What the law really says about "domestic terrorism"

Somodevilla chip / Getty Images. Fox News Host Tucker carlson Aggressively shredded Sen. Ted cruz (R-TX) Thursday night following co...


tucker carlson screaming

Somodevilla chip / Getty Images.

Fox News Host Tucker carlson Aggressively shredded Sen. Ted cruz (R-TX) Thursday night following comments from the senator calling the events of January 6 a “terrorist attack”, in a now viral segment that drew widespread mockery for Cruz’s “pathetic” and “creeping” response.

Carlson stormed that it was a “lie” to use the term “terrorist attack”, because none of the alleged participants had been charged with terrorism, and he lashed out at Cruz, a Harvard Law-trained attorney, for trying to claim he accidentally used the term.

Let’s be clear, Carlson was right on one point: Cruz does not have using this term accidentally. In the Senate speech which drew Carlson’s ire, Cruz said the following:

We are approaching a solemn anniversary this week. And it’s the anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol where we saw the men and women of the police show incredible courage, incredible bravery, risking their lives to defend the men and women who serve in this Capitol.

It is highly unlikely that a senator, especially one who is actively salivate at the thought of running for president again in 2024 – make a speech about an event sure to attract media attention without running the speech through several drafts with their speech writers and campaign consultants.

Even if you wanted to believe the claim that Cruz made the very rare decision to speak out of the blue and was “sloppy” in his choice of words, this is belied by Cruz’s own past comments.

CNN Fact Checker Daniel Dale deployed his well-established ability to search the Internet for receipts that prove politicians’ pants were on fire, and he discovered that Cruz “had described the riot on the Capitol as a terrorist attack or broadly described the rioters as terrorists in repeatedly for months – at least 17 previous times in official written statements, in tweets, in remarks in Senate hearings and in interviews.

Good. Fine. So Carlson was right about slap Cruz a little metaphorically for trying to shake off what he said (seventeen times!), but what about the Fox News host’s larger point, that it was a ‘lie’ by to use the term “terrorism” in relation to January 6, since no one had been charged with this crime? Was it really just a lazy attorney general rehearsal Merrick garland “Talking points”, like Carlson fulminated Wednesday?

The current federal law which speaks of “domestic terrorism” is 18 United States Code § 2331 (5), which gives the following definition of the expression (18 US Code § 2331 (1) gives a similar definition of “international terrorism”):

(5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities which:
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that constitute a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any state;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) influence government policy through intimidation or coercion; Where
(iii) affect the conduct of a government through massive destruction, assassination or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States

However, no federal law makes it a crime to commit an act of national terrorism, to belong to a national terrorist organization, or to provide material support to national terrorists.

Again, to be clear: there is no crime of “domestic terrorism” under applicable federal law.

There is simply no charge that a federal prosecutor could lay against an accused for “domestic terrorism”, although they can sometimes introduce domestic terrorism issues to consider for a heavier sentence, for example, after an accused has been convicted of charges such as hate crimes, homicide, use of weapons of mass destruction, etc.

A few states have laws that make acts of domestic terrorism a crime. Michigan is one such jurisdiction, as the case of accused school shooter Ethan Crumbley, the 15-year-old who was charged as an adult with one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to kill and 12 counts of possession of a firearm. CNN crime and justice correspondent Shimon prokupecz wrote a Detailed analysis the terrorism charge against Crumbley and the prosecutor’s legal theory in December.

But these state laws are not burdens that one federal attorney could bring.

Palm Beach County, Florida State Attorney Dave aronberg agreed that since there was no federal crime for domestic terrorism, “there is nothing a federal prosecutor can charge.”

However, he said, “it’s not an unfair or inaccurate term to use, it’s just not a tool in the arsenal of federal prosecutors.”

“I was just making this point yesterday,” said Aronberg, “because there is no federal law on domestic terrorism, which is why no one has been charged with domestic terrorism resulting from the events of January 6. “, and the definition that was provided in 18 US Code § 2331 is” ​​that which confuses people “.

Aronberg noted the rare state like Michigan that might have a national anti-terrorism law, mentioning the Crumbley case, and said he had never sought to lay such charges against defendants in his county.

The subject had been the subject of intense debate in recent years, noted Aronberg, “due to the rise in white supremacist violence” and infamous events like the Capitol riots. He personally supports passing a federal law specifically making domestic terrorism a crime, but has acknowledged opposition from groups on both sides of the aisle who have expressed fears that it could be used against advocacy groups. civil rights or to target individuals for partisan purposes.

Yet, Aronberg continued, his point of view was that “it is fair to call those who have committed violence [at the Capitol on Jan. 6] national terrorists, that’s right, look at the legal definition, ”and he mentioned previous tweets and TV comments where he made this exact point, regarding both the Capitol riots and the violence that took place during the summer 2020 events.

When asked about specific comments from the Texas senator, Aronberg (who in all fairness holds an elected office as a Democrat) said “Ted Cruz knows best,” and he’s right.

Cruz’s appearance on Tucker Carlson tonight Thursday was not a surprise and the subject was not an ambush. Carlson had blasted Cruz on Wednesday, openly asked Cruz to explain “what’s going on here”, and Cruz responded to Carlson’s invitation, texting her shortly after the show airs and ask to come the next night.

Now Cruz – a former Texas Solicitor General, legal adviser to the George W. Bush administration, and corporate litigator for several white shoe law firms – should know how to do legal research (or at least understand how Google). He could have easily researched this question of “domestic terrorism” and come to the Carlson show armed with a quote from current federal law, dozens of legal commentaries on the subject and counter the Carlson attack. with a logical argument.

You know, like a real lawyer could.

Instead, he crawled.

He crawled and said he was sorry.

Sorry for what? For having used a fair and precise expression, “terrorist attack”, to describe the actions of the violent rioters?

Rioters who smashed fences and barricades, smashed windows and glass doors, assaulted uniformed police officers with a wide variety of weapons, built a gallows and chanted “Hang Mike Pence”, stormed them. chambers of the Speaker of the House while his staff hid in terrified under a table in an interior office, sent the Vice President and members of Congress to flee for their lives and barricaded themselves behind doors, and committed acts of vandalism and burglary throughout the United States Capitol.

The rioters who sought to interrupt the certification of the Electoral College votes that said the candidate they wanted to win in fact lost. The rioters who chanted “Stop the Steal” as they invaded the steps of the Capitol, physically overpowering the largely outnumbered law enforcement, motivated by the baseless claims of the former president Donald trump and his allies like Rudy Giuliani, Sidney powell, and Jenna ellis, who insisted there was a way to quash Electoral College votes, expel some states or introduce other voters lists and give Trump a second term.

Is this not seeking to “influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion”? Yes of course. It’s a shame that Cruz was too cowardly to defend his own words by saying that.

This is an opinion piece. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone.



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Newsrust - US Top News: What the law really says about "domestic terrorism"
What the law really says about "domestic terrorism"
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