Thu. Dec 1st, 2022

Key events

The Oath Keepers do not dispute that some of their members were around the Capitol on Jan. 6, but jurors must believe they entered the building in an attempt to stop Joe Biden’s election victory from being confirmed. Whether prosecutors succeed in doing so will be key to determining whether they win a conviction in the seditious conspiracy case. Here’s more from the Associated Press on the results of the trial so far:

As angry supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol, ready to smash windows and beat police officers, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes hailed them as patriots and harkened back to the battle that started the American Revolutionary War.

“Next comes our Lexington,” Rhodes told his fellow far-right extremists in a message on Jan. 6, 2021. “It’s coming.”

Jurors will begin weighing his words and actions Tuesday, after nearly two months of testimony and deliberations in the criminal trial of Rhodes and four co-defendants. Closing arguments in the defense concluded late Monday.

Hundreds of people were convicted in the attack that injured dozens of police, lawmakers fled for their lives and shook the foundations of American democracy. Now, jurors in the case against Rhodes and four associates will decide for the first time whether the actions of any of the Jan. 6 defendants constituted a seditious conspiracy — a rarely used charge that carries both significant prison time and political weight.

The jury’s verdict could address the misconception that the 2020 presidential election was rigged, coming shortly after 2022 midterm results in which voters rejected Trump’s handpicked Republican candidates who supported his baseless claims of fraud. The outcome could also shape the future of the Justice Department’s massive and costly prosecution of the rebellion, which some conservatives have sought to portray as politically motivated.

Failure to secure a conviction for the seditious plot could spell trouble for another high-profile trial starting next month against former Proud Boys national president Enrique Tarrio and other leaders of the extremist group. The Justice Department’s Jan. 6 investigation also expanded beyond those who attacked the Capitol to focus on others connected to Trump’s efforts to overturn the election.

At the Oath Keepers trial, prosecutors built their case using dozens of coded messages sent in the weeks leading up to January 6. They show Rhodes rallying his followers to fight in Trump’s defense and warning that he may have to “raise a rebellion”.

“We’re not going to get through this without a civil war. Prepare your mind, body and spirit,” he wrote shortly after the 2020 election.

The jury begins deliberating in the trial against the Oath Keepers rebel conspiracy

Good morning, readers of the American political blog. A federal jury in Washington begins deliberating in the trial of five members of the Oath Keeper militia, including its founder Stewart Rhodes. The group has been charged with seditious conspiracy, a rarely used charge that prosecutors say is an apt way to describe the alleged plot they attempted on Jan. 6 to stop Joe Biden since taking office. The trial will be an important indicator of whether the government can win convictions against the most violent actors in the insurgency, and a verdict could come at any time.

Here’s what else is happening today:

  • First House Republican Kevin McCarthy is visiting Border Patrol personnel in El Paso, Texas. Expect them to talk about the GOP plan to address the surge in migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border when they take control of the House next year and criticize Joe Bidensolving the situation.

  • Biden going to Nantucket, Massachusetts, this afternoon for the Thanksgiving holiday.

  • Anthony Fauci and co-ordinator for the response to Covid-19 Ashish Jha will appear at the daily White House press briefing at 11:30 a.m. ET, where he will likely address the threat of the coronavirus during the holiday season.