More than 1,000 people have been arrested in connection with the January 6, 2021, attack on the United States Capitol. Now, the man who allegedly fueled the attack is one of them.
Former President Donald Trump was arraigned in a DC courthouse Thursday afternoon and charged with four felonies related to his actions in the lead-up to January 6. Trump’s third arrest in four months involves the most serious case against him, with prosecutors accusing him of three conspiracy counts, including defrauding the United States. Trump pleaded not guilty to all four counts.
Many have commented on the collective fatigue that news consumers might feel about the constant drumbeat of accusations against the former president. Even CNN, the poster child of the 24-hour news cycle, referred to Trump’s arrests as “routine” in a broadcast this afternoon.
But it’s important to remember that the federal government has not gone easy on the hundreds of people charged in relation to January 6. Anti-vax doctor turned insurrectionist Simone Gold faced 60 days in prison for her conduct on January 6, though she was released early. In June, an international underwear model who stormed the Capitol was sentenced to 32 months in prison. And in May, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years for seditious conspiracy. Now, the ringleader of the entire operation—the man whom each of the convicted insurrectionists worshipped—is having his day in court.
Trump’s favorability ratings remain impressively high for someone with so many pending criminal cases, and Trump opponents fear that the latest charges could ironically bolster his popularity by creating the illusion that Trump is the victim of politically motivated prosecutions. Trump echoed this point in a statement after his arraignment. “This is the persecution of the person that’s leading by very, very substantial numbers in the Republican primary, and leading Biden by a lot,” he said, “so if you can’t beat him, you persecute him or you prosecute him.” (While Trump is leading in Republican primary polls, he is neck and neck with Biden.)
The consensus seems to be that the case will go one of two ways: It will either tank Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign or it will secure him four more years in office. We’ll have to wait to see how it shakes out. But for now, Trump’s most serious indictment, even against the backdrop of fatigue, deserves our attention.