Tuesday’s convictions of five Oath Keepers — including founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes and top deputy Kelly Meggs who were found guilty of the gravely serious charge of seditious conspiracy — may seem like game-winning goals, but they’re just critical points the Justice Department put on the board right before halftime. The government’s successful prosecution sidelines some strong players, but the captains and coaches we have reason to suspect called the shots on Jan. 6, 2021 (former President Donald Trump and his minions) remain on the field.
To win the game, special counsel Jack Smith, who’s been appointed to investigate Trump’s role in the violence of Jan. 6, needs to use the same playbook that worked against the Oath Keepers. That is, he should be looking to see if seditious conspiracy and obstruction of Congress charges are warranted for Trump and those in his inner circle.
After eight weeks of testimony, it took the jury only three days to return its verdicts. The swiftness of the jury’s deliberations and the potential similarities between what those defendants did and what we know about Trump and his high-profile cohorts, should encourage the independent counsel to at least consider, if not pursue, such a case. Smith, and his boss, Attorney General Merrick Garland, may ultimately decide that there are more palatable alternatives to charging Trump and his advisers with crimes punishable with decades in prison, but I believe Smith has valid predication to explore using the same charges applied to the Oath Keepers. [Continue reading…]