Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Trump and the January 6 defendants

Jerry Stratton, January 10, 2024

Admiral Ackbar: It’s a trap!: Admiral Ackbar, “It’s a trap!” for January 6 and Trump.; Star Wars; January 6

I recently read Cynthia Hughes’s Due Process Denied. She’s not a professional writer, and in a book like this that’s a benefit. Her story about how she became involved with the January 6 prisoners runs the gamut from emotional to rambling to prayerful to humorous.

This is the kind of book that we need more of: inexperienced writers telling a story they’re compelled to tell because they have a unique perspective on an important event. Hughes experienced January 6 through her nephew-from-another-family who, like many, was allowed into the Capitol by the Capitol Police and was then arrested for it.

Unlike Julie Kelly, who does great work as a professional journalist, Hughes really is just an American who happened to see evil happen to someone she loves and decided to do something about it. Her Patriot Freedom Project grew from a weekly support chat for families of those held without bail to a fund for helping them survive the loss of breadwinners and jobs, as well as a referral service for helping them find lawyers and therapists. Many people lost both friends and family after the arrests.

She is obviously someone who doesn’t understand what’s going on in her country yet who wants to make a difference anyway. And by most accounts, she is making a difference.

Sometimes, among the concerted efforts to make it seem like President Trump should abandon his supporters, it seems like there’s a concerted campaign on the conservative forums I follow to fool people into thinking Trump has abandoned his supporters. I see a small number of unfamiliar posters claiming that he’s abandoned the January 6 prisoners, for example, despite him introducing and praising people like Cynthia Hughes at his giant rallies for all the world to see, despite him calling out the prosecutions as the witch hunts they are.

“We all saw this a mile away,” they write, so why didn’t Trump? Why didn’t he pardon all of his supporters who attended his rally?

But the fact is, we didn’t see this a mile away. We certainly didn’t see it less than two weeks away, which is what would have been necessary for a blanket pardon between January 6 and January 20. And it would have had to have been a big blanket. It’s not like there were signups for people attending his rally.

Presidents have pardoned named individuals for unspecified crimes (President Ford, pardoning Richard Nixon). Presidents have pardoned specific groups for specified crimes (President Carter, pardoning people who avoided the draft by moving to Canada).

But how do you pardon unspecified groups for unspecified crimes? This sounds like a very dangerous trap. There are already some serious questions about the supposed major crimes that happened that day. The pipe bomb accusation has apparently disappeared. But if Trump had issued a blanket pardon? I doubt it would have been forgotten nearly as quickly, and the resultant publicity would have hurt a lot of innocent people.

And that’s if the pardons were even allowed to stand. The anti-Trump beltway class seems perfectly happy to re-interpret laws, precedent, and the constitution when it comes to Trump and his supporters. As I write this, a court in Missouri has partially rejected a pardon by Missouri’s governor in order to continue punishing the recipient of the pardon. How that sort of thing would play out in DC is an open question, but it’s hard to argue that courts in DC are less partisan than in St. Louis.

Going through the DOJ’S “list of defendants charged in federal court in the District of Columbia related to crimes committed at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C, on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021”, the earliest arrest I can see was on January 14, 2021 for several “Deadly or Dangerous Weapons” charges.

Most of even the earliest arrests for questionable, at best, charges seem to have been January 19 or later.

I don’t know what they think Trump should have done by January 20 as President, and they’re never specific about it. Yes, it looks obvious now that the Democrats were planning on third-world dictator-style show trials. But it certainly didn’t occur to me that that’s where this was headed until well after January 20, and it didn’t seem to occur to anyone else, even the people saying stuff like this, that I can see.

Would I have liked a blanket pardon now that I know what the Democrats are doing in DC? I’d feel a lot better about it, sure. But that’s pure hindsight. Had it been suggested at the time, I would have been seriously worried it would have been a trap, an admission of guilt both on Trump’s part and on everyone who joined him there, making them more vulnerable, not less.

I know we’re living in a more enlightened time now regarding conspiracy theories, but if someone had predicted, in early to mid January of 2021, mass unending arrests and slow-walking if not denying due process to hundreds of people for apparently just walking around, would it have even been believable?

What Trump appears to be doing now is raising awareness publicly and providing assistance privately. He’s helped Hughes’s Patriot Freedom Project, for example, and left it to them to decide what level of publicity is appropriate. According to the Patriot Freedom Project, he’s definitely provided real assistance, up to and including donating employees. Given the level of Trump hatred in DC, where the January 6 defendants face trial, this is probably the correct approach.

He also helped the January 6 Prison Choir with their fundraising, and we have no idea what he’s done behind the scenes for them. This is probably also the right approach. Too much public support from Trump, and the January 6 prisoners could face even more ginned-up legal problems. Beltway prosecutor Jack Smith even included Trump’s praise of the January 6 Choir in his November DC court filing! It’s not difficult to imagine assistance from Trump influencing DC judges and juries to punish defendants even more harshly.

Most news outlets reporting on this support are using it to bludgeon both Trump and the January 6 prisoners. They certainly seem to be chomping at the bit to get the actual numbers for his contributions. How much more dangerous would it be for the January 6 defendants if he or the organizations he’s supporting provided those numbers and the recipients?

None of these are rhetorical questions. I really don’t know the answers. But I can’t fault Trump and those organizations for keeping this information private.

In the meantime, until I find out otherwise, I will continue to support the Patriot Freedom Project and the January 6 Prison Choir, and, if he continues to oppose the January 6 witch-hunt, President Trump.

The j6prisonchoir.com domain currently appears to be down. I’ve left it as a link since it does not appear to have been taken over by a spam purveyor or worse. I haven’t been able to find any information on why it’s down, whether they’ve been deplatformed or “merely” find it hard to maintain their Internet presence while in prison.

In response to The January 6 witch-hunt: If there’s a witch-hunt starting, I’ve decided it’s best to identify as a witch.

  1. <- Kafka January 6