On Thursday evening, Jimmy Kimmel celebrated the arrest of a far-right militia leader and 10 others for their role in the 6 January attack on the Capitol for charges of seditious conspiracy. “Sedition is a very serious charge,” Kimmel explained. “It’s similar to treason.
“The definition of seditious conspiracy is essentially two or more people conspiring to overthrow the government by force,” he added. “You know how your mother used to say, ‘if your friend jumped off a bridge, would you jump off one too?’ These are the people who answered yes.”
The most high-profile arrest was of Stewart Rhodes, the 56-year-old, eye patch-wearing leader of the far-right Oath Keepers and a “cross between Captain Hook and Captain Crunch”, Kimmel joked.
“The charges were a bit of a surprise because apparently it’s very difficult to prove sedition,” he noted, “although he did say that anyone opposing Donald Trump should expect a ‘bloody, bloody civil war’, so how hard could it be, really?” In its statement, the justice department described the Oath Keepers as “a large but loosely organised collection of individuals, some of whom are associated with militias”.
In other news, a new study found that the average American spends one-third of their waking hours on a mobile device. “Am I the only one who thinks that sounds low?” Kimmel wondered. “Pretty sure I was playing Wordle in my sleep last night.”
On the Late Show, Stephen Colbert also cheered the arrest of 11 people associated with the 6 January insurrection for seditious conspiracy, which is “no slap on the wrist”, he said. The group faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
“That’s pretty bad, I gotta say, but somehow it feels like it should be more?” Colbert said. “Like if you tried to take the government down, you should go away for longer than one Billie Eilish.”
Seditious conspiracy can be a difficult charge to prove, but the justice department offered evidence that in the run-up to 6 January, Rhodes called on members to “stock up on ammo” and prepare for a “full-on war in the streets”.
“And a war was there, and it’s a war that they lost,” Colbert said. “Finally, they’re charging people with the sedition we saw with our own eyes on live TV. And hopefully one day the feds will learn the identity of that shadowy figure who was the president who told them to do it.”
While the charges started to restore Colbert’s faith in the justice department, he was still losing it with the supreme court, which voted along ideological lines, 6-3, on Thursday to block Biden’s vaccine mandate for large employers. “What the hell, Supremes? What do you know about large employers?” he said. “You’re a small business with nine workers whose dress code is ankle-length Hefty bag!”
In an unsigned opinion, the conservative majority argued: “Although Congress has indisputably given Osha [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] the power to regulate occupational dangers it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly.”
“But Covid is an occupational danger!” Colbert responded. “Why do you think everyone who can is working from home? You think it’s because they want to see their spouse yell at the Roomba again?”
And on Late Night, Seth Meyers checked in on the House select committee’s investigation into the 6 January attack, which has called upon the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, to cooperate. McCarthy, who once condemned the rioters but has since re-allied with Trump, has stonewalled the committee.
“No offense, but why are they asking Kevin McCarthy for information now?” Meyers wondered. “This committee moves slower than the courtship in a Jane Austen novel. Did you invite him via scented letter? With that said, I do hope they subpoena him, mainly because it would be so funny to see him try to hide from the process server.”
It would be easy for McCarthy to hide, Meyers admitted, showing a photo of an all-white, all-male group of Republican lawmakers. “How could you pick him out of a crowd? Even Trump doesn’t know his name,” he said, pointing to a 2019 clip in which Trump called McCarthy “Steve” instead of Kevin. “Can’t blame Trump for that one. He looks like a Steve to me, too. If he were a character in Guess Who? that shit would be impossible.”
It would be especially interesting to hear from McCarthy, Meyers continued, because just days after the riot, he told Congress that Trump “bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters”.
“Oh boy, I’m guessing McCarthy doesn’t want anyone to remember that video,” Meyers joked. “No, no, no, that wasn’t me! That was that asshole Steve. Hate that guy!”