Everyone involved in the assault on the Capitol and sedition must face charges

Donald Trump, sedition, Coup d'état, coup, Washington D.C., Washington DC

“Trump Inciter in Chief 2021: What the hell do you have to lose?” Illustration courtesy of Chuck Todd; www.chucktodd.net.

As you’re all probably aware, on Wednesday a large group of pro-fascist insurgents breached, occupied and ransacked the United States Capitol while both the House and Senate were in session.

First, we are not calling these people protestors. They were not protesting. We can call them something accurate like insurgents, insurrectionists, traitors or terrorists. And we will.

Second, we will not be saying “this is not who we are” or anything like it. It clearly, objectively is who we are. It happened. Not only that but it’s something we’ve inflicted on nations around the world for their natural resources and, in one notable case, bananas. Unless we accept and admit that it’s exactly who we are it will continue to be exactly who we are.

With that out of the way, on to the matter at hand. We all expected this to happen. The insurrectionists had been planning their sedition in the open for quite a while. The question most of us had wasn’t whether something would happen in Washington, D.C. today but how bad things would get in the streets.

Unfortunately there was one factor that caught many of us by surprise: The United States Capitol Police, one of the largest and most highly trained police departments in the nation charged specifically with protecting the Capitol and members of Congress, simply let it happen.

There are photos of Capitol Police officers casually standing by, arms at their sides, as a group of terrorists tries to force their way into the House chambers. There’s video of a Capitol Police officer posing for selfies with a group of terrorists as they force their way into a Congressmember’s office to rob and ransack it. There’s even a video of Capitol Police officers moving a baricate for a group of terrorists so they can rush in to the Capitol to join their compatriots.

When there was a Black Lives Matter protest in Washington, D.C., the Capitol had full-blown combat troops with assault rifles lined up on the steps in full body armor. In fact peaceful Black Lives Matter protests across the country were gassed and shot with bean bags and rubber bullets. If there’s one thing 21st century police are good at it’s excessive force.

But we should have known this would happen. Those instances of excessive force were against Black people opposing Trump’s policies, and these were white people leading a violent coup to install Trump as dictator despite losing the election. Police, in the 21st century, have signaled their overwhelming support for Trump and an overwhelming disdain for the public.

Lots of people need to stand trial for what happened today. Donald Trump, obviously, is at the top of the list, along with his children. The Senators and Representatives who perpetuated the lies that the insurgents used as their justification—Sen. Josh Hawley and Sen. Ted Cruz most of all—need to be expelled from Congress and face charges for sedition. The propagandists masquerading as journalists, people like Tucker Carlson and Lou Dobbs among others, need to stand trial for inciting this violence. And obviously the hundreds of people who breached the Capitol, though they were allowed to simply walk away, should be found based on the photos and videos and stand trial for… basically everything.

But on top of that, Congress should use its authority over the Capitol Police to investigate who gave the order to stand down and let the mob put Congressmembers’ lives at risk. It’s utterly inconceivable that they were caught unaware, the protest (sedition) was highly advertised and they showed much more force for less, so the only logical explanation is that they knew but someone decided to let it happen. Then whoever gave the order should be prosecuted, along with the officers who carried that order out, for, at minimum, dereliction of duty and possibly sedition or treason depending on the degree of their involvement.

Calls for unity must take a back seat to justice. There must be consequences for the actions of everyone involved. This happened in part because so many crimes have gone unpunished for so long, so it must end now. Unity can happen after justice is done. Everyone, from the soon-to-be-former President to the officer posing for photos, must face trial.

— Editors Daniel J. Willis, Roman Gokhman, Tim Hoffman, Chloe Catajan, Punitma Malhotra; Karen Goldman, Sara London and the rest of the staff.

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