On March 2nd, the Select Committee delivered a court filing that experts say shook the ground with evidence (if proven) that could link Trump to a conspiracy to commit some kind of obstruction of Congress or seditious conspiracy. Legal experts, made up of former federal prosecutors, are now saying that there is ample evidence to either seriously investigate Trump or even form a “strike force” of investigators to get the real story. According to the Guardian, these former prosecutors believe it’s becoming increasingly likely that Trump will be charged.
As good as the Select Committee has been, the United States has the most elite law enforcement agency on Earth. The FBI would have far more evidence than the Select Committee if it was charged with the duty to investigate all aspects of January 6th and they would not necessarily work from the bottom up. The question has always been whether the people at the top, Merrick Garland and his top deputies had the courage or the will to investigate. But former prosecutors say the case is almost made already. From the Guardian article linked above.
“The compelling evidence of criminal activity by Trump revealed by the committee in its recent 61-page court filing should spur DoJ to act expeditiously,” Paul Pelletier, a former acting chief of DoJ’s fraud section, told the Guardian.
“Given the gravity of the revelations, the department should consider a strike force or even a special counsel to coalesce sufficient resources to focus on these criminal attacks that strike at the heart of our democracy,” Pelletier added. “There is no time to waste now that the House committee has provided the clearest view yet into how Trump and his campaign apparently schemed to upend our democracy.”
The more time it takes, the closer we get to 2024, and the closer it gets to the point where Trump can say they are trying to prevent him from running (which he’s already said.) It would do nothing but make a politically-charged case (an unbelievable understatement) that much more politically-charged.
“ Dennis Aftergut, a former federal prosecutor says, the justice department and the House select committee investigating the Capitol siege have turned up the heat on Trump’s inner circle that could ensnare Trump himself. … The committee’s sworn, evidence-based allegation that former president Trump conspired to overturn the election sends an unmistakable message.
The train heading toward a criminal referral to the DoJ is leaving the station.
Okay, but a referral is just that, a referral. And no matter how compelling the case, DOJ is under no obligation whatsoever to prosecute. Prosecutors always retain the discretion to determine whether they are or are not going to charge someone, even if the evidence is nearly obvious. Some can be ascribed to corruption – but most are not. Much more often, prosecutorial discretion is a balancing act between the gain in prosecuting the possible defendant versus the risk and loss in such a charge.
The House of Representatives held Mark Meadows in contempt on December 14th, and one presumes quickly referred the matter to DOJ. It is March 11th. Either DOJ is working on a much larger charge against Meadows (Which is hard to believe, given we haven’t heard anything about warrants or any other movement), or the DOJ has used its discretion to not charge people who wore suits on January 6th, especially top White House aides, or Trump himself.
Indeed, one gets a little tired of reading these headlines from “ex-prosecutors” who are looking at this as a case based purely on the evidence. There are far greater considerations than “just the evidence” and even though no one is above the law, some situations dictate that the “law” be allowed to play out in other areas, such as the political realm.
Of course, no current prosecutor is going to comment on any certain case with the exception of Merrick Garland assuring us in platitudes about seeking justice no matter where the facts lead. The facts won’t lead anywhere if they’re ignored.
At this point, over fourteen months after January 6th and no discernible movement by DOJ against anyone but window breakers, it might be best to maintain a more cynical attitude. Believe it when one sees it.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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