The FBI debates whether they should charge all of the Capitol insurrectionists

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We spent last spring and summer watching local authorities, National Guard and federal authorities clash with Black Lives Matter protesters across the country. The overwhelming majority of the BLM protesters were non-violent, but that didn’t stop cops from violently clashing with protesters repeatedly. There were also mass-arrests around the country, and we consistently saw police forces grossly overreact to protests. So it was startling, just months later, to see Capitol Police and DC Police completely abdicate their responsibility during the Capitol siege on January 6th. There were only a handful arrests on the day, and literally thousands of seditious a–holes got to throw a murderous coup and then they flew home the next day. There were no mass arrests on the day, something I still don’t understand. Of course the insurrection was an inside job, but even the “good cops,” the ones who weren’t part of the insurrection, they didn’t even bother arresting any of the people who violently sieged the Capitol.

In the weeks following the siege, the FBI has been crowd-sourcing information and identifying terrorists. As of this writing, less than 150 of the Capitol insurrectionists have been arrested. And now the FBI wonders if they should continue charging these terrorist f–kers. I cannot f–king believe it.

Federal law enforcement officials are privately debating whether they should decline to charge some of the individuals who stormed the U.S. Capitol this month — a politically loaded proposition but one alert to the practical concern that hundreds of such cases could swamp the local courthouse. The internal discussions are in their early stages, and no decisions have been reached about whether to forgo charging some of those who illegally entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions.

Justice Department officials have promised a relentless effort to identify and arrest those who stormed the Capitol that day, but internally there is robust back-and-forth about whether charging them all is the best course of action. That debate comes at a time when officials are keenly sensitive that the credibility of the Justice Department and the FBI are at stake in such decisions, given the apparent security and intelligence failures that preceded the riot, these people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss legal deliberations.

Federal officials estimate that roughly 800 people surged into the building, though they caution that such numbers are imprecise, and the real figure could be 100 people or more in either direction. Among those roughly 800 people, FBI agents and prosecutors have so far seen a broad mix of behavior — from people dressed for military battle, moving in formation, to wanton vandalism, to simply going with the crowd into the building.

Due to the wide variety of behavior, some federal officials have argued internally that those people who are known only to have committed unlawful entry — and were not engaged in violent, threatening or destructive behavior — should not be charged, according to people familiar with the discussions. Other agents and prosecutors have pushed back against that suggestion, arguing that it is important to send a forceful message that the kind of political violence and mayhem on display Jan. 6 needs to be punished to the full extent of the law, so as to discourage similar conduct in the future.

[From WaPo]

The fact that there is even a law enforcement debate about this is proof that white supremacists have infiltrated the highest rungs of federal agencies. Imagine if one thousand armed BLM protesters had laid siege to the Capitol, murdered a cop, erected gallows, smeared feces on the walls, hunted for elected officials and stolen property. The FBI would have arrested every single person ON THE DAY, and they would all be prosecuted using the maximum charges and there wouldn’t be any hand-wringing whatsoever about it. Nor should there be, honestly. A line was crossed and the fact that there are apparently a great number of FBI and DOJ officials who are wishy-washy about CHARGING TERRORISTS is terrifying to me.

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69 Responses to “The FBI debates whether they should charge all of the Capitol insurrectionists”

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  1. KhaoManee says:

    I do not trust Chris Wray and I am surprised that President Biden is keeping him. All of these terrorists need to be charged.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      I recall reading elsewhere that Biden wouldn’t be easily able to get rid of him, can’t remember the reason given but I think it was something to do with him not being appointed directly by the President. Trump pretty much forced the FBI into putting him in that job.

      • Darla says:

        I can’t imagine any legal reason for that. There would be political reasons, but the President has always had the right to fire the FBI Director.

        This is a huge mistake. I was so mad at Obama for not learning from Louis Freeh, but I never imagined the Democrat would live who wouldn’t learn from Comey.

        We will all live to regret this.

      • cer says:

        I’m under the impression, perhaps mistaken, that Biden is a wait and see on Wray. I think he wants to see how Wray acts with him as opposed to Wray’s actions when Trump was president.
        I think Biden wants to get his actual appointees confirmed and settled in before he makes a decision with Wray.
        If he fires him, it’d be the third FBI director in four years, which is a high turnover rate, and I think Biden does want to avoid that if he can.

    • denisemich says:

      Has there been a Democrat that has done a full term as FBI Director?

      Wray is a Republican.

      • Pusspants says:

        Glad you brought that up and I had to look it up. Since the FBI separated from the DOJ, there hasn’t been a democrat leading the FBI, other than one person in an acting capacity for a few months. Time for some new blood and a break from the republicans!

  2. ABritGuest says:

    The fact this is even a question… note to FBI Just treat them how you would jihadists and be on your way.

    • Rapunzel says:

      Right? Charge them like you’d charge a non citizen group doing this. The fact they’re “American” should mean nothing. Real Americans wouldn’t do this.

    • Yvette says:

      Agreed. And there are Federal Courts throughout America. Don’t have the space in D.C.? Have their trials in D.C. and then ship them back to the States they’re from to serve their sentences. It is, after all, a Federal Court system.

      It would be a mistake to let even one of them get away with this.

  3. Rapunzel says:

    Not a single one of these f–kers should escape being charged. They should all also receive the label domestic terrorist on their records, be permanently put on a no fly list, stripped of the right to vote and bear arms (as terrorists), and fined enormous amounts to cover the cost of cleaning/repairs to the Capitol and the increased security. At the very least. I’d also be keen to see them forced to do community service. And jail time.

  4. FancyPants says:

    Just getting started on my 2021 Dystopian Hellscape Bingo Card- guess I’ll go ahead and add “got away with treason because the FBI couldn’t be bothered.” Making a note of how it’s okay to enter federal buildings unlawfully as long as I’m white and I don’t break or sh!t on anything.

    • Susan says:

      LOL at dystopian bingo. And apparently, you can *defecate* in the capitol, just make sure it’s white people s&*t.

  5. grabbyhands says:

    I’m speechless that this is even under discussion. That’s an excellent way to torpedo a new beginning before it even starts.

    Great message – and I’m sure they’ll all be super grateful and never think of doing anything naughty again. Jesus – we never learn. Worse, if they go forward with this, it is yet another huge slap in the face to people who suffer over and over again for doing nothing, the same folks who basically put Biden in the White House AND delivered Georgia for the Democrats TWICE while white people who are committing actual fucking treason will walk free.

    They threatened to kill people. Like, they made videos of themselves threatening to kill elected officials. They brought a fucking gallows! What does it take?????

  6. Jane Doe says:

    Want proof of how ingrained white supremacy is? Look at how flexible the “law” is, who is subject to it, who is not. Look at the fact that lynchings are still occurring in the US, and the refusal to outlaw them. These violent racists intended to kill politicians. They are the same as the KKK, and Nazis. They erected a gallows and a cross at the Capitol.

  7. Rapunzel says:

    Honestly, I’m not sure how much of this is white supremacy and how of it is laziness. The FBI simply doesn’t want to go through the trouble for something like trespassing. Which….why is it trespassing? It was part of a riotous, insurrectionist attempt to intimidate lawmakers. That’s terrorism! If you think the charge isn’t worth the hassle, go for different charges that are!

    But I am also thinking this story is a leak to test the waters of public outrage to see what they can get away with. I think they’ll see the backlash and act accordingly.

    • livealot says:

      And it will always be “laziness” when it comes to holding white people accountable. That is racism and what black people have been saying for years. No more excuses.

    • Elizabeth says:

      It’s white supremacy. They don’t want to charge rich white people.

      The fact this horrific mob got away without charges on the day and are getting away with it now is the reason we will continue having violent insurrection and displays in this country. Our leaders simply don’t care.

      • Rapunzel says:

        Elizabeth and Livealot-
        I see it this way: not wanting to pursue a minor charge like trespassing is laziness. The fact they’re are considering trespassing charges instead of terrorism or felony murder, that is white privilege and supremacy.

      • MM2 says:

        It’s not even because they are rich, it is because they are the right white.

    • Sarah says:

      It’s all White supremacy. Senator Warnock was dragged out to central booking from a peaceful protest at the Capitol in 2017. Disability advocates were dragged from their mobility equipment by Capitol police. Folks were shot at and tear gassed during overwhelmingly peaceful BLM protests. But the woman who stole Pelosi’s laptop for released home to mommy. Horns guy is getting organic food in jail. It’s very clear cut.

    • Kate says:

      It’s not laziness, that’s what they’re subtly trying to imply when they say things like “the practical concern that hundreds of such cases could swamp the local courthouse.” That’s an invented excuse to cover that they don’t want to. If there was enough true outrage, there would be no hesitation or consideration of the inconvenience.

  8. equality says:

    Felony murder should apply. They chose to break and enter and people were killed in the process of committing a felony.

  9. JanetDR says:

    This is unbelievable! But it was unbelievable watching them leave and not be arrested on the spot. I could maybe understand that they didn’t have the manpower…. maybe. But everyone who was not a member of the press who was in the building should be charged.

    • Christin says:

      I will never understand why they did not have adequate backup to round up every single one – at the time – and charge with trespassing at a minimum.

      Maybe the crowd was too fluid to figure out how many were actually on the steps, inside the building, etc. – but anyone who came to the event should have known it would be “wild”, as promised via tweet.

  10. Sofia says:

    They should be charged. End of. I’m sure the FBI would be having a very different discussion if it were Black, Muslim and any other minority identity that stormed the capitol.

    • Ainsley7 says:

      The FBI wouldn’t be having this discussion at all. They would all have been arrested on the day.

  11. Watson says:

    This shouldn’t be a debate. What in the actual fuck!

  12. Snuffles says:

    I can buy they didn’t have the manpower to arrest everyone on the day. But they have the ability to identify everyone who illegally entered the perimeter via their cellphones after the fact.

    It may take time but it NEEDS to be done. It should be on their permanent records and they all need to be placed on permanent no fly lists. They need to carry that shame for the rest of their lives. They are not to be trusted.

  13. Amando says:

    There should absolutely be charges against all of them. They must face the consequences of their actions and send a clear message that violence and hate is not okay.

  14. Leah says:

    They need to charge all of them and make an example of them. If they don’t it will happen again.

    These people weren’t just looking to destroy the ballots, they were actively searching out various members of Congress to harm them.

  15. Chaine says:

    Those that “just went along with the crowd” still went into the Capitol without authorization!!! Just because they were too far back in the crowd to physically attach cops and just because they didn’t get their hands on a member of congress doesn’t mean that the mental state and attempt to commit crime were not there!!!

  16. GR says:

    If the terrorists had been muslims or poc, can you imagine how many of them law enforcement would have killed or injured that day? This is crap; arrest them all.

  17. Amy Too says:

    They’re worried about clogging up the court system? Notice how NO ONE worries about clogging up the immigration system though. They’re fine with literally arresting, detaining, and charging with illegal entry every single person who came into the US to claim asylum over the course of YEARS. The immigration courts are super clogged up and so far behind. Judges have thousand of cases on their dockets and are years behind in some cases. But we can’t charge less than 1,000 people (and that number isn’t going to keep growing, unlike the number of people trying to immigrate, that number is huge already and grows every day) because it might make too much work for the courts and take too long?

    • Sarah says:

      THIS PART. They can absolutely do this. They are choosing not to. Gee, I can’t qwhite put my finger on why.

  18. KBeth says:

    I am so disgusted by this but sadly not surprised.
    I am so sick of seeing horn hat mans face, utterly vile human.

  19. MM2 says:

    History will remember the tear gassing of people at a church for Trump’s photo op, but then them opening the doors for these clowns to defile our capitol, attack & kill a police officer.
    I’d say we should have a protest, but we’d probably be tear gassed & arrested.
    Anyone who thinks they didn’t have the man power to deal with these people have drank some of the kool aid. They had ample warning, they knew this was planned, they had the crowd control tools, man power & they consciously choose not to use it. Now they can clean up the mess & send a message to us all, or continue to be complicit.

    • Snuffles says:

      There is also ample evidence that Trump did everything he could to hamper a police and National Guard response- before and during. All requests to beef up a National Guard presence before the riots were denied. During it, Trump refused to call in the National Guard and Pence was forced to. Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi was desperately calling the governors of Maryland and Virginia to send over their troops.

      So, yes, I can believe that because of the above actions, it was impossible to arrest and round up everyone on that day.

    • shanaynay says:

      They need to nail all of their a**es. Throw them all in jail for the rest of their miserable lives.

  20. aang says:

    Watch Bill Maher’s interview with a former FBI assistant director of counter intellegance talk about domestic terrorism. He pushes back on Maher’s bs that the domestic terrorists aren’t as dangerous as the foreign terrorists, and paints a scary picture of the current situation. It aired friday.

  21. Willow says:

    Every single domestic terrorist incident in this country that I can think of has been done by a white person – Timothy McVeigh, Unabomber, Waco, Atlanta Olympics, Nashville, all the mass shooters as far back as Columbine. I am white and I am sick and tired of my fellow white entitled priviliged Americans who have been so coddled for so many generations that they think it’s ok to take out their anger and frustration on their fellow citizens. These people tried to overthrow the government. That is not patriotism, it’s treason. They all belong in jail. And all the rally organizers and politicians at the rally should be their cellmates. Do your job FBI. Do your job House and Senate.

  22. aquarius64 says:

    Has anyone noticed that Trump didn’t issue a blanket pardon for all these insurrectionists before he left? Trump would have had the power to do so while in office and there is precedent: Andrew Johnson did for those who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. Horn head through his lawyer wanted Trump to pardon him and I bet he’s not alone. The FBI is wishing he did pardon them so they get out from under this.

  23. BL says:

    I hope there is a massive protest because of this…

  24. Lisa says:

    10 years each in jail

  25. shanaynay says:

    This is a disgrace. The FBI isn’t what it used to be.

    Don’t think they’re standing true to their motto:
    – Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity,” succinctly describes the motivating force behind the men and women of the FBI

    Nor, are they standing true to their mission:
    – The mission of the FBI is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States

  26. Lissdogmom02 says:

    The fbi had no issue prosecuting Red Fawn for daring to picket she keep her land & wanting fresh water. 57 years I believe. If these f’rs don’t go down there will never be peace again. These are the folks needing made an example of. Not the indigenous who have been f’d around for hundreds of years, along with all the other non white folks. This makes my blood boil.

  27. Desert Lizard says:

    If they are not all charged, not all convicted, and given appropriate consequences, then we will lose our democracy shortly. If they are not treated in such as to discourage others from a coup, then there will be another one. The next wannabe dictator will not be inept as Trump was. This is possibly the most important decision President Biden will face. I hope he doesn’t screw it up.

  28. Minorbird says:

    I hate to say it BUT IF they were any race other than white, they would be arrested and jailed.
    Def if they were black.

    I am shocked that this is even a question but then again I am not.

  29. Truthiness says:

    We need Merrick Garland to prosecute to the full extent of the law. He got death for Timothy McVeigh and another staff member got death for the Boston Massacre bomber. He was also involved in the Unabomber prosecution. Has he been approved yet? You know if the isurrectionists had been black Trump would be agitating for the death chamber, given that at least 5 died and many lawmakers got covid.

  30. ME says:

    Anyone surprised?

  31. Sam says:

    Write your Congress person and Senators, regardless of what party they belong to and demand that these people be held accountable. Also, call their offices and demand the same. Unless you let your voice be herd, they will not do anything.

    Democracy is NOT a spectator sport! We have to start being involved!

  32. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    The conversation itself is disgusting. Despicable. They are terrorists. They should be charged as terrorists. They should live condemned, charged and incarcerated as terrorists. Their friends and families should suffer the consequences of being affiliated with terrorists. Their orbit should be monitored, closely, for years to come while they suffer prison. No conversations. No negotiations.

  33. J ferber says:

    Great way to recruit domestic terrorists. Attack the seat of democracy and get off scot-free. The fuck? Don’t you WANT to deter them?Dump Wray if he’s any part of this.