Sobbing Jan. 6 insurrectionist sent to prison after lawyer argues his brain was not fully developed

Bucks County, Pennsylvania resident Leonard Pearson “Pearce” Ridge IV was 19 years old when he drove to Washington, D.C. to participate in the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, that resulted in more than 140 police officers injured and damages upward of $1.5 million.

The now 20-year-old has been sentenced to 14 days in prison, despite his lawyer's argument that his brain may not have been fully developed to understand the crimes he was committing, The New York Post reported.

Ridge was responsible for breaking open the doors to the offices of Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). He also admitted to spending nearly 40 minutes inside the U.S. Capitol.

“I think we’re going to try to block the session of Congress,” he told a friend on Snapchat on his way to the Jan. 6 rally.

WATCH: 'I can't say it with a straight face': Morning Joe hilariously busts Lindsey Graham's multiple personalities

After the insurrection, Ridge told his Snapchat followers that he had "just made history" and that “I hate to say it but like the time for us to fight is here.” But for all intents and purposes, his tune seems to be changing now.

“If I could do it over again, I would have never entered that building or done any of the things I did that day,” he outwardly sobbed to U.S. District Judge John E. Boasberg on Tuesday.

Ridge's attorney, Carina Laguzzi, asked the judge to be lenient before her client’s sentencing citing medical studies that suggest the human brain may not be fully developed until an individual’s mid-20s, according to reports. To that end, Ridge told the judge he had only entered politics "in the months before" Jan. 6.

“There are perhaps people who attended the rally who were swept up in the crowd, or swept up in the moment,” Judge Boasberg said. “But that is not true for you, given your previous statements.”

“A riot cannot occur without rioters, and each rioter’s actions — from the most mundane to the most violent — contributed, directly and indirectly, to the violence and destruction of that day,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Justin Friedman wrote in court filings preceding Tuesday’s hearing.

Ridge pleaded guilty in October 2021 to one misdemeanor count of entering a restricted area, six months after tips from high school classmates led to his arrest. His sentence was determined to be 14 days in jail, along with probation for one year, 100 hours of community service and a fine of $1,000.

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Jan. 6 destroyed congressional friendships -- and lawmakers are only getting 'even Trumpier'

The Jan. 6 insurrection has sharpened divisions in Congress and strained relationships among lawmakers.

Those divisions were dramatically highlighted when only one Republican showed up for a moment of silence marking the riot's one-year anniversary, and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) told The Daily Beast how the deadly insurrection had ruined his connections with conservative colleagues.

“It’s definitely changed my relationships with members of my congressional delegation," Casey said. "We had eight out of nine Republican members from Pennsylvania vote against Pennsylvania on Jan. 6. That is inexcusable. It’s enraging."

“We’re losing that space in which we’re actually able to talk to each other," agreed Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ). "This is not the kind of environment that is conducive to the kind of debate over important issues that we should be having."

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) likened the situation to a congressional softball game.

“You show up on an elementary school lot and play softball at seven o’clock in the morning and you’re in your rawest form," Bustos said. "You’re in your sweatsuit, you’re not wearing any makeup, you’ve barely combed your hair ... I know while I have teammates who did not vote to certify the electoral returns of the November 2020 election, we just don’t talk about it.”

Freshman lawmaker Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA) told The Daily Beast hers is one of the only classes to do new-member orientation in a bipartisan way. And because of COVID, the freshmen mostly only knew each other toward the beginning of their tenures, she said. Still, Jacobs said it was “certainly difficult” to watch the events of Jan. 6 unfold and realize that there were some Republicans she’d gotten to know side with election deniers on Jan. 6.

“I was very disappointed when we all came back after the attack and they still voted against certification of the election. That was really hard and it certainly affected everything moving forward,” she said.

147 Republicans voted against certifying the 2020 election results, citing unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Could a new freshman class help shake up the toxic dynamic in Congress? Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) said he wasn't sure it would.

“Every new class is an opportunity for that," Huffman said. "The unfortunate reality though, is that Trump’s grip on the Republican Party and the Republican primary process is so firm that we are just getting more extreme members with each new class. So, if that pattern holds, and I see no reason to think it won’t, the next class of Republicans will be even Trumpier.”

This bizarre and ‘bloodthirsty’ pro-Trump religious group cheered on Jan. 6 rioters – then mysteriously shut down

A new Trump group claimed the name Jericho March as an unregistered trademark in late 2020 despite the term having been widely used for many years prior. The term “Jericho march” or “Jericho walk” has been used off and on over the last few decades by Christian groups protesting in support of social and political goals.

Robert M. Weaver, a onetime Trump administration nominee for director of the Indian Health Service, and Arina Grossu, a low-level Trump administration appointee in communications, spearheaded the name "takeover" for the pro-Trump group involved in the attempted coup of the U.S. Capitol.

“Just as the Israelites circled the walls of Jericho until the walls fell, so we use peaceful means of protest until truth, transparency and justice prevail,” Weaver stated in a Nov. 25, 2020 press release. “What’s at stake is the future of free and fair elections in our Republic. We seek true election reform to protect our American freedoms and the integrity of our election process. We believe that God has blessed America and will continue to bless her, if our people remain faithful to God’s call to holiness and repentance."

Grossu chimed in, “It is time for the people of God to activate in unprecedented ways. We have stayed silent for too long, but now the Church is rising up. Our God is mightier than any earthly power and He can restore truth and justice. This is also God’s call to unity in our Church. We are diverse in our Judeo-Christian beliefs and expressions, yet we come as one with childlike faith and trust in authentic worship of the One True God.”

READ MORE: Jan. 6 rioters networked in advance, planned to storm the Capitol and fantasized about hanging lawmakers for 'treason'

The release further explained that “The Jericho March™ is biblically-focused on Joshua 6. Jericho was a city of false gods and corruption. Just as Joshua was instructed to march around the walls of Jericho seven times, Jericho Marchers™ pray, fast, and march at a specific place and time until darkness is exposed and the walls of corruption fall down.”

The Bulwark reported that "Weaver and Grossu’s group was active in the weeks between the 2020 election and the insurrection, most prominently on Dec. 12, 2020, when it held a 'Let the Church ROAR!' rally in Washington, D.C., featuring Michael Flynn’s first public appearance after his pardon by Trump.

“Don’t get bent out of shape,” Flynn said of the election results. “There are still avenues. . . . We’re fighting with faith, and we’re fighting with courage.”

"In keeping with the Jericho theme, the rally featured the blowing of shofars, comparisons to the last days, and speakers who could be considered prophetic visionaries. Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist, was there. So was Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò (who has become progressively more QAnon-adjacent)," The Bulwark reported.

Jericho Marchers were not the only group storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 - and The Bulwark argues that "unlike with the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, there seems to be no explicit mention of the Jericho March in the complaints and indictments filed so far by the Justice Department against the Capitol attackers. We do know that someone from the group’s leadership was that day approvingly tweeting pictures of protesters who had broken through barricades, overrun the police, and climbed all over the West Front of the Capitol."

Those same social media posts have since been locked down or removed, but a mirrored site still shows the group's original posts.

"After Jan. 6th, the group locked its Twitter account and shut down its website, as the organizers presumably realized that aiding in insurrection carried more consequences than they, personally, wanted to bear," The Bulwark reported. "The Jericho March homepage now shows just two statements, both released in the days after the attack, claiming that the group had 'a history of totally peaceful marches' for 'election integrity' and that its aim was to be 'a peaceful prayer march where people of Judeo-Christian faith pray together, sing songs, and blow shofars.'"

The Jericho March may have ceased operation publicly on social media after the insurrection on Jan. 6, but the group's ideas and members haven’t gone away.

"It is easy to act as though something unpleasant is an aberration, as the Jericho March organizers have claimed that the violence of Jan. 6 was," The Bulwark reported. "But there is another way of looking at the group’s role in what happened that day: A coalition of evangelical and Catholic extremists claiming to be 'prophetically inspired' and naming itself for one of the most bloodthirsty passage in the Bible decided, on the basis of lies, to wage holy war against the American Republic."

'You don't look the other way': Merrick Garland put on the spot to go after Trump by former Solicitor General

Former President Donald Trump and his high-level cohorts have yet to be held accountable for the attempted coup of the United States government on Jan. 6, 2020 - and former U.S. Acting Solicitor General Neal K. Katyal is issuing a dire warning for investigators.

"To fail to investigate government officials, including the former president, who had to know that the attempt was to interfere with the counting of the vote, to say nothing of its potential for accompanying violence, is fantastically dangerous," Katyal wrote for The Atlantic.

"The whole point of criminal law is to provide societal condemnation of evil acts and to deter them in the future," Katyal continued. "If government leaders and their private army of advisers can get away with encouraging a mob to, in 2021, stop one of our nation’s most solemn functions, the counting of electoral votes, what is to stop them from trying again in any other year?"

Katyal explained that "the essence of the rule of law is to treat like parties equally. That’s why Lady Justice appears blindfolded, because she is to dole out justice impartially. I teach my criminal-law students that this is a 'same yardstick' principle—what law is, at bottom, is a command to judge people according to the same yardstick, whether you like them or not. And that means that if there is serious evidence of crime, you don’t look the other way, no matter how hard prosecution may be. At the same time, that principle doesn’t mean Garland ought to be announcing criminal charges against Trump and his pals right now. Merrick Garland is the attorney general, not Santa Claus."

RELATED: Trump has been laughing about the suffering of 1/6 victims when talking with close friends: report

Katyal presented that the yardstick is already pointing in a "clear direction."

"...given the public record already available—including evidence of 'war rooms' at the Willard Hotel, bogus legal memos that circulated among senior government leaders, and even a member of Congress who is known to have worn body armor that day—it’s very hard to see how an investigation into all of this wouldn’t be required. To fail to investigate government officials, including the former president, who had to know that the attempt was to interfere with the counting of the vote, to say nothing of its potential for accompanying violence, is fantastically dangerous," he wrote.

Katyal offered, "Nothing less is at stake than protecting the architecture of the U.S. government. Right now, members of Congress who look complicit in the Jan. 6 attack are refusing to cooperate with the congressional investigation, emboldened by their belief that there is no serious risk of Justice Department prosecution. A DOJ investigation would change that. It speaks to Attorney General Garland’s character that he has handled the investigation with so much tact. But we are at a national crossroads. If Garland doesn’t speak out about the investigation’s scope, the other guys will."

This MAGA fan was actually an undercover reporter – and what she found at Trump rallies was ‘alarming’

Fever Dreams co-hosts Asawin Suebsaeng and Will Sommer welcomed guest Amanda Moore on the show to discuss the one-year anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol -- from the inside. Moore revealed she had been secretly recording conversations as an undercover operative during MAGA, QAnon and CPAC events. What she found was alarming.

Moore said her main takeaway from her time undercover was that “there’s a rise of right-wing populism among the under-30 crowd that's incredibly alarming to me… I really worry about it.. I really just can never stress enough, like the rise of like the younger populist fascists. And like I said, everybody, under 35, I met who was at the Capitol says, ‘We did it. That was us.’ And they accept it and they’re like, ‘It would’ve been cooler if we had gotten further.’ And, like, ‘The Founding Fathers would be proud of us.’”

The Daily Beast reported the "...increasingly popular far-right playbook for harassing hyperlocal and moderate GOP officials and their children—people who are ostensibly part of the same party—to pressure them out of positions overseeing elections or on school boards, in order to install more radical acolytes."

“Pressley Stutts took over the very local Greenville, South Carolina, GOP—I mean, he bullied this woman… who was in charge into quitting," Moore said. "And now—I mean, he was at an event I was at, and there was a COVID outbreak, and now he’s dead. But I mean, before he died, he was able to accomplish this.”

READ MORE: From the Bundys to the Rotunda: How allowing far-right terrorism to fester led to Trump's Jan. 6 coup attempt

Moore said that during November and December 2020, she had to stop wearing her face covering to preserve her identity - because wearing a mask at Stop the Steal rallies became too dangerous.

“I don’t know what a superspreader is in technicality,” Moore said. “But if it means everybody there got COVID, I went to at least a dozen superspreader events and people died at almost all of them. And these are people who, like, were preaching to the very last breath—like, don’t get the vaccine.”

Listen to the interview below.


'The Republican elite have always seen Trump as a clown' -- but something's changed in the last year

It was a surprising victory for Republicans in 2016 when then-candidate Donald J. Trump went from reality star to President of the United States. The party jumped at the opportunity to seize control of the government - even though they believed he was a clown, at best. Now, one year after Jan. 6, the Republican Party is aligning behind a new normal.

"Jan. 6, 2021, may be the most contentious date in American history. To Democrats and the surviving remnant of anti-Trump Republicans, the event was a spasm of right-wing political violence aimed at terminating the republican experiment," New York Magazine reported. "To most Republicans, it was something ranging from a noble uprising to a prank gone somewhat awry to, at worst, a minor lapse in judgment."

Republicans are referring to Jan. 6 as an "act of political theater" which, in itself, implies a direct response to an audience's reaction of pre-determined events.

READ MORE: Ivanka and Don Trump Jr. facing legal trap if they testify before grand jury

"For the Republican Party to be ripe for Trump’s takeover in 2016 required decades of degeneration. That degeneration accelerated under Trump," New York Magazine reported. "And in the past year, the pace has accelerated yet again: The party has changed more dramatically since he unwillingly left office than in the four years he held it. It is a party reborn, of a distinctly new and more dangerous cast, and Jan. 6 was its true founding."

"After the 2016 election, Republicans were stunned to find that control of government had fallen into their lap. Now, they confidently anticipate the chance to seize it. And when they do, they will not be as confused, divided, or gentle as last time," New York Magazine reported.

Here’s how the pro-Trump insurrection has inflicted long-term damage on DC police

The insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 injured around 150 officers from the Capitol and Metropolitan Police Departments and local agencies - more than 80 from the Capitol Police alone. Now, an investigation by The New York Times reveals the long-lasting physical and psychological damage that has resulted for the officers since the riots.

"Interviews over many months with more than two dozen officers and their families (some of whom requested not to use their full names to speak frankly without permission from the department or to protect future employment prospects in the federal government), as well as a review of internal documents, congressional testimony and medical records, reveal a department that is still hobbled and in many ways dysfunctional," the Times reported.

“The department expected and planned for violence from some protesters with ties to domestic terrorist organizations,” Chief J. Thomas Manger said in a statement, “but nobody in the law-enforcement or intelligence communities imagined, on top of that threat, Americans who were not affiliated with those groups would cause the mayhem to metastasize to a volume uncontrollable for any single law-enforcement agency.”

The Times reported that, "In the year since the siege on the Capitol, about 135 officers on a force of about 1,800 have quit or retired, an increase of 69 percent over the year before. (One officer quit after enduring a string of tragedies: He suffered a stroke shortly after the assault on the Capitol and then contracted the coronavirus twice because of what he viewed as the department’s lax enforcement of mask-wearing protocols.)."

READ MORE: 'Recipe for disaster': Capitol Police union rejects plan to rely on private contractors

More than 500 additional officers will be eligible for retirement in the next five years, which could increase exits dramatically.

"Officers we interviewed about their decision to leave said the failures of Jan. 6 were the most egregious of a series of management crises and errors. If Jan. 6 was a national tragedy, it was also one that the officers who served at the Capitol that day experienced cruelly and intimately in their own bodies, compounding the psychic fallout that has been especially profound in people who believed that their daily work reflected the country’s highest ideals: to protect members of Congress, regardless of party, in order to protect democracy itself," the Times reported.

A man named Anton shared his thoughts on the day that changed democracy in America.

“I just wanted to help,” Anton said many months after the assault on the Capitol, after his disillusionment with the force had swelled and spilled over into so many aspects of his life that he barely recognized himself. “In the Navy, I was always the damage-control man, which is essentially like a firefighter-slash-emergency manager. So I was always in a job where I wanted to help protect people, to prevent bad things from happening. That’s who I am at the core of my life.”

RELATED: Biden empowers Capitol Police to request National Guard assistance without consulting others

“Almost a year out, it’s common for officers to still be struggling,” said one ranking officer (who asked for anonymity to speak freely without fear of reprisal). “The most challenging part of my job is trying to help those officers.”

“They lost so many of their fellow officers, including those who sadly died by suicide,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said. “This police department, like many across the country, is facing staff shortages, and we must fill those jobs.”

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) noted the increased workload that each remaining officer endured while the department failed to retain others. “We have more overtime than the officers or their families want them to have,” he said. “You’re going to have people working harder and longer hours than you want them to work.”

Capitol Police Department Inspector General Michael Bolton said during a hearing on Dec. 7 held by the Senate Rules Committee, that “much work still needs to be addressed” in the areas of training, intelligence, overall culture and planning operations, adding that this work would require “hard changes in the department.”

READ MORE: Newly revealed documents show Capitol police were overly concerned with Jan 6th counterprotesters

Bolton said, "I think the officers are in that wait-and-see mode. They want to see what else are we going to do. And they do recognize it does take time. But also they are watching leadership, and watching the community at large. How are we going to move forward?”

If you are having thoughts of suicide, in the United States call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.

Here's why prosecutors are avoiding domestic terrorism sentences for MAGA rioters

The White House, the Justice Department and the FBI have all denounced the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riots as an act of domestic terrorism, but prosecutors have still not asked judges for harsher sentences even one year following the insurrection, citing unspecified "facts and circumstances."

"In front of judges and in court filings, the Justice Department is engaged in a delicate rhetorical dance on the domestic terrorism issue," POLITICO's Josh Gerstein reported. "Seeking to satisfy a large swath of the public outraged by the Jan. 6 riot, prosecutors have declared that the event 'certainly' qualifies as domestic terrorism. But they’ve kept their powder dry thus far on invoking the terrorism sentencing boost — potentially because its impact can be so severe."

Taking a step back, "the so-called sentencing enhancement for terrorism crimes was created as a result of legislation Congress passed following the 1993 bombing in a parking garage at the World Trade Center. The provision initially applied only to crimes linked to international terrorism, but after the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995, Congress moved to expand the enhancement to cover terrorism inspired purely by domestic causes," POLITICO reported.

Current federal criminal offenses now include terrorism-related language, such as “calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct.” Legal experts have negotiated whether Congress should pass a domestic-terrorism statute, but so far to no avail.

RELATED: 'A platform to spread lies': Media watchdogs warn networks against uncritical airing of Trump’s Jan. 6 event

"At pretrial hearings, defense attorneys have indicated that they were unwilling to consider plea deals for their clients because prosecutors would not agree to refrain from seeking the domestic terrorism charges. In other cases, prosecutors seem to have dropped the enhancement, in exchange for cooperation from particular defendants," POLITICO reported. "Critics say giving prosecutors the authority to pursue or not pursue the massive sentence booster in cases stemming from political protests gives too much power to prosecutors in the process of negotiating a plea."


“It’s just lying there as a cudgel if they want it,” said Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham University law school’s Center on National Security. “It can be used so many different ways.”

It begs the question: could vandalism of government property be considered domestic terrorism under the law?

“There appears to be a good deal of distance between that allegation and a terrorism case,” defense attorney Nick Smith wrote on behalf of alleged Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean. “Piquant photographs of Proud Boys do not bridge the gap.”

The ambiguity is clear. What isn't clear is what happens next.

“Obviously, the terrorism enhancement is going to be a big issue,” said U.S. District Court Judge Brian Cogan, an appointee of President George W. Bush. “I have no idea where I’m coming out on that at this point.”

“It’s very arbitrary in how and when the government wants to apply this enhancement,” said Michael German, a former FBI agent and a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. “Part of the problem with using a politically charged word like terror in our legal statutes is it is politicizing these determinations. Law enforcement is always going to view protests against government policy as inherently dangerous. If somebody broke a window, they should be charged with breaking a window. If they had some political purpose for that, that shouldn’t be part of the decision.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland declined to divulge further details about how prosecutors are handling the Jan. 6 insurrection cases, but did offer insight toThe New Yorker this past Oct. that he's : “...quite aware that there are people who are criticizing us for not prosecuting sufficiently and others who are complaining that we are prosecuting too harshly. This is, you know, part of the territory for any prosecutor in any case. I have great confidence in the prosecutors who are doing these cases.”

Ted Cruz floats impeaching Joe Biden immediately if the GOP reclaims the House: report

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) used his "Verdict with Ted Cruz" podcast platform Monday to reveal that, should the Republicans win back the House in 2022, they will most likely consider articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden immediately.

Citing the 90 percentage mark for winning back the House, Cruz said it was only a matter of time before the party would weaponize their potential power to impeach.

“If we take the House, which I said is overwhelmingly likely, then I think we will see serious investigations of the Biden administration,” he told co-hosts Michael Knowles and Liz Wheeler, saying the odds were 90 percent and “may even be higher.”

Cruz continued, “The Democrats weaponized impeachment. They used it for partisan purposes to go after Trump because they disagreed with him. One of the real disadvantages of doing that is the more you weaponize it and turn it into a partisan cudgel, you know what’s good for the goose is good for the gander."

Cruz cited specifics on the potential impeachment proceedings.

“I think there are potentially multiple grounds to consider for impeachment. Probably the most compelling is the utter lawlessness is President Biden to enforce the border. His decision to just deify immigration laws,” he said. “That’s probably the strongest grounds right now for impeachment but there may be others."

Capitol police ‘probably 400 officers down’ as Jan 6th riot anniversary looms: report

As the first anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol looms over America, Capitol Police are warning of increased threats and overburdened officers.

"...while leaders feel readier today than they did on Jan. 5, no one is rushing to declare the threat has passed," POLITICO reported.

“The last thing that I want to do is say, ‘this could never happen again’ and have it sound like a challenge to those people,” Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger told POLITICO. Manger took over the department in August after his predecessor's ouster following the siege. “I’m not trying to be overconfident. We are much better prepared.”

The U.S. Capitol riots on Jan. 6 resulted in upward of 150 police officers wounded and four rioters dead. Additionally, several officers died by suicide following the riots and another officer succumbed to a stroke.

RELATED: Trump officially announces January 6th anniversary press conference at Mar-a-Lago

POLITICO reported that "Capitol Police officers remain overtaxed and exhausted, logging crushing amounts of overtime as they grapple with a depleted force. Threats against members of Congress are still spiking. A Sept. 18 rally to support certain insurrectionists drew an overwhelming police presence that dwarfed the smattering of demonstrators, raising questions about an overcorrection and quality of intelligence."

Manger revealed that 135 officers have retired or resigned since the Jan. 6 riots. The force is “probably 400 officers down from where we should be.”

“My concern about the Capitol Police is that we're making them work too hard and too long,” Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, the top Republican on the Senate committee that oversees Capitol security, told reporters recently. “And we need to figure out a way to shift some of those responsibilities ... or to figure out a way to recruit more people.”

Here's why fearmongering Republicans were wrong about Biden ruining Christmas

House Republican leaders did everything in their power to warn of impending doom and gloom this Christmas, but it was all for naught.

"House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy joined 159 House Republicans in a letter to President Biden saying his policies 'will certainly ensure that this Christmas will not be merry' because of a 'supply chain crisis' and inflation. Chairman Jim Banks of the House Republican Study Committee, citing the same reasons, wrote to colleagues: 'Our job as Republicans is to explain to the American people what the grinches at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave did to ruin Christmas,' The Washington Post's Dana Milbank wrote in his new column.

Except the "grinches at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave" didn't actually ruin Christmas.

CNBC reported this week: "As shoppers kick off a wave of returns and exchanges or rush in to spend gift cards, retailers appear to have reason to celebrate: Holiday spending rose 8.5% compared with a year ago, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. The gain was slightly less than the 8.8% increase that Mastercard had predicted, but it was the biggest annual increase 17 years."

WATCH: Morning Joe says Joe Biden 'saved Christmas' — and Democrats should put it on a bumper sticker

Former Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes made his own predictions in October, warning Americans of a "miserable" Christmas. "I’m coining it [and] calling it the Biden Blue Christmas," Cortes said.

Between the Biden administration's prioritization of addressing supply-chain delays and shelves being stocked - virtually and otherwise - Christmas was actually anything but ruined for Americans.

16-year-old girl fatally shot by her father after being mistaken for an intruder

A 16-year-old girl was fatally shot in her own home on Wednesday morning after her father believed her to be a home intruder. The incident occurred in Columbus, Ohio on the 5400 block of Piper Ridge Drive, located in the Lehman Meadows subdivision off Gender Road on the city's Southeast Side.

Police reportedly received a frantic call around 4:30am. The 911 call, obtained by The Columbus Dispatch, was made by the mother of 16-year-old Janae Hairston, who said the teen had been shot in the garage by her father, who believed she was an intruder after the alarm system sounded.

READ: Michigan school shooting suspect's mom thanked Trump for right to bear arms in 2016 open letter

"Hairston's father can be heard on the call, which lasts more than eight minutes, distraught and asking what his daughter was doing. Both parents are heard begging for the girl to wake up and asking when police will arrive. Officers arrived on the scene about five minutes after the call was placed," The Dispatch reported.

Hairston was taken to Mount Carmel East Hospital, where she died about an hour later. Her death was reportedly the seventh homicide to be reported in Columbus within a week and the third in three days.

QAnon child killer feels 'despondent and hopeless' in prison: report

QAnon-believer Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, was arrested after allegedly stabbing his two children to death with a spearfishing gun in August and is now suicidal in prison, according to a source wishing to remain anonymous.

The subject, who agreed to be referenced only as a "longtime family friend," received a letter from Coleman.

“He’s alone with his thoughts 24/7," the longtime family friend said. "He’s reflecting on the mistakes he made in life and wondering if there’s any chance for redemption. He poured out his heart. He begged for forgiveness, but says that he’s now where he deserves to be.”

In the criminal complaint, FBI special agent Jennifer Bannon wrote that Coleman claimed to be "enlightened by QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories and was receiving visions and signs revealing that his wife, A.C., possessed serpent DNA and had passed it on to his children."

RELATED: QAnon is on the path to become a violent 'doomsday cult' that will not go away: former member

Bannon wrote, "M. Coleman stated that he believed his children were going to grow into monsters so he had to kill them."

The bodies of his two children, a boy aged two years old and a girl aged nine months, were found at a ranch near Rosarito in Baja California, where he had allegedly taken them without telling his wife where he was going.

The longtime family friend told People that he was unsure whether or not Coleman sent letters of the same nature to anyone else, but that he was dreading the holidays behind bars.

"He said he's sorry, that he never wanted to cause pain, and that he's working through why he made the choices he made," the friend says. "It was a very sad note."

Insurrectionist hotbed North Carolina under the microscope for 'growing role' in the Jan. 6 MAGA riot

The U.S. Capitol riots that took place on Jan. 6 resulted in five deaths and over 140 police officers injured. The Capitol ransacking, which was ignited by groundless claims of voter fraud, left more than $1.5 million in damage, The Charlotte Observer reported, with a caveat: many of the insurrectionists stemmed from the Tar Heel State.

Below is a rundown of known pending cases from North Carolina directly related to the Jan. 6 riots.

Brad Bennett, a former Mecklenburg County resident, is charged with six crimes. The wellness coach and survivalist trainer faces prison if convicted.

Aiden Bilyard of Cary was the 19-year-old who shot chemical “bear spray” at a line of police officers and later used a baseball bat to break out a Capitol window, which he and scores of other rioters used as a portal to the Senate side of the building.

Lewis Cantwell of Sylva is charged with six crimes and, according to court records, appears to have backed off from entering a guilty plea.

Charles Donohoe of Kernersville is an alleged member of the Proud Boys who federal prosecutors say helped plan and direct the group’s activities during the mob attack at the U.S. Capitol.

Grayson Sherrill of Cherryville is accused of several acts of violence inside the U.S. Capitol, including assaulting a police officer with a metal pole.

Chris Spencer and his wife Virginia Spencer of Pilot Mountain are the only so-far known husband-wife team from the insurrection. The female Spencer has pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge and is to be sentenced Jan. 7. Her husband has pleaded not guilty.

The Spencers reportedly brought one of their children, a 14-year-old, to the riot and were in one of the first waves that stormed the building, briefly entered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office suite, and joined another mob that massed outside the House chamber when the representatives were still trapped inside.

Laura Steele of Thomasville is a former police officer accused of being part of a multi-state conspiracy by the Oath Keepers to storm the Capitol. Steele is scheduled to be tried in January 2022 after she was recruited to join a Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers by her brother, Graydon Young. He has pleaded guilty to a series of riot-related charges.

Matthew Wood of Reidsville originally told the FBI that he entered the Capitol only to avoid being trampled, but was caught on camera urging the mob to attack police.

Two other Charlotte-area Capitol defendants are weighing plea deals from their prosecutors, according to The State Newspaper.

As the nation approaches the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 riots, more than 725 have been charged, including 14 North Carolinians. Slightly more than 50 defendants have been sentenced, CNN reported.

Control of the Senate in 2022 hinges on these 10 races

The fate of the U.S. Senate may hinge on the following top 5 battleground states: Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Wisconsin when the 2022 midterm election rolls around.

"For a few months, Georgia was the center of the American political universe. Biden painted the state the lightest shade of blue after decades of Republican wins, and Democrats flipped two Senate seats to capture control of the chamber. Now one of those winners, Sen. Raphael Warnock, is defending the seat he won in a special election in a potentially tougher political climate," MSNBC reported. "A former pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Warnock has been a progressive voice in the Senate, advocating for voting rights and economic aid to struggling Americans."

Warnock has a shot of winning the seat with his likely opponent being Herschel Walker, a University of Georgia football hero who won the Heisman Trophy in 1982.

In Arizona, retired NASA astronaut and Navy pilot Mark Kelly, who won a special election in 2020, is expected to win his re-election campaign for a six-year term next fall. The Democrat outperformed Biden by more than 40,000 votes in a historically red state that has become one of the most competitive in the country. His opponents are "election fraud" believers Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Blake Masters.

Switching over to Pennsylvania, "Democrats have their best chance at a Senate pickup here next year with an open seat left by the retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has dominated the fundraising race and is leading his chief rival, Rep. Conor Lamb, in primary polls. Also in the race are Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta," MSNBC stated.

In Nevada, the matchup is set against first-term Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican former state attorney general Adam Laxalt, who is endorsed by Trump and the favorite of the party establishment in Washington. Laxalt was co-chair of Trump's Nevada campaign and challenged the election results in the state after Biden won.

"Wisconsin has been a nail-biter in recent presidential elections. Trump won the state by less than 1 point in 2016 and lost it by less than 1 point in 2020," according to the MSNBC report. "In the Democratic primary, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes has sought to solidify his early position, releasing an internal poll in the fall that shows him with a commanding lead, ahead of Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson... Will Republican incumbent Ron Johnson run for a third term? He has held his cards close to the vest and, earlier this month, punted again when NBC News asked if he’ll run. While Johnson defied skeptics in his 2010 and 2016 bids, Democrats see an opening to paint him outside the mainstream with his transformation into a culture warrior and his flirtation with the nativist 'great replacement' theory."

In North Carolina, Democrats are backing former state Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley. The Granite State of New Hampshire was the GOP’s best chance to flip a Democratic seat next year — until Gov. Chris Sununu, the target of aggressive recruiting, decided against running so add another tally to the Democrats here. In Ohio, Republican Sen. Rob Portman is not seeking re-election, which leaves his seat up for the taking. It's a tight one, but Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan is the front-runner in a primary that also includes Morgan Harper, a progressive attorney.

Moving over to Florida, Sen. Mark Rubio may be throwing his hat back into the presidential ring if he doesn't win a third term, which could potentially go to Democratic Rep. Val Demings, however unlikely based on recent poll numbers.

Then there's the deep-red state of Missouri where GOP voters nominated Eric Greitens — a former governor who left office mired in scandal — to succeed Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican not seeking re-election. The Republican field also includes state Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long and attorney Mark McCloskey, best known for waving a gun at Black Lives Matter protesters outside his St. Louis home in 2020, MSNBC reported. A poll of likely GOP primary voters this month by the political news service Missouri Scout found Greitens and Schmitt locked in a close race, with Hartzler a distant third.

Democrats currently lead the chamber, but will it hold? That's the expensive question to be answered in 2022.