The Just Security Podcast

A Guilty Verdict in the Proud Boys Trial

May 04, 2023 Just Security Episode 25
The Just Security Podcast
A Guilty Verdict in the Proud Boys Trial
Show Notes Transcript

On May 4, 2023, a jury in Washington, D.C. found four Proud Boys leaders, including former Chairman Enrique Tarrio, guilty of seditious conspiracy for their roles in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. 

The Proud Boys were the “tip of the spear” in planning and carrying out the January 6th attack. They tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. To help us understand what the verdict means, what’s missing, and what comes next, we have Tom Joscelyn and Mary McCord. 

Tom was a senior staff member on the House January 6th Committee and a lead drafter of its final report. He is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Reiss Center on Law and Security at NYU School of Law. Mary is Executive Director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University Law Center. She previously held senior national security roles at the Justice Department. Mary is a member of Just Security’s Editorial Board.  

Show Notes:  

Paras Shah: Hello, and welcome to a special episode of the Just Security podcast. I’m your host Paras Shah. 

Earlier today, on May 4, 2023, a jury in Washington, D.C. found former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and three other members of the group guilty of seditious conspiracy for their roles in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. 

The Proud Boys were the “tip of the spear” in planning and carrying out the January 6th attack. They tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. To help us understand the verdict, what it means, and what comes next, we have Tom Joscelyn and Mary McCord. 

Tom was a senior staff member of the House January 6th Committee and a lead drafter of its final report. He is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Reiss Center on Law and Security at NYU School of Law. Mary is Executive Director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University Law Center. She previously held senior national security roles at the Justice Department. Mary is a member of Just Security’s Editorial Board. 

Mary, welcome back to the show. Tom, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for joining us on short notice. 

Tom Joscelyn: Thanks for having me. 

Mary McCord: Nice to be here. 

Paras: I want to jump in by zooming out a little bit. Tom, you are a lead drafter on the January 6th Committee's final report. And Mary, you study violent extremism. It's been a few months since the Proud Boys have been in the news with the Committee's hearings and its report. What should listeners know about the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, these two paramilitary groups?

Mary: These groups historically have sort of been different. They coalesced and came together on January 6th and really in the lead up to January 6th, like so many other extremists came together. They wouldn't otherwise, I think, always agree on the same things. The Oath Keepers, for example, is a group that eschews things like racism or, uh, bias against immigrants, at least on the surface. And instead, they like to think of themselves as patriots who are constitutionalists, who are committed to standing up for the freedoms and the rights that they believe that the people are entitled to under our Constitution, even if that means taking up arms against the government. They see themselves as a bulwark against a tyrannical government.

And of course, part of the problem with this ideology is that they believe, uh, that they've got sort of superior knowledge about the Constitution, whether it's consistent with what the Constitution actually says, consistent with history, or how it's been interpreted by the Supreme Court. And in many cases, I would say in particular with respect to things like the Firstand Second Amendments, they're just wrong about their views of the Constitution and they're wrong about the authority of the federal government vis-a-vis the states. So historically, the Oath Keepers have done things like participate in standoffs between federal agents and extremist groups out west, often in disputes over the use of federal lands.

The Proud Boys have a very different mentality. They're very open about their belief in a male chauvinist society. They are less big on saying a white male chauvinist society, at least publicly, because they like to sort of tout some of their Brown and Black members, but, you scratch below the surface and many of them have said and done some very racist things and bigoted things and anti-immigrant things, and they're more open about that. I will say if you scratch below the surface for the Oath Keepers, you will find that despite what they say publicly, many of them and on an individual basis will, you know, say and do pretty racist and anti-immigrant and misogynistic type of expressions and conduct, but they portray themselves as not being that type of an organization.

So despite these – and I would say also – the Oathkeepers, they're more your traditional type of private militia. They dress in military gear. They sport assault style rifles. They usurp law enforcement authority, you know, projecting authority over others that they don't have, and they're ready and have been ready for some years to take up arms against the government. The Proud boys I, I had thought of as more of, really, street fighters out there to agitate against counter protestors or protestors – maybe sometimes they're the counter protesters – very happy to get into sort of open street combat with those who are ideologically opposed to them. But they do not – they're not the ones who typically dress in military kits and carry assault style rifles and multiple high capacity magazines. They use their fists more frequently, although I do think oftentimes they have side arms. 

But in 2020, and on January 6th of 2021, they came together, uh, as a unified force to try to prevent the counting –violently prevent the counting of Electoral College ballots – and therefore, at least in their view, prevent President Biden from becoming president.

Tom: I would say that the verdict further justifies the conclusion that the Committee came to, which was that the Proud Boys certainly engaged in a conspiracy prior to January 6th. In my view, they absolutely planned to attack the US Capitol and they did attack the US Capitol, and we spent a lot of time on the Committee looking through court filings, video, some of the people, including someone who works for Mary, interviewing witnesses and doing a great job of that, and built a composite sort of model of what happened, how the attack unfolded. And it was very clear to us that the Proud boys were really the spearhead for the attack. That, that in my estimation, it's not likely that the Capitol would've been overrun without the Proud Boys and what they did.  

Certainly other right-wing extremist groups came to Washington on January 6th with bad intentions, some of which probably had a plan to engage in violence at the minimum. Others may have had some idea of attacking the Capitol, but the real engine for the attack was the Proud Boys, and so therefore, I think this guilty verdict today is really a very important landmark in our history for understanding the attack on the Capitol.

Paras: Court cases have many different functions. Part of that is accountability at an individual level. Part of that is also creating a historical record and building a narrative. So, how do both of you see today's verdicts in terms of that historical record?  

Tom: I mean, I think it's very important, today's verdict, in terms of getting history right and getting the attack details right, and understanding how this unfolded. I mean, I think, you know, one of the things that I encountered very early on was that there were certain people who thought – a lot of people who thought – that the attack on the Capitol was just a spontaneous riot, which is something that just sort of happened after President Trump got done speaking at the Ellipse on January 6th. And the story is more complicated than that. You can see, you know, in chapter eight of the Select Committee's file report, for example. We describe it as some, a new sort of hybrid type of attack where the Proud Boys in particular, I think if you look at the evidence from the trial and even evidence that was available prior to the trial, they had this idea in mind that they were going to harness the power of the mob to overrun the Capitol.

 So just to put this in perspective, the Proud Boys on the morning of January 6th, they marshal about 300 people, not all members of the Proud Boys. Some are associates or affiliates of other people who just sort of straggle along, but about 300 people they marshal at the Washington Monument on the morning of January 6th. They then marched this crew around the Capitol, through the Peace Circle, then take some photos and then come back to the peace circle at the Capitol. Now what's interesting about this is they seemingly understood that if they overran the security at this point in the Peace Circle, that that created a clear shot down Pennsylvania Avenue. So if you look at a map and you have to have listeners kind of do this visually in your mind for a second, if you were to think about where President Trump was speaking at the Ellipse, it connects over to Pennsylvania Avenue and then straight down Pennsylvania Avenue through the Peace Circle gives you a straight shot onto the grounds of the Capitol in the West Plaza.

And what was kind of spooky about watching the Proud Boys' actions was, we understood it certainly looked like they knew that if they cleared out the security or they working with others, cleared out security at the Peace Circle, this would give thousands of other people a clear shot on the Capitol. And why is that important? It's because I don't think that the Proud Boys would've been able to overwhelm the Capitol, the security, the Capitol Police, Metropolitan Police and others by themselves. They needed to harness the power of the mob to do so, and they needed to work with other right-wing extremists.

But that's what they did. And so the model in understanding how this attack actually unfolded, it's very different, right from just a spontaneous mob or spontaneous riot that unfolds. You see that they're right-wing extremists who start planning for violence, pre-planning for violence immediately after President Trump summons them on December 19th to Washington. He issues a tweet on Twitter that goes viral across all these right-wing extremist groups and across a lot of his followers, uh, saying that, you know, be there in Washington, it's gonna be wild. And what's spooky to me too was that a lot of people interpreted that as a call for violence. So, you know, a lot of former President Trump's defenders would say, well, he didn't explicitly call for violence. But if you look at that message in the response to it, you look at what some of the people in the social media shop were tweeting and doing and what was on other social media sites affiliated with the President or, you know, basically, like one of his lead fan sites, they all interpret this as a call to violence and there was a lot of pre-planning violence immediately, and, and quite frankly, it's amazing that more people didn't understand the ramifications of what was going on.

Mary: I totally agree with that, and I would also say I think it's historically significant even beyond January 6th becauseas I mentioned earlier, it's, the US government has struggled to in seditious conspiracy trials in the past, includingseditious conspiracies that were motivated by things like anti-Semitism, uh, anti-immigrant views, anti government views, and we saw this in failed prosecutions going all the way back to 1940, when a jury acquitted members of the Christian Front, which is an anti-Semitic paramilitary organization that had been founded really to gauge in warfare against Jews and “communists.” We saw it in a failed prosecution in the ’80s against members of the KKK and the Aryan Nations for really a very lengthy and elaborate and concerted effort of sort of post-Vietnam up through the ’80s, a white power movement to really harass and abuse and displace people through acts of violence, and pressure the government. 

And then we saw it more recently in a failed prosecution in Michigan against members of a group called the Hutarees. And I think that, in many ways, there's a lot of reasons I think for failed prosecutions in the past, and there's a lot of reasons I think that this was successful. And one of the primary reasons, I think, is because jurors didn't have to wonder about would they have made good on all of their talk? You know, lots of talk over social media, lots of talk out in other rallies in DC and on the steps of the Lincoln Monument. Would they really make good on an end? Well, they did. You know, they actually engaged in an insurrection, they ultimately were not successful, but you know, they delayed things for hours. And so I think the jury didn't have to wonder, was it just all talk? They knew that it wasn't. 

And the other thing is I think, you know, I think this signals that Americans, including juries, are getting more and more concerned about threats to our democracy from extremist groups, extremist violence. They are concerned about, you know, political violence more generally and seeing it at many different levels. Now, granted, they're instructed, and I feel confident that these jurors were focused just on the facts, that they heard over this lengthy trial of the Proud Boys and in the previous trials of the Oath Keepers, and whether the government had proved every element of, of the crimes beyond a reasonable doubt, but still, you bring into court, you know, what you bring in your own head. And if you are worried about political violence and the use of violence to undermine democratic processes that's something that, you know, you, you bring with you as a juror, as you hear that evidence. And I think that partly this verdict shows in terms of where it sits in history, that we are at a point in time where Americans are worried about our future.

Paras: And Mary, you're a former federal prosecutor. How significant is this conviction on seditious conspiracy? 

Mary: A person could look at it and say, look, seditious conspiracy has a twenty year maximum sentence of incarceration. Conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, which was also charged, in which these defendants Proud boys and Oath Keepers have been found guilty, also has a 20 year sentence. The actual obstruction of an official proceeding has a 20 year sentence. So why do you need seditious conspiracy? Couldn't you get the same penalty without that, and doesn't this make it look like the government is starting to like police viewpoints and police protest and those kinds of things? And my answer to that is, it's important because it's what happened here. This was a conspiracy to prevent the will of the people from prevailing in a presidential election, to prevent the peaceful transition of power, something that our country's been, you know, is fundamental to our country for the last 250 years. And so it's important to, you know, the government, the US Department of Justice, operates under guidelines that say that when prosecutors are making charging decisions, they should be making the decisions to charge the most serious crime that they can actually prove where the facts warranted.

And that was what happened. And so charging seditious conspiracy here I think was important because that is what these members of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers did. 

Paras: I'm curious what both of you think about if this verdict will deter the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers from future violent attacks or future attacks like this.

Mary: I do think that this will have – I think it already has had, the prosecutions post January 6th already have had an impact on the types of open political violence that we have seen. Now, it is not gone, the threat is very great, and it's taking place in different, and in some ways equally insidious, if not more insidious ways. We're seeing extremists really get themselves involved in politics in ways that are intimidating and threatening and that actually tend to make other people not engage in their own constitutional rights, not show up to vote, not run for office at the even county and local level, not volunteer as election officials because they're fearful. They're fearful of some of the extremists who are trying to take over those positions. You know, take over your county. Then another, then your state. This is something that was promoted on a far-right extremist website, web platform over a year ago. 

I think there's a lot of intimidation and threats out there that are infecting our democracy, but we haven't seen as many of the type of open, you know, armed assaults on state houses like we saw in 2020 leading up to the insurrection at the US Capitol that, you know, there were small previews of that in Michigan, in in Idaho, and in other states, and we're seeing less of that. And I think that part of the change in strategy to get into this sort of localized level of simmering political violence, but that maybe is not as overt as, you know, what we saw with the violent storming of the Capitol, is partly because, some are running scared of prosecution and don't want to see themselves prosecuted, not just for seditious conspiracy, but for any other types of federal crimes that might result from activities like this.

That said, these folks have not gone away and we are coming into, you know, what's gonna be, I think, a very fraught election season. 

Tom: What I would say is, I think that the, you know, if you look at the Proud Boys trial and who was arrested here, and you look at the over a thousand arrests now that have occurred since January 6th of January 6th defendants, it's pretty clear that a lot of organizers, a lot of human capital from this right-wing extremist network has been drained by these arrests. You know, people have been tied up in court proceedings. People have been tied up trying to defend themselves in court and being convicted or guilty pleas. And you can see, for example, you know, you look at the Proud Boys and I think there's a lot of people who don't really understand that, you know, there is a certain level of skill or ability there to what they did, and certainly of the five who were convicted of various charges for the five charged for seditious conspiracy just today, you know, Enrique Tario, the head of the Proud Boys. He certainly has the ability as an organizer, as somebody who can motivate and inspire an organization, and so taking him out of the game legally because he violated the law and prosecuting him and holding him up to the rule of law – or holding the rule law up to him – is a very important part of combating extremism in this country, right? We have to make sure that the law is upheld and somebody like him, I mean, he's somebody who, you know, if he were out and about right now, I have no doubt that heading into the fraught election of 2024, as Mary just said, he'd be out there organizing and doing the same type of things. You know, he wouldn't, he wouldn't be dissuaded at all.  

And you can point to other organizations like the Oath Keepers that Mary talked about. You know, there are all these sortsof, we think, decentralized Three Percenter cells. You know, Three Percenters are another right-wing extremist group thatbelieves that the American government is illegitimate, needs to be overthrown. A lot of these cells started activating, you know, started activating for violence or planning for violence after President Trump called them to Washington in late 2020. A lot of those have been held in the, you know, prosecuted and brought through the court of law. Some of them were the most effective fighters, really, and planners leading up to January 6th.

So this, you know, this has an effect these prosecutions haven't affected. This is why it's so important, in my mind, to enforce the rule of law as much as possible on the January 6th defendants, you know. And part of the reason why I think some of the people on the far right are trying to create a bogeyman saying this wasn't their side on January 6th is they don't want their side to be held accountable to the rule of law. They don't want, they, they don't believe in the rule of law effectively. And so that's why for everybody who, you know, believes in democracy and who believes in the rule of law and who believes that there needs to be accountability for actions, today's verdict is very important, but has all sorts of effects across the extremist milieu.

You know, I've studied extremists and terrorist organizations for 20 years, and, you know, taking out leadership matters, and that's what's happened here in a lot of these cases.

Paras: The January 6th Committee's hearings and its report focused a lot on the role of former President Trump in the Capitol attack. Does today's verdict increase the likelihood that Special Counsel Jack Smith will indict him for any of that conduct? 

Mary: I mean, every case as a prosecutor, every case has to be built based on the evidence that supports charges against your target. And former President Trump is not Enrique Tario. He's not Stuart Rhodes. He's not any of those people. Will Jack Smith feel like, okay. We have gotten some very significant verdicts in cases involving January 6th, so that we know that juries take these things very seriously and are willing to hold people accountable? Will he be thinking about that as he's thinking about potential charges for the former President and those in his inner circle? Yes. He'll be thinking about that, but he's gotta build his case on the evidence that will, you know, support charges against either Trump and or otherswho were involved at higher levels, and I don't think these verdicts are gonna make or break anything about that. He's either got the evidence or, uh, doesn't have the evidence. 

Tom: Yeah, I mean, I agree with that. I think, you know, the bottom line in terms of understanding the January 6th plot is, you know, summoning the mob to Washington, which is part of the plan as outlined by the Committee. You know, this was all about obstructing the joint session of Congress and obstructing a federal proceeding is a federal crime.

To my mind, it is obvious that former President Trump sought to and did obstruct the joint session of Congress. You know, sending the mob to the Capitol, whether or not he knew of any specific plans for violence or thought that they would get violent, that was the intent. I mean, you know, you can, you can listen to what even former Attorney General Bill Barr said. I think he wrote this in his book, that the whole point of sending these people down to the Capitol was to intimidate lawmakers, including, uh, you know, Vice President Pence. This was all about obstructing the joint session of Congress. There's no reason to send people to the Capitol unless you hope that they're gonna interrupt the proceedings, right, I mean, and stop things. 

So, you know, I think there are plenty of ways in which former President Trump violated the law. I think it's very important that he be held accountable under the law just like everybody else, who broke the law. And I do think that, you know, it wouldn't be right if all these other people were convicted and he wasn't sort of held to the same standard and wasn't tried under the same laws that convicted these people, because ultimately he's the one who summoned them to Washington to do this. You know, I mean the January 6 Select Committee’s report does focus a lot on Trump, but I think for very good reasons. I mean, there are, there are all these other sorts of, you know, ingredients here for sure, and you can find them, you know, on the right-wing extremism stuff. You look at chapter six, which I, you know, I co-wrote with somebody who works with Mary, great guy, Jacob Glick and some others, and some other people who are great, and we always knew that there was a lot of different sorts of ingredients in this right-wing extremist stew, right? But ultimately the chef who brings him together is Donald Trump. When he says stand back and stand by, that tripled interest in joining the Proud Boys, right? 

So there's no, there's no accelerant on right-wing extremism that's greater than the bully pulpit of the presidency. None. Can't replicate that, how powerful that is. And by the way, what he said after that comma was, but I'll tell you what, somebody's gotta do something about Antifa and left. What people – I think a lot of people missed was he was explicitly endorsing the proud Boy’s own marketing message, the way they portrayed themselves, their own narrative about themselves and what they were doing in 2020. So he was explicitly endorsing what they were all about, you know? And so of course that's gonna increase enrollment. Of course that's gonna increase interest in the Proud Boys. You're gonna have all sorts of people saying, well, you know, President Trump just said somebody's gotta do something about Antifa, you know, how about me? Why don't I join the Proud Boys and, and do something about Antifa and, and what's going on? 

Paras: There's a lot that we know about what happened on January 6th and how it was planned. Tom, you've spent many months of your life, and,  the Committee spent over 800 pages providing a detailed report. The Justice Department had many days of testimony in this trial and in the Oath Keeper's trial. But what do we not know? What is still uncertain?

Tom: You know, I still have a lot of questions about January 6th. I have a lot of questions about the extent of who knew what, for example, the Proud Boys were up to, who knew what the potential for other groups, you know, what they were doing. I mean, you know, one, one of the spooky things that I noticed here, and I'm sure many noticed this as well in the lead up even to January 6th, was this idea of occupying the Capitol spread like wildfire across the whole right wing extremist milieu online, this whole idea that you could occupy the Capitol and basically stop the transfer of power. And you can see in chapter six of the Committee's report that all these different groups had a very similar idea. 

And you could see that this type of idea was being trafficked, for example, on the Donald.Win, which was the number one personality cult fan site for Donald Trump, obviously, and a site that people on Donald Trump's old social media team interacted with and put and basically took content from and posted on Trump's Twitter feed and generated content for the site, basically by putting stuff on their own Twitter feeds that they posted. There was this sort of symbiotic relationship, in other words, between them and this website. And so my question is, how did nobody know that when Donald Trump tweets out on December 19th, be in Washington, it's gonna be wild, how about how did no one in this network that was interacting with this website, it's right in front of them, that there's planning for violence and there's gonna planning for violence on January 6th and to attack the Capitol? And it strikes me as somewhat implausible that nobody figured that out around the President. Nobody figured that out around all these other people.

 So I do wonder about, you know, how much people kind of, you know, if they didn't understand that there was a potential for full on violence, how much did they – was there sort of this idea or this expectation that these people could occupy theCapitol, you know, and stop the, the peaceful transfer of power, and stop the joint session? I don't know. I don't know the answer to that question. I mean, I really do hope that Jack Smith's team – I have no reason not to – but they're really looking at the next layer beyond the Proud Boys, right, which is then getting into more political actors and people in that realm.  

Mary: I agree, those are the connections that are key. And we've seen more and more of those kind of come out in more recent reporting and frankly in books that have been written. But, you know, writing a book is not the same as having admissible evidence in trials. So the proof of, you know, how high up did the knowledge of the illegality of the fraudulent electors scheme go and, and that's now, you know, been reported pretty high, we've got pretty significant evidence that Pence and others, all the lawyers and everyone whose opinions mattered, including even Kenneth Chesebro, who had originally concocted the idea or been one of the original concoctors of the idea, they all actually knew it was unlawful.

And it appears they told Donald Trump that, and I think that's partly why he summoned the mob, because he was starting to fear that he didn't really have a legal basis to get what he wanted, and so he needed to turn to violence. I'm interested in what kind of daily briefings he was getting. I mean, I spent enough time myself getting the President's daily brief to know that – and I also know as Tom does that it was pretty obvious and in plain sight that violence was planned, and that would ordinarily be something that you'd be briefing the president about. And so what was in those briefings? What did he know when he told that mob to go down the street and basically put the pressure on Mike Pence. And you know, when he tweeted at 2:24 that Mike Pence didn't have the courage, what needed to be done, I mean, we knew, we know he was watching TV and watching the insurrection at that point. But earlier that morning, did he know what he was unleashing and, you know, I think he did, but it would really be nice to see what he was being told by law enforcement and security services and those whose job it is to pay attention to these threats. And we'll see.  

Tom: One of the things that comes out in Vice President Pence's book is that he gives away quite a bit actually about what President Trump was actually pushing. And at one point he says that, you know, Pence is presented with two both illegal options, both on constitutional options to obstruct the joint session, one of which is they basically send the electoral votes back to several states where they hoped that these Republican state legislatures would then certify these fake electors for Trump and send them back basically. So that was one option. 

The other option was for Pence to just outright reject the Electoral College votes from up to seven states, and then because of the parliamentary rules of how this all would then go down, basically Trump would be handed the presidency because they had, the way it was all figured out, Republicans from different states, they had a whole, whole cockamamie plan where basically the Republicans in Congress would hand the victory to President Trump.

What Vice President Pence says is that it was Trump himself who pushed the latter option even the more aggressive of the two. Both illegal. Both unconstitutional. But it's Trump himself who says, I like the other thing better at one point. And the other thing is just right, just reject the Electoral College votes outta hand in these seven states and hand Trump the victory.

You have right there an admission that the President of the United States was encouraging the Vice President to do something that he knew was illegal. I mean, to me, you know, look, this all to me, this all makes Watergate look like a minor parking ticket, right? I mean, this is way beyond anything we've seen in history, and the fact that you have a Vice President of the United States has put this type of testimony out there in a book, again, you know, I find it hard to believe that that former President Trump won't be brought up on January 6th charges with this type of evidence out there. 

Mary: Tom, I know, I wanna let you know, I thank you for some of your work going through Pence's book and pulling out some key sentences and key phrases from that because I relied on that earlier this week to write a piece saying, you know, it looks like there's actually evidence that Trump, if we just, you know, strip away the bigger insurrection and focus on Trump's actions toward Pence, there's significance evidence that he solicited a crime of violence against his own VicePresident.

I mean, it requires, you know, under circumstances, corroborative of your intent, to endeavor, to persuade someone else to commit that crime of violence, hoping that it will happen. And when you look at all the things that you, Tom, were just saying, and that I was mentioning in terms of what Trump knew about the illegality of the scheme, and how he nevertheless continued to go out dafter day and say to the public through tweets and public statements and cable news appearances, that it was all up to Pence, Pence had the power to do it, even within minutes of Pence telling him, no, I don't have that power and I'm not going to do it. And then when he did it again on January 6th, and particularly when he did it at 2:24, when he could see on the TV in his dining room that the crowd had broken into the Capitol, was chanting hang Mike Pence had a gallow set up and Pence barely escaped. Like he was still tweeting it. So, boy, you know, I spent a long time as a prosecutor. That looks a heck of a lot like circumstances, corroborative of your intent, endeavoring to persuade someone to commit a crime of violence, and here we're talking about the former Vice President. 

Tom: Yeah, no, I totally agree. I gotta go read your piece now. 

Paras: Just to wrap up, is there anything that. Either of you haven't discussed that you'd like to bring up? 

Tom: I mean, you know, how many hours do you've got? So, I mean, like the select Committee's final report was 814 pages. I mean, it easily could have been 8,000 pages, right? I mean, there's so much to the story and there's still open questions about different dynamics here and aspects of it that I still, you know, uh, hope there's legal accountability for. That's all I can say. And that's why today matters though, in terms of the legal accountability for the Proud Boys. I wasvery worried that they were gonna get off on the seditious conspiracy charge because, to me, you know – I know this is gonna sound somewhat arrogant, but as a non-lawyer who's never tried anybody, I would've loved just an hour in front of the jury to say, to explain, you know what, no, these guys are easily guilty, and here's why, right? 

The evidence is, yeah, the evidence is obvious, folks, and here's why it's obvious, right? I mean, I was just itching for that and because it's something I spent a lot of time in my life last year looking at very carefully, when you walk through the facts very carefully, there's just no way they aren't guilty, right? I mean, they, they had, they had a plan to storm the Capitol. You know, the head of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarro says, in fact, on January 4th, you wanna storm the Capitol. And then his guys do, you know, there's plenty of evidence that this, this verdict today was just, so I’ll go to bed sound tonight with that in mind, 

Paras: I can't give you an hour in front of a jury, but I can give you time on the podcast. Thank you so much. Tom, Mary, we really appreciate your time. Thanks for joining the show. 

Tom: Thank you. 

Mary: Thanks for inviting us. 

Paras: The Just Security podcast is produced in partnership with NYU’s American Journalism Online program. AJO trains students to become world class journalists, no matter where they live or work. Find out more about how and how you can apply in our show notes.  

This episode was hosted by me, Paras Shah, with co-production and editing by Tiffany Chang and Michelle Eigenheer. Our music is the song, “The Parade,” by Hey Pluto. 

Special thanks to Clara Apt, Tom Joscelyn, Alex Kapelman, Mary McCord, and Ben Montoya. Tom and Mary have written several pieces analyzing the January 6th attack and its aftermath, which we’ll link to in the show notes. 

If you enjoyed this episode, please give us a five-star rating on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.