The U.S. Justice Department has taken a surprising turn in the incident involving a U–Haul truck crashing into a White House barricade, downgrading all charges against the driver, Sai Varshith Kandula.
The man had been originally charged with threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on a president, vice president or family member, as well as assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, and trespassing and destruction of federal property.
The truck had broken briefly through the barriers near the White House, sparking speculation and rumors that the driver might be a white supremacist. This, however, was quickly revealed to be false as the driver‘s identity was confirmed as Sai Varshith Kandula. A Nazi flag was found in the truck, but it turned out to be incidental.
Investigations revealed that Kandula had been planning the attack for six months, with his goal being “to get to the White House, seize power, and be put in charge of the nation.” It has since been determined that he is not a US citizen.
Given all this, many were shocked when the Justice Department announced that they had downgraded his charges from those previously listed to a single count of “depredation of property of the United States in excess of $1,000.”
The news is sure to spark considerable speculation as to why the charges have been downgraded. Some are wondering if it has something to do with the fact that Kandula appears to be mentally ill – after all, no sane person would think they can just seize the White House and be installed as leader of the country. Others are wondering if the US government is simply trying to sweep the incident under the rug after the initial narrative collapsed.
Whatever the case, it’s likely that we’ll never know the true reasons behind the decision, and many will never know why the charges were downgraded so drastically. But whatever the outcome, it serves as a lesson to be more aware of the facts at hand before jumping to conclusions in the future. News outlets should be especially mindful of this in light of the media’s initial rush to paint this as an attack by a possible white supremacist – a story which turned out to be far from the truth.