Federal Judge Compares U.S. Capitol Rioters To Those In Thrall To Germany’s Nazis

A federal judge on Friday raised the specter of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler as he noted similarities in the mindset of U.S. Capitol rioters mesmerized by a “demagogue.”

Senior U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton pointed to the chilling comparisons as he handed down a three-year sentence in his District of Columbia courtroom to rioter Dustin Thompson of Ohio, who had blamed Donald Trump for his involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol in the former president’s waning days in office.

Walton said he was struck that the college-educated Thompson fell into the “rabbit hole” of conspiracy theories and embraced lies spread by Trump that the 2020 presidential election had been rigged against him.

“We saw it happen in Nazi Germany. A very educated, intelligent population was able to be swayed to engage in the atrocities that took place in Germany based upon a demagogue,” Walton noted, according to Business Insider. “It seems to me you bought into that same type of mentality,” he added.

Walton called it “utterly scary that we still have millions of people … still buying a lie that’s not based on anything other than someone who’s unhappy because they didn’t get what they want.” He was apparently referring to Trump, who was incensed over his loss of the popular vote and the Electoral College count.

Thompson was found guilty earlier this year of obstruction of a government proceeding, entering a restricted building, and disorderly and disruptive conduct. He was also found guilty of stealing government property, including a coat tree and a bottle of bourbon from a Senate office, as Trump supporters marauded through the Capitol.

Thompson had testified that he believed he was following “presidential orders” when he stormed the Capitol with a mob intent on disrupting Congress as it met to certify the electoral votes for Joe Biden.

He told Walton on Friday that he was “deeply ashamed” and apologized to the U.S. Capitol Police and “everyone in the United States.”

He admitted his “participation in the insurrection threatened the government.”

In April, after a jury found Thompson guilty, Walton warned that “our democracy is in trouble because, unfortunately, we have charlatans like our former president, who doesn’t, in my view, really care about democracy but only about power,” Business Insider reported. “As a result of that, it’s tearing this country apart.”

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