A Republican-appointed federal judge slammed Republican lawmakers for their attempts to “rewrite history” about the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Reagan-appointed U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said at a sentencing hearing Thursday that he is “shocked to watch some public figures try to rewrite history” about the Capitol attack.
“The Court is accustomed to defendants who refuse to accept that they did anything wrong. But in my thirty-seven years on the bench, I cannot recall a time when such meritless justifications of criminal activity have gone mainstream,” Lamberth said. “I have been dismayed to see distortions and outright falsehoods seep into the public consciousness.”
Though he didn’t identify any prominent GOP politician by name he referenced comments used by Donald Trump and several other Republican lawmakers including Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) who have called imprisoned Jan. 6 rioters “hostages,” and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) who called jailed rioters “political prisoners.“
“That is all preposterous,” Lamberth added. “The Court fears that such destructive, misguided rhetoric could presage further danger to our country.”
Lamberth then proceeded to “set the record straight” based on what he learned presiding over several Jan. 6 prosecutions.
“On January 6, 2021, a mob of people invaded and occupied the United States Capitol, using force to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power mandated by the Constitution and our republican heritage,” he wrote. “This was not a protest that got out of hand. It was a riot; in many respects a coordinated riot. ‘Protestors’ would have simply shared their views on the election—as did thousands that day who did not approach the Capitol.”
He continued: “The rioters interfered with a necessary step in the constitutional process, disrupted the lawful transfer of power, and thus jeopardized the American constitutional order. Although the rioters failed in their ultimate goal, their actions nonetheless resulted in the deaths of multiple people,injury to over 140 members of law enforcement, and lasting trauma for our entire nation. This was not patriotism; it was the antithesis of patriotism.”
More than 1,260 people have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. More than 700 have pleaded guilty to a variety of federal charges, according to the Department of Justice.