QUICK CONSERVATIVE | By Jessica Walters

January 6th Facts You Can Cite Confidently

January 5, 2023
january 6 sources article

Click here to watch a 90-second summary video.

Regardless of your political affiliation, if you’re going to engage in conversations surrounding January 6th, you need to be able to answer the following questions with solid arguments based on facts. That’s why I spent days pouring over the official, 845-page report authored by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol – as well as countless Justice Department documents, legal primers, and first-hand videos. My goal is to provide reliable facts and resources, so you can confidently engage in (calm!) political conversations with your friends and family.

As always, all sources are linked in text. Formal citations are provided at the bottom of this page. Please send a quick note if you encounter a broken link.

Note: Now that Select Committee is no longer standing, their website is archived. If you have problems accessing, all materials are indexed by the U.S. Government Publishing Office.

Did Republicans Try to Overthrow the U.S. Government?

The quick answer is: NO.

President Trump (R) was impeached under “incitement of insurrection” charges and found innocent. Out of the additional 10,000 people present on Capitol grounds on January 6th, not a single person has been charged with rebellion or insurrection – covered under Title 18 U.S. Code Section 2383 – which prohibits inciting, assisting, or engaging in an insurrection or rebellion against the authority of the United States. This is a huge deal, considering the government spent half a year interviewing over 70 witnesses and writing an 845-page report, and yet – even though 10,000 people beside Trump were present at the Capitol – not one of them was charged under Section 2383, let alone found guilty of insurrection.

After finishing its report in December 2022, the Select Committee has referred Section 2383 charges against Trump to the Department of Justice (DOJ), but the referral itself has no legal consequence and the DOJ is under no obligation to pursue it. At the time of publication, the DOJ has not pursued charges.

Now, Section 2384 covers “seditious conspiracy” – conspiring to overthrow the U.S. government – and again, out of 10,000 people, so far only six have been found guilty: two Proud Boys and four Oath Keepers – organizations which do not represent the Republican Party as a whole or in general. At this time, nine additional individuals (5 Proud Boys and 4 Oath Keepers) have been charged under Section 2384. (Additional citations re: individual charges are provided below.)

As a bonus, the official committee that investigated January 6th actually applauded Republicans, saying that any plan to overturn the 2020 election or block the transfer of power “faltered at several points because of the courage of officials (nearly all of them Republicans) who refused to go along with it.” 

So no. In its 845-page report, the Select Committee to Investigate January 6th didn’t make one accusation that the Republican Party or Republicans as a group attempted to overthrow the U.S. government. The only people convicted, to date, under seditious conspiracy charges are two Proud Boys and four Oath Keepers, and absolutely no one – outside of Trump’s acquitted impeachment – has ever been charged or found guilty under Section 2383: Rebellion or Insurrection.

Which brings us to my main point:

Stop calling people “insurrectionists” who haven’t been convicted of insurrection or even seditious conspiracy. It’s literally the legal definition of slander.

Bonus Notes

  • In their official report, the Select Committee writes: “The Committee recognizes that Section 2383 does not require evidence of an ‘agreement’ between President Trump and the violent rioters to establish a violation of that provision; instead, the President need only have incited, assisted, or aided and comforted those engaged in violence or other lawless activity in an effort to prevent the peaceful transition of the Presidency under our Constitution.”
  • The Center for Strategic & International Studies provides a convenient shorthand for distinguishing between Sections 2383 (Insurrection) and 2384 (Seditious Conspiracy): “Generally, sedition is conduct or speech that incites individuals to violently rebel against the authority of the government. Insurrection includes the actual acts of violence and rebellion.” 
  • The term “overthrow” (in any form) only appears in Congress’s official report four times, outside of citations and definitions:
    • President Trump’s Deputy Press Secretary, Sarah Matthews, testified about her reaction to Trump’s video telling rioters “you have to go home now, we have to have peace.” She felt it wasn’t enough and said, “[H]e told the people who we had just watched storm our nation’s Capitol with the intent on overthrowing our democracy… we love you, you’re very special.” – Page 118
    • Anika Navaroli, a member of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Policy team, said Trump’s December 19th tweet – ‘Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!’ – “created a ‘fire hose’ of calls to overthrow the U.S. government.” – Page 525
    • According to the report: “U.S. law defines seditious conspiracy as plotting ‘to overthrow,’ or ‘to oppose by force,’ or to use ‘force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.’ Some of the [Proud Boys and Oath Keepers] have already admitted that this is what they intended to do.” – Page 527
    • Citing Anti-Defamation League leadership, the report claims: “As with the Oath Keepers, many Three Percenters have turned against the U.S. Government, such that they equate it with the British monarchy and believe it should be overthrown.” – Page 547
  • Impeachment details: On February 13, 2021, Congress voted 57-43 to acquit Trump of all charges to “incite an insurrection.” You can browse all impeachment documents via the U.S. Government Publishing Office.

Official January 6th Case Records

Seditious Conspiracy Guilty Verdicts

The following individuals have been found guilty of seditious conspiracy under Title 18 U.S. Code Section 2384.

Seditious Conspiracy Pending Charges

The following cases are pending as of publication (1/5/23).

Seditious Conspiracy Innocent Verdicts

The following individuals were charged with seditious conspiracy and found innocent. All were convicted on other charges (e.g., obstruction of an official proceeding).

Note: You can browse all cases by searching the Justice Department’s Capitol Breach database. For a summary of the 950+ arrests that occurred since January 6th, see the Attorney General’s Statement (1/4/23).

How Many People Died On January 6th?

Please see our January 6th Deaths post, which details the nine deaths most commonly associated with January 6th. (Although only four people died on January 6th, itself. One was killed, two died of natural causes, and one died of an accidental overdose).

Contesting Presidential Elections

Fun fact: Did you know that two-thirds of all challenges to certifying a presidential election have actually come from Democrats?

See our earlier post, Contested Elections, for sources and details!

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References

Quick Conservative Summary Video of this Post: Instagram (@QuickConservative, 1/5/23), Facebook (@QuickConservative, 1/6/23), YouTube (@QuickConservative, 1/6/23).

117th Congress (2021-2022). H.Res.24 – Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.

117th Congress. (13 February 2021). Congressional Record.

Congressional Research Service. (20 December 2022). Introduction to Criminal Referrals by Congress.

Cornell Law School. Slander. Legal Information Institute (LII).

Department of Justice. Capitol Breach Cases. Search: Seditious Conspiracy,  Joshua James, Charles Donohoe, Brian Ulrich, Jeremy Bertino, Elmer Rhodes, Kelly Meggs, Joseph Hackett, Roberto Minuta, David Moerschel, Edward Vallejo, Henry Barrio, Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl, Dominic Pezzola, Joseph Biggs, Thomas Caldwell, Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins

Department of Justice. (30 December 2021). One Year Since the Jan. 6 Attack on the Capitol.

Department of Justice. (13 January 2022). Leader of Oath Keepers and 10 Other Individuals Indicted in Federal Court for Seditious Conspiracy and Other Offenses Related to U.S. Capitol Breach.

Department of Justice. (2 March 2022). Leader of Alabama Chapter of Oath Keepers Pleads Guilty to Seditious Conspiracy and Obstruction of Congress for Efforts to Stop Transfer of Power Following 2020 Presidential Election.

Department of Justice. (8 April 2022). Leader of North Carolina Chapter of Proud Boys Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy and Assault Charges in Jan. 6 Capitol Breach.

Department of Justice. (29 April 2022). Member of Georgia Chapter of Oath Keepers Pleads Guilty to Seditious Conspiracy and Obstruction of Congress for Efforts to Stop Transfer of Power Following 2020 Presidential Election.

Department of Justice. (6 June 2022). Leader of Proud Boys and Four Other Members Indicted in Federal Court For Seditious Conspiracy and Other Offenses Related to U.S. Capitol Breach.

Department of Justice. (6 October 2022). Former Leader of Proud Boys Pleads Guilty to Seditious Conspiracy for Efforts to Stop Transfer of Power Following 2020 Presidential Election.

Department of Justice. (29 November 2022). Leader of Oath Keepers and Oath Keepers Member Found Guilty of Seditious Conspiracy and Other Charges Related to U.S. Capitol Breach.

Department of Justice. (4 January 2023). Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Statement on the Second Anniversary of the January 6 Attack on the Capitol.

January 6th Committee. (19 December 2022). 12/19/22 Business Meeting. YouTube: @January6thCmte.

Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. (22 December 2022). Final Report (House Report 117-663). See pages: 12, 29, 118, 135, 156, 525, 527, 547. Note: Cited pages refer to PDF page numbers, not page numbering as typed on the report.

Spaulding, S. & Nair, D. (29 January 2021). Understanding Insurrection and Sedition. Center for Strategic & International Studies.

U.S. Constitution as cited by the United States House of Representatives: Title 18 Part I Chapter 115 Section 2383: Rebellion or Insurrection.

U.S. Constitution as cited by the United States House of Representatives: Title 18 Part I Chapter 115 Section 2384: Seditious Conspiracy.

United States Government Accountability Office. (March 2022). Capitol Attack: Additional Actions Needed to Better Prepare Capitol Police Officers for Violent Demonstrations.

U.S. Government Publishing Office. (n.d.). Impeachment Related Publications.

U.S. Government Publishing Office. (n.d.). Select January 6th Committee Final Report and Supporting Materials Collection.

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