Cotton: There’s a ‘Strong Case’ for Many of the January 6 Defendants to Be Pardoned

During this week’s broadcast of CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) discussed the double standard of justice applied to the January 6, 2021 protesters, noting that some of those who were convicted of misdemeanors had pre-trial incarceration last longer than their sentences.

According to Cotton, the January 6 standard was not applied to Black Lives Matter protesters who engaged in acts of violence against federal property.

He also told CNN’s Jake Tapper there was a case for a presidential pardon for some of the January 6 protesters.

Partial transcript as follows:

COTTON: Well, look, what happened on January 6, 2021, is that there was a protest in Washington that got out of hand, and it became a riot.

And as I have said from the very beginning, anyone who injured a law enforcement officer or committed acts of violence on January 6 at the Capitol should be prosecuted and face severe consequences.

Again, that’s unlike Democrats, who won’t prosecute violent protesters, for instance, from Democratic street militias outside the homes of Supreme Court justices or defacing statues of veterans right across from the White House.

Anyone who commits acts of violence, in my opinion, should be prosecuted and face severe consequences.

TAPPER: So you disagree when Donald Trump says, as president, he will considering — he will consider pardoning every one of the January 6 rioters convicted in court? He said every one, not — and I understand that others who maybe didn’t participate in violent protests are different than the ones who used violence or assaulted police officers.

But he says every one. He’s considering it.

COTTON: But he didn’t say — he didn’t say he would.

TAPPER: No, he said consider it.

COTTON: He said he would consider it. I think what that means is what he did in his first term. He’d take each case for a pardon request on a case-by-case basis.

And I do think there’s a strong case for many of the defendants to be pardoned, because they didn’t engage in acts of violence. They didn’t damage federal property. In some cases, they were subject to pretrial detention for a longer period than the sentences for the misdemeanor crimes that they faced.

Some of them are probably about to have their convictions or their indictments overturned by a Supreme Court decision, because the Biden administration stretched the law beyond reasonable bounds to go after some of the people who were present, not even in the Capitol, but near the Capitol that day, which is, again, in contrast to the violent pro-Hamas protesters you see outside the White House or Democratic street militias who are marching in violation of federal law outside Supreme Court justices’ homes trying to intimidate them on the way they rule in a particular case.

TAPPER: I will just observe that some critics might say you — it sounds like you have a different standard. You have a tough law and order stance on everything, other than these issues here that have to do with President Trump and his supporters.

You seem to have it — because you have a very hard-line stance on law and order.


TAPPER: But, here, you’re talking about, oh, maybe pardoning them if they didn’t engage in violence.

That’s not the language you use when you’re talking about the Black Lives Matter protesters or others.

COTTON: Well, many of the BLM and Antifa riots in 2020 were not so-called peaceful protests, as some on your network said. They were looting and rioting and committing arson and murder.

Again, these same — America techniques that were used for every grandma in a MAGA hat who was within a country mile of the Capitol on January 6 are not being used for the street militias who protested outside Supreme Court justices’ homes or the pro-Hamas lunatics who were defacing statues of veterans or who occupied college campuses last month.

I’m simply calling for the same standards to be used regardless of one’s politics. That’s the essence of the rule of law.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor


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