Attorney General William P. Barr is staying true to his earlier word has pushed for aggressive charges to be leveled at protesters who turned violent in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd on May 25.
According to the Washington Times, Barr told federal prosecutors that demonstrators should be charged with a range of different things, including sedition, which is a charge reserved for those believed to be planning to overthrow the government.
The Wednesday report cited people familiar with Barr’s instruction for the prosecutors. The Wall Street Journal reported that Barr made his wishes known in a conference with U.S. attorneys, and during the same call Barr warned that the nation could see ain increase in the violent protests as the November election approaches.
Barr is in his second go-round as the attorney general and he has said that he took the position because he believed that it was going to be a tough job and he had the least to lose if he performed the job with integrity.
He hasn’t shrunk away from those who are spoiling for a fight and hasn’t seemed in any flustered by those who have accused him of working at President Donald Trump’s behest instead of in the interest of the American people.
While it’s difficult to even guess what information Barr might be working with that the average American will never know, what is highly accessible is his track record working in the George W. Bush administration.
Congress confirmed him with that reputation in mind, and doubting him in a time of crisis could lead to even more instability now.
Barr has encouraged his prosecuters to file federal charges whenever possible, according to the Washington Times, thought a spokesperson for his office had yet to respond to a request for comment at the time the report was published.
“So far, the Justice Department has filed federal charges against more than 200 defendants arrested during the rioting and looting that has spread across the country since the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in the custody of the Minneapolis police,” the Times reported.
“However, the charges lodged are largely firearms violations, arson, and offenses related to failure to obey law enforcement.”
If any of the protesters are found guilty of sedition, they could face up to 20 years in prison. The charge is characterized as inciting a revolt or violence against the government and/or lawful authority with the goal of overthrowing it.
“In order to score a conviction for sedition, prosecutors must prove that the defendant conspired to overthrow the government or harm government officials, including federal law enforcement,” the Times reported. “Simply advocating a government overthrow or injuring federal agents is protected as free speech under the First Amendment.”
Barr’s push for sedition could allow him to further investigate the motivation behind the riots, i.e. whether it was tied to any larger organization that is funding the effort. Questions have arisen as to whether the protests were orchestrated by those who are looking to see regime change in Washington, and if so, accomplishing that goal partially through violence would indeed be a classic case of sedition.
While the left is highly unlikely to ever fully trust the attorney general, conservatives seem relieved that he is following through with his promises and may well get to the bottom of what has truly caused the horrific violence across the nation.