The sentencing of Steve Bannon, a longtime confidant of Donald Trump and harsh critic of the Joe Biden regime, wasn’t the only action at the Elijah Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in Washington, D.C. on Friday. Around the same time U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols announced his decision to send Bannon to prison for four months following his contempt of Congress conviction, Nichols’ colleagues were handling several cases related to the Department of Justice’s massive investigation into the events of January 6, 2021.
In separate courtrooms last Friday, three men were sentenced to years in prison for their involvement in the Capitol protest, including Matthew Bledsoe of Mississippi, who will spend four years in jail after a D.C. jury found him guilty of obstruction of an official proceeding, a nonviolent felony. A man from Kentucky pleaded guilty to one count of civil disorder in another courtroom. And in courtroom 23A, five members of the Oath Keepers, a so-called “militia” group according to federal prosecutors, entered the fourth week of their seditious conspiracy jury trial.
Once again last week—similar to every other week—the Prettyman courthouse was overrun with January 6 cases; arraignments, detention hearings, status conferences, and plea agreements routinely swamp the daily calendar of nearly two-dozen federal judges in the nation’s capital. A press release issued by Matthew Graves, the Biden campaign advisor and current U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia responsible for the unprecedented criminal investigation and grand jury proceedings targeting Donald Trump, bragged that “more than 880 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 270 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.”
But Graves’ office is just getting started. The Justice Department recently warned that the government plans to more than double that number over the next few months. “Prosecutors estimate that more than 2,000 people actually entered the Capitol unlawfully that day, which means hundreds more arrests are likely in the months to come,” Politico reported in July. (Graves on Monday also announced the appointment of two D.C.-based prosecutors to investigate voting fraud in the 2022 election and combat “discrimination and intimidation at the polls.”)
New arrests are announced each week in what can only be considered at this point a punative legal crusade against Americans who protested Biden’s election that day.
The prosecution has nothing to do with justice or public safety and everything to do with retaliation and revenge. Further, the overwhelming majority of charges are misdemeanor offenses that nonetheless result in terrifying FBI raids, bankruptcies, job losses, media harassment, and destroyed families for those targeted. The government is undefeated in more than a dozen jury trials for January 6 defendants; jurors living in perhaps the most hyperpartisan city in the country have convicted every Capitol protester on every count in record time as judges refuse to move trials out of Washington, D.C.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco now wants more money to continue what she started in 2016 as a close advisor to Barack Obama—take down Donald Trump and everyone around him. An original architect of the Russia collusion hoax, Monaco is managing the day-to-day details of the “Capitol siege” investigation and demanding $34.1 million to hire at least 80 more assistant U.S. attorneys just to prosecute January 6 defendants.
“Funding will be used to address caseloads resulting from the January 6, 2021, insurrection that disrupted a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress,” the department explained in its 2023 budget request. “The prosecution efforts, which are being led by the USAO for the District of Columbia (DC), remain ongoing. In response to that attack, the USAO-DC has undertaken an extraordinary effort to hold accountable those who engaged in criminal acts that day and is committed to using every appropriate tool to punish those criminal acts.”
That figure is $3 million more than the Justice Department wants for new prosecutors to address the country’s violent crime surge. In fact, the government is diverting government lawyers involved in other criminal matters to handle January 6 cases. During a March press briefing, Monaco described the January 6 investigation as the most “complex” and “wide-ranging” in department history.
“We are going to hold those perpetrators accountable no matter where the facts lead us,” Monaco said. “But doing those cases draws on resources from across U.S. attorneys’ offices. Those same resources that are needed to fight violent crime.”
Denying additional funds—and eventually eliminating Graves’ office entirely—should be a no-brainer for House Republicans. But, of course, never doubt the penchant of brain-dead, tone-deaf GOP politicians to feed the hand that bites them. Representative Tom Cole (R-Okla.) recently told NBC news that January 6 defendants should have the book thrown at them. “I don’t have any problem spending extra money to make sure that anybody that broke into this building is brought to justice.”
He should—and so too should every Republican member of Congress. Cutting off the spigot of federal tax dollars to the Justice Department’s abusive prosecution of Trump supporters is indeed a no-brainer. That, of course, is no guarantee they will.