Debunking the Pro-Trump Right’s Claims About the Jan. 6 Riot

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A rally scheduled for Saturday successful Washington is intended to proceed a Republican effort to rewrite the communicative of the battle connected the Capitol. The facts undercut their assertions.

A obstruction   enactment     successful  spot  aft  the riot connected  Jan. 6 was reinstalled astir   the Capitol this week.
Credit...T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Sept. 17, 2021, 5:00 a.m. ET

In the 8 months since a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, immoderate Republicans person tried to physique a lawsuit — belied by the facts — that the immense national probe of the riot has been fundamentally unfair, its targets the victims of governmental persecution.

The radical charged successful the Jan. 6 onslaught are “being persecuted truthful unfairly,” erstwhile President Donald J. Trump said successful a connection connected Thursday.

That sentiment is the organizing rule down the rally scheduled successful Washington connected Saturday, billed arsenic “Justice for J6.” According to the licence exertion submitted by the organizers, a radical called Look Ahead America, the lawsuit is meant to “bring consciousness and attraction to the unjust and unethical attraction of nonviolent Jan. 6 governmental prisoners.”

The rally is the latest effort successful the right’s continuing effort to rewrite the past of the mob onslaught connected Congress, which prosecutors accidental led to arsenic galore arsenic 1,000 assaults against the constabulary and sought to disrupt certification of President Biden’s triumph successful the 2020 election.

Here is what the facts accidental astir assertions from those seeking to beforehand a mendacious communicative astir Jan. 6.

One of the archetypal claims that pro-Trump conservatives made astir Jan. 6 was that the rioters were small much than tourists and that those arrested were victims of prosecutorial overreach. Representative Andrew Clyde, Republican of Georgia, described the country astatine the Capitol that time arsenic “a mean tourer visit,” implying that hundreds of radical taken into custody were facing excessive charges.

But, successful fact, astir fractional of the much than 600 radical charged person been accused lone of misdemeanors similar trespassing and disorderly conduct, alternatively than much superior felonies.

At this point, much than 50 of these low-level defendants person pleaded guilty. All of them volition service situation presumption of six months oregon less, oregon nary clip astatine each — reasonably humble sentences for the national penal system. But adjacent erstwhile the authorities person agreed to lenient penalties, they person inactive insisted that nary 1 who broke into the Capitol is innocent.

“A riot cannot hap without rioters,” prosecutors wrote successful a caller memo proposing nary jailhouse clip for Valerie Ehrke, a California pistillate who lone spent 1 infinitesimal successful the building. “And rioter’s actions — from the astir mundane to the astir convulsive — contributed, straight and indirectly, to the unit and demolition of that day.”

At an lawsuit past period hosted by Republican officials successful his location authorities of North Carolina, Representative Madison Cawthorn repeated an oft-heard myth. He complained that hundreds of radical taken into custody aft Jan. 6 were “political hostages.”

The information is that astir 15 percent of those arrested truthful acold successful transportation with the riot person been denied bail and stay successful pretrial custody — overmuch little than the wide national pretrial detention complaint of 75 percent. Moreover, each of those being detained connected charges related to Jan. 6 are facing superior charges similar battle oregon obstruction of Congress; nary person been accused of lone misdemeanors.

Far from jailing everyone, successful fact, judges person granted bail to galore defendants accused of convulsive attacks connected the constabulary oregon of belonging to extremist groups similar the Proud Boys oregon the Oath Keepers militia.

There are a fistful of cases successful which radical person been denied bail without having engaged successful carnal violence, but those are the exceptions to the rule.

This week, a lawyer for Ethan Nordean, a person of the Proud Boys, complained successful tribunal that his lawsuit has been successful jailhouse for months not due to the fact that of thing helium personally did connected Jan. 6, but alternatively due to the fact that helium is simply a subordinate of a reviled governmental organization.

Judge Timothy J. Kelly, who was appointed to the national seat by Mr. Trump, responded that the instrumentality unsocial was guiding Mr. Nordean’s case.

“Politics has thing to bash with it,” Judge Kelly said. “Not 1 whit.”


Credit...T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

The assertion has go a staple connected the right: Trump supporters were charged with convulsive crimes successful the Capitol onslaught due to the fact that of their blimpish beliefs portion galore leftist activists had akin charges stemming from the radical justness protests past twelvemonth successful cities similar Portland, Ore., reduced oregon dismissed.

This summer, a Jan. 6 suspect named Garret Miller filed tribunal papers making that argument. Mr. Miller, who lives successful Dallas, claimed helium had been “treated otherwise by the authorities than the Portland rioters based upon the authorities involved,” his lawyer wrote.

In rebutting these claims, the authorities argued determination was nary examination betwixt the protests past twelvemonth prompted by the execution of George Floyd successful Minneapolis and the storming of the Capitol. While prosecutors acknowledged that those arrested during weeks of unrest astatine the Portland national courthouse had committed “serious offenses,” they insisted that the rioters successful Washington were progressive successful “a singular and chilling event” that threatened not lone the Capitol but besides “democracy itself.”

Trying to explicate wherefore galore cases successful the radical justness protests were yet dismissed, prosecutors besides said they person overmuch amended grounds against Capitol rioters similar Mr. Miller than they ever had against protesters successful Portland. Among the worldly they collected aft Jan. 6 were thousands of hours of video footage from surveillance and assemblage cameras worn by the police, and hundreds of thousands of societal media posts.

A fewer months aft Mr. Miller filed his claims, The Associated Press published an analysis of much than 300 transgression cases stemming from the protests incited by Mr. Floyd’s murder. The investigation undercut the statement that pro-Trump defendants were treated much harshly than Black Lives Matter protesters, showing that galore leftist rioters had received important sentences.

Perhaps the loudest grievances astir Capitol defendants interest the jailhouse conditions of those denied bail.

The accusations person been galore and wide-ranging. Some defendants person complained of being locked successful their cells for 23 hours a time successful what amounts to solitary confinement. Others person claimed that they person been denied the close to clasp spiritual services and that their hygiene needs person been restricted.

One defendant, charged with assaulting the police, has said that helium was zip-tied and past “savagely” beaten by a correctional serviceman successful the District of Columbia jail, according to his lawyer. The battle resulted successful a breached nose, a dislocated jaw and the nonaccomplishment of show successful the man’s close eye.

Jail, of course, is simply a unspeakable spot to be, careless of one’s politics. But astatine slightest truthful far, nary 1 has offered grounds that the authorities person imposed harsh conditions connected Jan. 6 defendants due to the fact that of their governmental beliefs.

A spokeswoman for the District of Columbia jailhouse said the 23-hour lockdown was not imposed solely connected the Capitol defendants but was a aesculapian proviso utilized passim the jailhouse to curb the dispersed of the coronavirus. It has precocious been lifted, she said.

Prosecutors person taken a ineligible hazard successful the mode they person chosen to prosecute scores of Capitol cases. The imaginable occupation concerns the usage of a national obstruction instrumentality to complaint radical with disrupting Congress’s certification of the Electoral College vote. Lawyers for immoderate of the defendants are challenging the Justice Department successful tribunal implicit usage of the law, but pro-Trump activists person yet to marque it a large nationalist issue.

Instead of utilizing politically fraught and hard-to-prove charges similar sedition oregon insurrection to picture the effort to artifact certification of the predetermination results, the Justice Department utilized a overmuch much measured — albeit caller — law: obstruction of an authoritative proceeding.

The instrumentality is not a cleanable lucifer for what happened connected Jan. 6; indeed, it had ne'er earlier been utilized successful a concern similar the Capitol attack.

Passed successful 2002 arsenic portion of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a firm overhaul law, the measurement was devised to prohibit things similar shredding documents oregon tampering with witnesses. Several lawyers person filed papers arguing that the instrumentality does not use to the riot astatine the Capitol. Two national judges person signaled that they mightiness hold and could determine to flip the complaint for much than 200 defendants.

The Justice Department’s usage of the obstruction instrumentality is arguably the astir governmental determination prosecutors person made to date. After all, arsenic immoderate defence lawyers person noted, the authorities did not usage the aforesaid complaint successful 2018 erstwhile left-wing activists swarmed the Capitol to protestation the Supreme Court information of Brett Kavanaugh.

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