Facing intensifying criticism from Democratic lawmakers, journalists, and even some federal judges for not seeking harsher punishment against January 6 protesters, Attorney General Merrick Garland finally produced charges to appease his detractors. Last week, more than a year after the so-called insurrection, Garland charged 11 members of the Oath Keepers with seditious conspiracy.
The star of the new indictment, handed down by a grand jury on January 12, is Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the alleged militia group. (His co-defendants were charged with several other offenses months ago.)
Rhodes, described only as “person one” for nearly a year in numerous criminal indictments related to his organization, has been a free man since January 6, 2021, raising plausible suspicions that he may have been a government informant at the time. After all, the FBI has a longstanding pattern of infiltrating fringe groups such as the Oath Keepers and moving them to commit indictable crimes.
At least one federal judge handling several Capitol protest criminal cases is paying attention to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s show trial about the events of January 6.
Judge Thomas Hogan, 83, who has served on the D.C. District Court for nearly 40 years, referred to public testimony given last week by four law enforcement officers while he scolded a husband and wife over their involvement in the protest.
“[H]e begins by talking about the violence, and makes clear he listened to the police officers who testified before Congress last week about their experience, and notes the recent suicide of [a Metropolitan Police Department] officer,” Zoe Tillman, a reporter for BuzzFeed, live-tweeted during the couple’s sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump has appointed and the Senate has confirmed 220 Article III federal judges through Nov. 1, 2020, his fourth year in office. This is the second-most Article III judicial appointments through this point in all presidencies since Jimmy Carter (D). The Senate had confirmed 260 of Carter’s appointees at this point in his term.
The average number of federal judges appointed by a president through Nov. 1 of their fourth year in office is 200.