Magazine July 12, 2021, Issue

How to Think about January 6

(Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)
The Capitol riot was not an insurrection as federal law understands the term

What should be the penalty for insurrection? It is, after all, the most profound domestic threat to not merely national security but national survival.

To hear the Biden Justice Department tell it, the penalty for engaging in what Democrats and their media allies incessantly refer to as an “insurrection” at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, should be about . . . well . . . three and a half years. That would be comfortably within the sentencing range that prosecutors concede applies to the first major defendant to plead guilty in the case, Jon Schaffer, a founding member of the

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