Here’s the thing about Attorney General Merrick Garland: for all the heat he takes from those on social media who don’t understand how any of this stuff works (and the pundits who dishonestly pander to them), he just keeps winning. He spent 2021 taking down the Capitol attackers and flipping them upward, culminating in the indictment of the Oath Keepers leadership in January 2022. This month they finally went on trial, in accordance with how the court system works. And yesterday the DOJ secured guilty verdicts against all of them – including seditious conspiracy verdicts against two of them.
As much as this kind of verdict seemed obvious and inevitable, it wasn’t. The fact that seditious conspiracy charges only stuck against two of the defendants is a reminder that these kinds of charges can’t just be dished out arbitrarily and expected to stick. It takes an overwhelming criminal case to get a seditious conspiracy conviction out of a trial jury. And sure enough, Merrick Garland and his DOJ just got two of them.
The leader of the Oath Keepers is going to prison for most or all of the rest of his life – and his domestic terrorist group’s entire leadership is going to prison for some amount of time. January 6th has, at long last, been determined to have been an insurrection against the United States in a court of law. And this is just the beginning.
Merrick Garland has now put Special Counsel Jack Smith in charge of bringing all criminal charges against Donald Trump. This includes everything from stealing classified secrets to, yes, January 6th. Going forward, Smith will be the face of these kinds of prosecutions, and people will forget that Smith is Garland’s guy. As we head into this new phase, it’s fitting that Garland has scored yet another major victory for justice and democracy.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report