Liberal lawfare specialists like MSNBC’s Neal Katyal are feeling encouraged that Donald Trump will be indicted over January 6th after the Biden DOJ’s successful conviction of right-wing militia members on historically rare “seditious conspiracy” charges.
Katyal told MSNBC’s The Beat that the outcome of the Oath Keepers trial has increased the odds Trump will be “prosecuted for January 6 crimes.”
Trump enemies emboldened by sedition conviction
“Seditious conspiracy” charges are exceedingly rare, and the Justice Department’s decision to pursue the politically charged case was controversial, with some questioning if the burden of proof was too high.
But the convictions Tuesday of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and another militia member left anti-Trump pundits boasting that Trump will be held accountable for an alleged criminal conspiracy to stop the “peaceful transfer of power.”
Former FBI official Andy McCabe said that Attorney General Merrick Garland is sending a “very loud message” that “we can do this, we can put on these complicated, high-stakes political cases and get verdicts against you.”
Meanwhile, Katyal speculated that a new special counsel appointed by Garland, Jack Smith, may be looking to prove an overlap between Trump and the Oath Keepers in the events following the 2020 election.
“I think the interesting point there, and I suspect Jack Smith, the special prosecutor, is looking at this, how does the timeline of Rhodes compare with what Trump was doing and saying publicly and what he was doing privately as well?” Katyal said.
Almost two years after the Capitol riot, no evidence has emerged that Trump conspired to incite violence on January 6th, and in fact, Trump urged protesters to remain peaceful.
But prosecutors in the Oath Keepers case argued that the defendants were part of a plot to stop the 2020 election’s certification by force that did not specifically involve storming the Capitol.
The DOJ has been building a similar case against Trump, focusing broadly on his actions surrounding the 2020 election rather than January 6th itself.
Katyal conceded that proving a politically explosive sedition charge against Trump, a former president who 74 million people voted for in 2020, would be difficult, but added that the Oath Keepers case opens up doors for Trump to be charged with other crimes like obstruction of an official proceeding.
Trump, who is officially running for president in 2024, has blasted the Biden DOJ’s various probes into him as an unprecedented attempt to weaponize the Justice Department against a political rival.