MARIA BARTIROMO (ANCHOR): Welcome back. Sedition on the docket. The Wall Street Journal this morning reporting that Attorney General William Barr is pushing federal prosecutors to consider charging violent rioters with sedition, including potentially prosecuting individuals with plotting to overthrow the U.S. government. Joining me right now is former federal prosecutor and Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy, and Andy, it's good to see you this morning.
First, explain the law itself, and give us your reaction.
ANDY MCCARTHY (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): Good morning, Maria. Yeah, the unfortunate thing about the sedition statute — which I used against terrorists who bombed the World Trade Center back in the 1990s — is that the word “sedition” is in the title. “Sedition” is a word that gets people's hackles up because it's got associations with the late 18th-century Alien and Sedition Acts. It's something of a vague term, in terms of what it means, whether it's necessarily violent or not violent.
The important thing, Maria, is that the word “sedition” does not actually appear in the charging language of the statute, which makes it a crime to make war against the United States or use force against the government. It's almost — you almost wish the statute was called, you know, “war against the United States,” “force against the government,” because that's what's it's about, and that's why it's a perfect charge for this kind of situation.
BARTIROMO: So, you do think it's a perfect charge for the situation. I mean, they are going there rioting, wanting to take buildings down. That — that is their goal, make sure to destroy federal property.
MCCARTHY: Right. What we had in 1990s, Maria, was something that was very similar. We had terrorists who were operating domestically, even though they were tied to foreign organizations, they were in the United States, they were targeting federal installations and big American targets like financial targets, like the World Trade Center, for example. Their rhetoric made it clear, they considered themselves to be at war with the United States, and they were targeting the government as a government. In other words, they weren't just randomly trying to pick people off, they were talking about federal buildings, police buildings, political officials, and the like. It's not a hard case to prove.
BARTIROMO: I see.