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Whistleblower: FBI threatened agents who questioned whether Jan. 6 rioters were being treated equally

Let’s start with something basic. The First Amendment doesn’t create a right to riot. (We know, it kind of goes without saying, but we are going somewhere with this.) The famous ‘Ramen man’ made this point brilliantly years ago:

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It remains a classic, and what he is referring to is this language in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law … abridging … the right of the people peaceably to assemble[.]” 

That limitation ‘peaceably’ excludes riots, and the First Amendment has been long applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. Mind you, the First Amendment makes nothing a crime—it merely limits the power of government—but, generally speaking, we feel confident that rioting violates the law in every American jurisdiction. The law might not always be enforced, but we believe it is always illegal.

But just because the First Amendment doesn’t give you the right to engage in an act outright doesn’t mean the First Amendment might not still be in play. That is a point emphasized by the Supreme Court in RAV v. St. Paul, 505 U.S. 377 (1992). We’ve mentioned this case several times, but it is useful this time to talk about it in much more detail.

“RAV” was a juvenile which is why we don’t know his real name—only his initials. He and other teenagers allegedly trespassed on the property of a black family and burned a cross. He was then charged under a St. Paul ordinance that read as follows:

Whoever places on public or private property a symbol, object, appellation, characterization or graffiti, including, but not limited to, a burning cross or Nazi swastika, which one knows or has reasonable grounds to know arouses anger, alarm or resentment in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion or gender commits disorderly conduct and shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

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This statute was interpreted by the lower courts as a “fighting words” statute and therefore, in those lower courts, it was held to be constitutional under the long-recognized exception for fighting words the Supreme Court has found in the First Amendment. But the United States Supreme Court said there was still a problem. Even though the Supreme Court had long said there was no First Amendment right to engage in fighting words, the statute was not neutral between all fighting words. From Scalia's majority opinion:

In its practical operation, moreover, the ordinance goes even beyond mere content discrimination, to actual viewpoint discrimination. Displays containing some words— odious racial epithets, for example—would be prohibited to proponents of all views. But "fighting words" that do not themselves invoke race, color, creed, religion, or gender— aspersions upon a person's mother, for example—would seemingly be usable ad libitum in the placards of those arguing in favor of racial, color, etc., tolerance and equality, but could not be used by those speakers' opponents. One could hold up a sign saying, for example, that all "anti-Catholic bigots" are misbegotten; but not that all "papists" are, for that would insult and provoke violence "on the basis of religion." St. Paul has no such authority to license one side of a debate to fight freestyle, while requiring the other to follow Marquis of Queensberry rules.

In short, the First Amendment doesn’t allow the government to engage in viewpoint discrimination. And yet according to this whistleblower, if you questioned whether the FBI was engaged in such discrimination, you were threatened with being fired:

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From the article:

An FBI whistleblower has revealed to Congress that Deputy Director Paul Abbate threatened to fire agents and other bureau employees who said there were disparities in the responses to the U.S. Capitol riot in 2021 and the George Floyd riots in 2020.

In an affidavit delivered to Congress, the unnamed FBI worker said Mr. Abbate made the threats during a secured video teleconference with the special agents in charge of the bureau’s 56 field offices. Mr. Abbate told these supervisors that some agents were questioning the massive investigative response to pro-Trump demonstrators storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Abbate told the audience that anyone who questions the FBI’s response or his decisions regarding the response to Jan. 6 did not belong in the FBI and should find a different job — or something to that effect,” according to the affidavit.

We don’t know if every one of those agents swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, but regardless of whether they have taken such an oath, they are bound to the Constitution. Like the rest of the Federal Government, the FBI literally has no power except that granted by the Constitution and they cannot claim the power granted by the Constitution without accepting the limitations on that power imposed by the same document. And yet here we have a clear threat of retaliation against any person who asks whether the First Amendment was being violated.

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And in all frankness, it was. One can cite George Floyd riots, but let us remember that there were also riots in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, 2017—the day Trump was inaugurated. The media calls them protests, and surely some were merely protesting. But others rioted. Here’s a screenshot of an NBC news article on the subject:

Notice that they say they say “six police officers suffered minor injuries after some protesters set fires and smashed windows in the nation's capital.” That’s not just a protest. That is a riot. You can read the article yourself, here:

And like the riots on Jan. 6, 2021, those Jan. 20, 2017 riots were plainly designed to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. You cannot be president without taking the oath of office (the speech is optional, legally), and so if those rioters successfully stopped the oath of office, we would have had no president until it could be administered. And yet there was no national dragnet to catch these rioters, no congressional hearings, and the few who were arrested were set free.

In short, what Democrats have done over the last few years is say that one side can fight freestyle—they can riot with little concern for prosecution—while Trump supporters or conservatives will be held to ‘Marquis of Queensberry rules.’

Indeed, when one man dared to oppose the rioters during a liberal-approved riot and had to defend himself, he was prosecuted and still faces a civil suit for doing so:

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Naturally, there were reactions to the Washington Times story:

We are so glad he didn’t become a Supreme Court Justice.

More like just plain bias.

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Is Santa right to believe in conspiracy theories? Well, to be fair, he knows if you are sleeping, knows if you’re awake … so he probably has all the dirt on everyone.

Sorry to joke, folks, but it is our way of coping with infuriating behavior.

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