Who Needs Leaks When Federal Prosecutors Can Just Blab To '60 Minutes' About Capitol Riot Investigation?
Last night, a top federal prosecutor who until recently led the investigation to bring the Capitol rioters to justice gave the people what they wanted. Asked by "60 Minutes" reporter Scott Pelley whether an attempt to take over the Capitol and prevent certification of the election meets the legal definition of sedition, Michael Sherwin, who up until a few weeks ago was the acting US attorney for Washington DC, and who until the other day was running the investigation, responded, "I personally believe the evidence is trending towards that, and probably meets those elements."
"Do you anticipate sedition charges against some of these suspects?" Pelley pressed.
"I believe the facts do support those charges," Sherwin said confidently. "And I think that, as we go forward, more facts will support that, Scott."
Prosecutors have not yet charged any Capitol rioters with sedition. But asked whether he anticipates those charges,… https://t.co/Uxfl0dLv8t— 60 Minutes (@60 Minutes) 1616370349.0
On the one hand, that's great. It's time the government stop pretending that our homegrown militia loons are God-fearing patriots and treat them like the domestic terrorists they are. On the other hand, why the hell is the guy who led this investigation speculating about pending cases on national television?
Former Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann tweeted in horror about Sherwin's statements. "His speaking about pending cases and investigations is improper and will hurt the success of those matters. And it violates local DC court rules about preserving a fair trial for defendants."
But wait, there's more! Sherwin, who claims he put on running clothes to go undercover at the Trump rally on January 6 "to see the crowd, gauge the temperature of the crowd," was more than happy to discuss the conspiracy charges against rightwing militia groups.
SHERWIN: We've charged multiple conspiracy cases, and some of those involve single militia groups, some of them involve multiple militia groups. For example, individuals from Ohio militia were coordinating with the-- a Virginia militia group of Oath Keepers, talking about coming to the capital region, talking about-- no specific communication about breaching the Capitol-- but talking about going there, taking back the House. Talking about stopping the steal. Talking about how they need a show of force in DC. And we see that in December.
You want to speculate wildly about charging Donald Trump? No problem. Michael Sherwin is happy to sing any song you want to hear.
PELLEY: Has the role of former President Trump been part of your investigation?
SHERWIN: It's unequivocal that Trump was the magnet that brought the people to D.C. on the 6th. Now the question is, is he criminally culpable for everything that happened during the siege, during the breach? What I could tell you is this, based upon, again, what we see in the public record. And what we see in public statements in court. We have plenty of people-- we have soccer moms from Ohio that were arrested saying, "Well, I did this because my president said I had to take back our house." That moves the needle towards that direction. Maybe the president is culpable for those actions. But also, you see in the public record too militia members saying, "You know what? We did this because Trump just talks a big game. He's just all talk. We did what he wouldn't do."
PELLEY: In short, you have investigators looking into the president's role?
SHERWIN: We have people looking at everything, correct. Everything's being looked at.
My God, man, SHUT UP. Don't talk about people who haven't been charged, don't talk about the evidence in ongoing cases, don't speculate on the possible sentences for defendants who haven't even been charged for the death of Officer Brian Sicknick, much less convicted. Just don't!
Yes, of course it's fun to fantasize about a just world where bad people are punished. But it is wildly inappropriate for a federal prosecutor to do it, particularly on television.
"Grand juries makes decisions about sufficient evidence to indict a case. Federal prosecutors should not make comments like this before they do," tweeted former US Attorney Joyce White Vance. "It's good that Sherwin, who was brought to DC by Bill Barr, is no longer the acting US Atty in DC."
Yes, it is. And while your Wonkette would be delighted to see the Capitol attackers prosecuted for serious crimes, let's remind ourselves that Bill Barr parachuted Sherwin and Timothy Shea into the US Attorney's Office in DC to torpedo the case against Michael Flynn when none of the career staff would do it. Sherwin is the one who greenlighted handing internal FBI deliberations about Flynn's case over to Sidney Powell so she could throw sand in the air and pretend there was something inappropriate about the prosecution. It doesn't appear to us as if Sherwin is one of the good guys. And it's all fun and games until defendants claim prosecutorial misconduct and tampering with the jury pool.
Loose lips sink ships — and federal prosecutions.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.