everyone who made his or her way inside the capitol building, aren’t being charged with straightforward rebellion or insurrection – isn’t intent obvious?

    • Silly but True says:

      How would you characterize an independent social media reporter who was attending the Capitol to video arrival of marchers, sees 30% of Capitol Police, at least 8 explicitly waving people in, opening doors for entrants, and so he motions to go in and they sweep arm to let him in, and he enters, walks around to video, gets bored after 45 minutes, then walks back out?

  7. Spencer Dawkins says:

    “This is the same problem the government has — and will face on appeal — with Zip Tie Guy Eric Munchel and his mother, Lisa Eisenhart. While mother and son clearly had intent to obstruct the counting of the vote and Munchel came armed with a taser, there’s no evidence that they were working in concert with those who committed the violence or did the damage to the Capitol.”

    The good thing about these people is that apparently they couldn’t organize a Girl Scout cookie sale (as well as the Girl Scouts themselves could organize it), but the bad thing about these people is the same thing – in spite of efforts, including those detailed in this excellent post, to coordinate between groups, there are still a bunch of apparently unconnected individuals, wandering around in the Capitol (some with their mothers), and the government is having to try to understand each of those people in order to charge them appropriately.

    If everyone who breached the Capitol had arrived on the same buses, wore the same uniforms, carried the same flags, and communicated with the same leaders, the government’s job would be easier, but of course, they could never have made it that obvious.

  8. BobCon says:

    “nothing in the record thus far shows The Stack had a direct role in the damage to the Capitol.”

    That seems to be the hinge for me — is the lack of anything in the record so far a sign that they feds don’t have anything? Or is it they are just holding back from supplying more evidence until a future date?

    In part, I’m just not savvy enough about how investigations are conducted or the legal strategy.

    But I’m also pretty ignorant about what kind of evidence the suspects may have posted in the runup to 1/6, and the ability of the investigators to obtain it. It’s been shown some of these people are incredibly sloppy about openly writing about violent overthrow, but I am in the dark about whether some of the other suspects were smarter or not.

    • PeterS says:

      Like you, I feel I don’t know enough about the places in which these people talked to each other, and what is discoverable. I guess in some dark and ugly corners of the internet they were seeking guidance from people who claimed to speak for Trump or were thought to speak for him (I’m thinking of people around Flynn or Stone, not Q). But since the Big Lie began long before the election, I suspect that ideas like martial law and armed resistance were being promoted not just after November 3rd but in the months leading up to November 3rd.

  9. Badger Robert says:

    Peterson’s defense is a good structure. But eventually doesn’t fmr VP Pence testify that there was no discretion involved in the count ritual. Therefore the fmr Pres, and all those acting in coordination with him were trying to obstruct a ceremony, not persuade him to change his mind. Which is consistent with the reports I read that the fmr VP repeatedly refused to join the attempted coup. If not Pence, maybe fmr AG Barr and other very high ranking experts.
    It seems to me that Ms. Wheeler is heading in the direction that the fmr Pres will soon be an unnamed co-conspirator. If the DofJ starts getting convictions, that unnamed part could change. But there would have to be hundreds of convictions and sworn testimony about both the pre coup disruption and the delays on the day of the attempted coup.

    • Stacey says:

      Something in Badger Robert’s comments above struck me about Pence that points to an answer I’ve been wondering about.

      I’ve always thought it extremely weird that Pence would go to as much trouble as he did to leave several written and public answers to Trump’s wanting him to obstruct the count. In my mind, I’m like “Why are you being so obvious with the message to Trump that you’re NOT on this train with him, don’t you know that’s just going to poke the bear you’ve got to live with for another month yet?” Not very Pence-like, right?

      But what if Pence KNEW there was a conspiracy afoot regarding what was very likely to happen on the 6th and he wanted (well people advising him wanted, he’s not that smart) to have a public disavowal of the conspiracy ahead of time? Maybe he wasn’t talking to Trump, but to future prosecutors?

      Now, against that notion is the fact that he brought his whole family to the lynching, which was maybe just a white guy rookie mistake, but… maybe he like everyone else inside the building had no imagination as to how bad it was actually going to get. No one thought they were in any danger INSIDE the capital after all.

      If this theory is correct about Pence’s pre-knowledge, then he’s an interesting gold mine of a witness, if someone can deal with his untreated sycophancy condition first.

      • MB says:

        Uh-oh, duplicate acronyms ahead…Untreated Sycophancy Condition (USC) may lead to being charged under some U.S.C. § or other…

      • PeterS says:

        I don’t understand your point. As far as I can see, all Pence did is say, at almost the last minute, the equivalent of “no, the earth isn’t flat”.

  10. cd54 says:

    Much of the communications about this event transpired through social media, and the people involved sound like high-schoolers talking about a big game on Saturday. The inter-group contacts seem somewhat social themselves — until you remember the ultimate goal and the resulting violence.

    I think conspiracy to commit armed robbery is a better analog for detention purposes. And some of the participating members expressed willingness to kill and or die to stop the electoral vote counting. The most important reason to get to the top level of the conspiracy.

  11. Leoghann says:

    One thing that politicians and intentional criminals have in common is the need for plausible deniability. In attempting to parse the various states of mind of the various actors in the insurrection, I’ve found it helpful to keep plausible deniability in mind.

    In re: Pence, it seems that, around the end of December, he began to realize that those urging him to reject the votes of the swing states’ electors were serious, rather than acting out for right-wing media outlets. He began to state, more and more plainly (a chore for Pence), that he did not have that kind of authority. This gave him plausible deniability, although it was aimed toward the remaining members of the White House staff, and their boss was/is one for which no denial is sufficient.

    On 06 January though, Pence’s denial, part of his Untreated Sycophancy Syndrome, allowed him to tell himself, “oh, it won’t be THAT bad,” so he brought his family with him to the party. Watkins and her lawyer, poor things, appear to be so stupid that they think anything in the way of denial of responsibility that they happen to throw at the wall is acceptable, or might be, even if it means regularly changing her story.

    Apparently it never occurred to Watkins that almost everything she did during the planning phase was illegal. Most of the gaggle of thugs at the insurrection were just following the movement, and have been so taken in by the lie machine that they assumed everything would be all right. They were acting “under orders” from the President of the United States.

    But people like Sullivan, Tarrio, Caldwell, Stone,, are used to needing plausible deniability, so they either made it a point to be elsewhere during the execution of the attempted coup that they themselves had planned, with readily-available witnesses to their whereabouts. Some were not even in Washington. Some lingered a bit after the rally, and then were able to get time-stamped photos of themselves outside of the restricted area around Capitol Building. The Oath Keepers who formed “the Stack” planned to be part of the takeover, but they seem to have made it a point to show up, in formation and well marked, late enough that the physical damage of breaking and entering had already been accomplished.

    Of course, video evidence is still being uncovered or released, and there may be some that put some of these cagier people in the midst of the action, or even in the act of injuring an on-duty LEO. But I’m of the notion that effective prosecution of these guys will lie in the conspiracy charges.

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. FYI, your comment was edited — paragraph and line returns added — to improve readability. Solid blocks of text in excess of 100 words are difficult to read, especially on mobile devices. Optimum comment length shouldn’t exceed 300 words; this comment clocked in at 441. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  12. Vinnie Gambone says:

    Only those who go too far find out how far they can go. All those who evidence shows continued to roam the halls were to some degree seeing how far they would go before someone stopped them. Those who can be proven to have been acting out pre approved plan should be prosecuted to the fullest. Some of those who assaulted police after 2pm may have never imagined at 9AM they’d be in hand to hand combat with police later that day. In my city you attack a police officer you very often get shot. If the invaders were black we would have found out Capitol police do have machine guns. Even just some warning shots in the air. I so hope they get that ferret face roger stone. It would seem these groups would not be difficult to infiltrate. After Michigan, Wiscosin, Portland, and all the other battle sites, you would hope the feds would have infiltrated. Donnie Brasco may still jump out of the cake, but if he doesn’t the FBI failed colossally.

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