A federal judge delivered a blistering rebuke of Republican Party leaders Tuesday for what she said was a cynical attempt to stoke false claims of election fraud of the kind that fueled the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said former President Donald Trump had turned his lies about the election into a litmus test for Republican candidates and that “high-ranking members of Congress and state officials” are “so afraid of losing their power” that they won’t contradict him. That fealty, she said, comes even as law enforcement and judges involved in cases related to the former president are facing unprecedented threats of violence.
It’s up to the judiciary, she added, to help draw the line against those dangers.
“The judiciary … has to make it clear: It is not patriotism, it is not standing up for America to stand up for one man — who knows full well that he lost — instead of the Constitution he was trying to subvert,” said Jackson, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama.
In addition, Jackson said, Trump and his allies are using rhetoric about the multiple criminal probes connected to Trump that contain dangerous undertones.
“Some prominent figures in the Republican Party … are cagily predicting or even outright calling for violence in the streets if one of the multiple investigations doesn’t go his way,” Jackson said.
The judge’s tough remarks came as she delivered a sentence to Jan. 6 defendant Kyle Young, who pleaded guilty to assaulting D.C. Police Officer Michael Fanone in some of the most brutal violence that occurred during the attack on the Capitol. Jackson sentenced Young to 86 months in prison, one of the stiffest sentences handed down, after describing his “enthusiastic” participation in the mob violence against Fanone, including by passing a taser to another rioter who used it on Fanone’s neck. Young, she noted, was accompanied amid the mob by his 16-year-old son.
But her most notable comments were directed not at Young but at Trump and GOP leaders themselves, describing them repeatedly as so beholden to “one man” that it has become “heresy” for Republicans to contradict his claims of election fraud. [Continue reading…]