Prosecutions of Jan. 6 ‘insurrectionists’ must be vigorous and forceful: conservative

Prosecutions of Jan. 6 ‘insurrectionists’ must be vigorous and forceful: conservative

From Fox News' Tucker Carlson to former President Donald Trump, it isn't hard to find MAGA Republicans who are defending the January 6 insurrectionists as martyrs. In fact, far-right extremists held a "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, September 18 to express their solidarity with the rioters. But former Republican Jennifer Rubin has a very different point of view. In a September 29 column for the Washington Post, the Never Trumper argues that the January 6 rioters need to be prosecuted as vigorously as possible in order to discourage Republicans from using violence "as a political tool."

"For those who thought the domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol on January 6 would indelibly imprint on the American psyche a vivid warning about the dangers of discrediting elections," Rubin warns, "new polling suggests a great number of Republicans have not gotten the message. Pew Research Center finds that…. 'there has been a 22 percentage-point drop in the share of Republicans who think it is very or somewhat important that federal law enforcement agencies find and prosecute those who broke into and rioted at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, from 79% to 57%."

Rubin continues, "And this is not even about those who incited the insurrectionists, organized the event and stoked the 'Big Lie.' This is about the people who, by their own admission, hunted for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), assaulted police officers and terrorized staff. So much for the law-and-order party that parrots 'blue lives matter.'"

The columnist goes on to say that among many MAGA Republicans, the attitude on January 6 is "What's the big deal — just an attempt to violently overthrow the government?"

"The lackadaisical attitude in the MAGA ranks toward the insurrection is all the more reason for state and federal authorities to investigate and, if the facts and law warrant, prosecute all involved in the effort to steal the election — up to and including the former president, who continues to spout the lie that he won the election and stir resentment among his supporters," Rubin writes. "The notion that elections, the backbone of democracy, are not inviolate is among the dangerous legacies of the MAGA movement's 'Big Lie' and the January 6 insurrection."

According to Rubin, "another Republican goal" is "making violence more acceptable as a political tool."

"Their effort to shift blame to the victims — e.g., the police, (House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi) and to cast the White criminals as less scary than peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstrators is designed to erode the stigma around the use of violence," Rubin warns. "Refusing to convene a bipartisan commission to investigate the violence of January 6 was another effort to cast concern about the incident as political gamesmanship rather than a threat to our democracy."

"Moreover," Rubin adds, "if Congress fails to pass new voting legislation to prevent subversion and corruption of elections by partisans, the need for prosecution becomes even more acute. Without new tools to protect the sanctity of elections, the threat of prosecution may be the only thing to dissuade Trump and his enablers from undermining future elections."

Rubin concludes her column by stressing that if the January 6 rioters aren't prosecuted as aggressively as possible, it will send out a message that violent insurrection is acceptable.

"It seems more essential than ever for prosecutors to examine the conduct not only of the people who broke into the Capitol, but the people who assisted them and the president who set a pattern of strong-arming state lawmakers, threatening state officials and inciting the mob," Rubin writes. "Absent prosecution and accountability, the GOP's effort to normalize insurrection and violence when Republicans do not like an election result becomes more insidious and dangerous. Rarely has the need for deterrence through criminal prosecution been more vivid."

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