However much more essentially, Hughes mentioned, the convictions ought to function a reminder that regardless of what number of felony convictions the Justice Division secures, the U.S. isn’t going to prosecute its means out of its extremism disaster.
“It is vital that the U.S. authorities put its finger on the dimensions and mentioned that the occasions of Jan. 6 have been unacceptable,” mentioned Hughes, “however I’m unsure it stops the rising tide of extremism.”
The next has been edited for readability and concision.
Ian Ward: Had been you shocked by any a part of Tuesday’s verdict?
Seamus Hughes: I believe it was going to be a tough case to start with, and we’ve seen sedition prices not come to fruition on the finish. However up to now, when [the Department of Justice] has charged somebody with seditious conspiracy, the conspiracy didn’t actually occur, that means it by no means got here to fruition. With this one, it truly did, in order that made prosecuting the case a bit of bit simpler.
Ward: How will these convictions have an effect on the instant operations of the Oath Keepers?
Hughes: The Oath Keepers have been already on the ropes to start with. For example, evaluate the Oath Keepers to the Proud Boys. The Oath Keepers are way more of a top-down group run by Rhodes, whereas the Proud Boys after Jan. 6 have regressed to a state-level mannequin. There’s a bit of resiliency within the system. If Rhodes goes [to prison] — which he’s clearly going to — the Oath Keepers don’t have a lot of a bench.
Ward: How have the Oath Keepers and different right-wing extremist teams reacted to the trial?
Hughes: It’s been all around the map, however there have been some recurring themes. One of many first themes was that [Jan. 6] was a false flag operation — that it was far-left extremists who have been riling up the gang. That narrative has largely fallen by the wayside, and now the overarching theme is that that is authorities overreach. The U.S. authorities has prosecuted and charged greater than 900 individuals for crimes associated to Jan. 6, and the investigations are nonetheless ongoing. In far-right extremism circles, the query is, “Why has the FBI launched the most important investigation in its historical past — even bigger than 9/11? Why have they got 15,000 hours of physique cam video? Why are they focusing solely on us?”