All throughout 2021 the Democrats have been trying to exploit the 1/6 Capitol Hill Riot for political gain and disgruntled Republicans have been happy to join in. Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and former chair of the House Republican Caucus voted to impeach Trump over the 1/6 riots, as did ten other House Republicans. Six Senate Republicans voted to convict. Columnist George Will, a giant of the post-war Conservative movement declared, ‘I’d like to see Jan. 6 burned into the American mind as firmly as 9/11.’ Steve Schmidt, former John McCain presidential campaign strategist and co-founder of the ostensibly Republican Lincoln Project said, ‘The 1/6 attack for the future of the country was a profoundly more dangerous event than the 9/11 attacks.’
The Democrats are indeed trying to frame the 1/6 Capitol Hill riot as a modern equivalent to Pearl Harbor or 9/11. The House passed a bill establishing a commission on par with the Pearl Harbor and 9/11 commissions to investigate the Capitol Hill riot. Senate Republicans filibustered the measure. Pelosi went ahead and established a select House Committee to investigate the events of 1/6 and offered a seat to the above mentioned Liz Cheney, who accepted. Cheney is a Republican outcast, removed from her leadership role by her colleagues and condemned by her state’s Republican Party. This observer once thought Cheney might be able to salvage her political career. Afterall, back home in Wyoming, Cheney is a big name. No longer. Liz Cheney has made common cause with the Democrats. Once groomed for House Speaker, Liz Cheney’s next job will most likely be as a television talking head on CNN or MSNBC.
The Democrats say the Capitol Hill riot was a dangerous insurrection and refer to its participants as ‘insurrectionists’. Some organizations such as the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, rightwing groups who play at being an armed militia, were indeed at the 1/6 Stop the Steal protest. But many tens of thousands were simply Trump supporters who believed the Democrats stole the election via last minute changes in election laws and outright ballot box stuffing. Of course the Stop the Steal rally’s end result was a riot in which several hundred people overcame the Capitol Police, stormed the Hill and interrupted the Electoral College certification for a few hours. Four people died that day, one of them Air Force veteran Ashlii Babbit, who was shot point blank while climbing through a window leading to the Speaker’s Lobby.
Just who shot Ashlii Babbit has been a matter of some controversy. The Capitol Police have refused to release the shooter’s name, as is common procedure in the United States. But internet sleuths have been combing over video footage of the 1/6 riot and public utterances by House members and the Sergeant at Arms. Last week Real Clear Investigations ran a story, based on their own investigation and that of the Babbitt family attorney, claiming that Lt. Michael L. Byrd shot Babbitt. The Capitol Police have neither confirmed nor denied the allegation.
For months the FBI has been tracking down persons who entered the Capitol on 1/6. This hasn’t exactly been a difficult task, as numerous independent reporters were live streaming from the Capitol grounds and inside the building itself. Also, hundreds of trespassers posted photos of themselves on social media. More than 500 people have been arrested and hundreds held in Washington DC. The FBI is looking for a further three hundred persons whom they plan to charge, including more than 200 accused of fighting with police. Over 130 police suffered some kind of injury. Officer Brian Sicknick suffered a stroke the next day and died. Charges range from conspiracy, to obstructing an official proceeding (the certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote) to mere trespassing. Many persons are being held in solitary confinement as they are deemed security threats by the Feds. The Feds claim in court filings that theirs is ‘likely the most complex investigation ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.’ So far, no trials have taken place and 13 persons have pleaded guilty.
The first person to plead guilty (to parading, a misdemeanor) was an Indiana grandmother of five who was sentenced to 3 years’ probation, 40 hours of community service and $500 restitution. In another case the FBI recently arrested a man from Glenshaw Pennsylvania and charged him with assault and robbery and other offenses. Among the evidence presented by the Feds was a half-constructed Lego set of the United States Capitol Building. So far, not one defendant has been charged with sedition or treason. Those aren’t a lot of flashy convictions for the FBI’s ‘complex investigation’ into an insurrection. Perhaps the Feds will get more flash out of their prosecution of Jacob Chansley, better known as the Qanon Shamon; the shirtless, horn wearing, flag waving de-facto face of the Capitol Hill riots. He’s been charged with two felonies and four misdemeanors and faces 20 years.