Conventional wisdom is that Merrick Garland is doing nothing to hold Donald Trump to account for crimes associated with the insurrection...
There is one simple reason why Donald Trump orchestrated his coup — one which led to a violent insurrection on January 6, 2021: He didn't think he'd ever face consequences for doing so.
What matters here, however, is the deep assurance Trump had that he would never face a real consequence — neither politically, nor legally, and certainly not criminally — for perpetuating a massive crime against democracy.
It's not just that Trump commits crimes because he knows he'll get away with them. I'd argue that getting away with it is a big part of what motivates him to commit crimes. It's the thrill of getting one over on everyone else. It's the feeling of power it gives him, realizing that he can get away with stuff anyone else would go to jail for. He doesn't even hide that, as all the bragging about tax fraud and sexual assault shows. And he will not stop committing crimes — including re-attempting a coup — unless someone actually stops him.
One of the alleged hurdles to criminally charging Trump is establishing his “state of mind,” if any...
The New York Times
Even though none of Mr. Trump’s persistent claims about election fraud turned out to be true, prosecutors will most likely have to grapple with the question of his state of mind at the time — specifically, the issue of whether he believed the claims were true, said Alan Rozenshtein, a former Justice Department official who teaches at the University of Minnesota Law School.
“To the extent that prosecutors have to show intent, Trump’s delusion makes that harder,” Mr. Rozenshtein said. “A finder of fact could conclude that Trump is so uniquely narcissistic and self-absorbed that he actually thought the election had been stolen.”
We’re also being told that Trump will run again in 2024 and steal the election if he’s not indicted...
On Thursday, Donald Trump released his latest statement condemning the House Select Committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Trump ranted that the “Unselect Committee’s sole goal is to try to prevent President Trump, who is leading by large margins in every poll, from running again for president, if I so choose.”
His frustration is understandable: This week, investigators into the Jan. 6 attack from both Congress and the Department of Justice came closer than ever before to explicitly putting a target on Trump’s back.
Essentially, the committee said it believes Eastman and Trump took part in a federal crime that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $500,000 fine. As the committee also noted, Eastman exercised his Fifth Amendment against self-incriminating testimony 146 separate times during his December testimony. The filing also revealed for the first time that Eastman wrote to Vice President Mike Pence’s attorney after the Capitol insurrection to make one final plea for Pence to delay the counting of the electoral votes. “I implore you to consider one more relatively minor violation” of the law “and adjourn for 10 days,” Eastman pleaded.
I suppose it’s all just spin, right? Everybody has their own story to tell… Even me!
Cynics tell us our overall national narrative is more accurately a tale of greed, rape and exploitation. The optimists want a tale of redemption and hope. Liars tell us we're the greatest, while idiots, morons, racists, populists, Republicans, Democrats, mainstream media and evangelical Christians all push their own narratives — with enough twists and turns to keep us confused and/or amused. But little of it is real. In America it seems we build a reality based on our feelings and beliefs, while facts have little sway.
This inability to deal with facts, this infatuation with prurient and salacious innuendo, led us to Donald Trump — a man who is as vacuous as he is pompous. He is as phlegmatic as he is he is mind-numbing, as combative as he is clueless, and as un-American in deed as a battle-hardened Nazi stormtrooper. Donald Trump is the antithesis of the American dream, a nightmare ramshackle of a man who rattles around in the cage he made for himself, stinking of Adderall, perspiration and fear. He's straight from the Hollywood B-list, with A-list dreams that can never come true — and he's going to make the world suffer, if he can, for his own failures.
From what I hear, it’s almost assured that Republicans will take control of Congress next year and end any and all investigations...
...[T]he committee is facing fundamental challenges. First, it has no powers to bring criminal charges on its own. Second, it is almost certainly living on borrowed time. Pro-Trump Republicans have vowed to close it down if the GOP wins back the House in November's elections. And US public opinion is so polarized about Trump that even a shocking report detailing unfettered totalitarianism by the ex-President -- and possible 2024 Republican nominee -- seems unlikely to shift the political needle much. And any attempts to trigger changes to the law to prevent repeats of the insurrection will come up against that ticking political clock, with Senate Republicans able to wield the filibuster to block measures they oppose. But if the panel were to successfully convince the Justice Department that a prosecution of Trump or acolytes was justified, its work could live on and force Trump to face elusive accountability even if a new Republican House majority ends its mandate.
Still, on its own, the committee has limited capacity to enforce the accountability that Trump has long skipped past in politics, business and life.
A House referral would deposit a boiling political hot potato in Garland's lap. The attorney general, at the direction of Biden, has sought to restore the wall between the Justice Department and partisan politics that was torn down by Trump as he sought to use the agency much like a personal law firm.
Reportedly if Merrick Garland dares investigate Trump it would provoke accusations of a witch hunt…
Republican lawmakers are warning that any Department of Justice prosecution of former President Trump will turn into a political battle, setting a high bar for Attorney General Merrick Garland to act on an expected criminal referral from the House’s Jan. 6 committee.
But Republican lawmakers and strategists warn that any federal prosecution of Trump will be accused of being politically motivated, boost Trump within the GOP and turn into a partisan food fight at a time when President Biden is pivoting to the center and trying to keep his 2020 campaign promise to unify the country.
The likelihood of a stirring up a major political storm with a federal investigation of Trump could serve as a powerful disincentive for the Justice Department moving forward if it receives a recommendation to prosecute from the Jan. 6 committee.
It’s also being said that this has all come to pass because Democrats are spineless and horrible at messaging...
The logic of the typical low information voter isn't all that hard to parse: If Trump and other Republicans had actually tried to commit a coup, then why aren't they in jail for it? It's a serious crime, after all. The lack of arrests sends a strong signal that it must not be that important. Most people tend to consume a lot more "Law and Order" than they do investigative pieces by the Washington Post. They likely won't read the umpteenth investigative piece on this complex coup. They would, however, notice Trump and GOP members of Congress getting arrested.
Democrats can make speeches blaming Trump and other Republicans for the insurrection, but they can't make skeptical swing voters believe them. On the contrary, such voters tend to be the first to ascribe cynical and self-serving motives to political speech, and see such sentiments as empty rhetoric — if they aren't backed up by action. In political media, there tends to be a lot of hand-wringing concern about how charging GOP leadership that was involved in the coup with crimes could be read as "political." For ordinary voters who pay little attention to politics, the opposite is true: The lack of charges reads as evidence that there's nothing to charge Trump and his coup conspirators with. They see political rhetoric blaming Republicans as therefore partisan hyperbole.
But, by definition, low information voters aren't going to get into the weeds on this sort of thing. They glance at the headlines, see Trump is still free, and assume therefore that he didn't do anything worth arresting him over. They continue to view him as a jackass and not a criminal. Unfortunately, "jackass" is someone that a lot of people will vote for, as previous elections and current polls showing Trump neck-in-neck with Biden demonstrate. Without the public perp walk, a significant number of people won't see Trump as the mastermind behind Jan. 6. So Democrats will continue to fail to paint Republicans as the authoritarian insurrectionists they actually are.
Nope, nothing short of a perp walk is going to sway public opinion, and it’s all on Merrick Garland...
The Washington Post
As evidence of Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election mounts, the time has come for the Justice Department to begin, if it hasn’t already, a criminal investigation of the former president’s dangerous course of conduct. Attorney General Merrick Garland has worked to restore the badly frayed public trust in a nonpartisan DOJ. But failing to investigate Trump just to demonstrate objectivity would itself be a political decision — and a grave mistake. If we are to maintain our democracy and respect for the rule of law, efforts to overturn a fair election simply cannot be tolerated, and Trump’s conduct must be investigated.
The bottom line is this: Now that Trump is out of office, the DOJ’s view that sitting presidents cannot be indicted no longer shields him. Attempted coups cannot be ignored. If Garland’s Justice Department is going to restore respect for the rule of law, no one, not even a former president, can be above it. And the fear of appearing partisan cannot be allowed to supersede that fundamental precept.
All this would appear to spell doom and gloom for Democrats, so why am I not worried? Is it because I’m just a hopeless optimist?
The significance here is not whether the Select Committee will make a formal criminal referral to the Justice Department, although that certainly seems likely. The department doesn’t need a referral to act, and it actually might be counterproductive. The significance is what these allegations say about how the committee’s attorneys — a number of whom are former federal prosecutors — feel about where the evidence is pointing. We can be confident that the prosecutors at the Justice Department are in touch with these attorneys and are paying attention.
In his recent speech marking the first anniversary of Jan. 6, Attorney General Merrick Garland vowed that the department would pursue those responsible “at any level,” whether or not they were physically present at the Capitol. As Garland noted, in a large investigation like this, prosecutors typically build cases against lower-level players, persuade them to cooperate, and gradually move up the ladder to more serious charges and higher-level defendants. It takes time to do this properly. But this week’s events further confirm that this is exactly what’s happening.
These investigations are moving inexorably into the activities of those in Trump’s inner circle. As investigators proceed up the ladder of alleged conspiracies, people such as Eastman and Stone are only one rung from the top. And we all know who’s sitting on that top rung.
No, it’s because the Department of Justice more than likely already has an ongoing criminal investigation into Trump’s January 6th criminal activities…
It’s going to be Trump and the Republicans feeling the heat next month when this all comes to a screen near you…
The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack is hoping to show through public hearings in April how it believes Donald Trump came to violate federal laws in his efforts to overturn the 2020 US election results, the panel has indicated in court documents.
The hearings are set to be a major and historical political event in America as the panel seeks to publicly show the extent of its investigations so far into the shocking events that saw a pro-Trump mob invade the Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the election of Joe Biden by Congress.
But the public hearings – which are likely to come late next month, the chair of the select committee, Bennie Thompson, told the Guardian – will address just how Trump came to interfere with the joint session of Congress through rhetoric he knew to be false or unlawful.
The select committee indicated the public hearings would serve as the opportunity to cast a light on Trump’s secret efforts to overturn the election, from his attempts to pressure the then vice-president, Mike Pence, to return him to office, to abuse of the justice department.
I wouldn’t expect to hear one word out of Attorney General Garland… The Department of Justice does not comment on ongoing investigations.
All this noise we’re hearing is an attempt to distract from that simple fact.