The DOJ Must Prosecute Trump

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Jul 15, 2022, 02:38

After seven hearings held by the January 6 committee thus far this summer, doubts as to who is responsible have been resolved. The evidence is now overwhelming that Donald Trump was the driving force behind a massive criminal conspiracy to interfere with the official January 6 congressional proceeding and to defraud the United States of a fair election outcome.

The evidence is clearer and more robust than we as former federal prosecutors—two of us as Department of Justice officials in Republican administrations—thought possible before the hearings began. Trump was not just a willing beneficiary of a complex plot in which others played most of the primary roles. While in office, he himself was the principal actor in nearly all of its phases, personally executing key parts of most of its elements and aware of or involved in its worst features, including the use of violence on Capitol Hill. Most remarkably, he did so over vehement objections raised at every turn, even by his sycophantic and loyal handpicked team. This was Trump’s project all along.

Everyone knew before the hearings began that we were dealing with perhaps the gravest imaginable offense against the nation short of secession—a serious nationwide effort pursued at multiple levels to overturn the unambiguous outcome of a national election. We all knew as well that efforts were and are unfolding nationwide to change laws and undermine electoral processes with the specific objective of succeeding at the same project in 2024 and after. But each hearing has sharpened our understanding that Donald Trump himself is the one who made it happen.

As former prosecutors, we recognize the legitimacy of concerns that electoral winners prosecuting their defeated opponents may look like something out of a banana republic rather than the United States of America; that doing so might be viewed as opening the door to prosecutorial retaliation by future presidential winners; and that, in the case of this former president, it might lead to civil unrest.

But given the record now before us, all of these considerations must give way to the urgency of achieving a public reckoning for Donald Trump. The damage to America’s future that would be inflicted by giving him a pass far outweighs the risks of prosecuting him.

The committee’s evidence to date establishes multiple significant points for prosecutors. (A comprehensive summary of the evidence—offense by offense—is available at Just Security’s “Criminal Evidence Tracker.”)

First, contrary to speculation that Trump may have genuinely believed he won the election, and thus in his own mind was seeking rough justice in trying to change the outcome, the committee has demonstrated repeatedly that he knew beyond all doubt that he had lost fair and square. Trump’s former attorney general Bill Barr told the president that claims of widespread voter fraud were “bullshit.” Numerous reinforcements of that message were delivered by many others, including Barr’s successor, former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen; former Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue; and multiple Trump-campaign officials.

Second, Trump’s involvement in carrying out the scheme was systematic, expansive, and extraordinarily personal. As if to illustrate how personal his intervention was (and is), Republican Liz Cheney, the committee’s vice chair and the representative from Wyoming, dropped a bombshell at the end of Tuesday’s hearing: Sometime since the previous hearing on June 28, Trump himself had contacted a witness, something that his lawyers certainly could have told him could easily lead to charges of witness tampering. Cheney announced that the committee has notified the Justice Department of Trump’s latest misconduct.

The committee’s previous hearings showed that in the months after the 2020 election, Trump himself—not some aide or lawyer or other ally—tried to interfere with the state vote-counting processes. Among the most memorable incidents was his 67-minute January 2 call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger asking him to “find” 11,780 nonexistent votes, creating a Trump win. Trump himself also called to try to influence the state’s chief elections investigator, Frances Watson, and spoke with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to urge him to call a special legislative session to appoint alternative electors.

[Read: Trump’s revenge begins in Georgia]

There is also evidence that Trump spoke with Republican Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler after he had declined repeated calls from Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, two Trump-campaign attorneys, to bring the legislature into session to decertify the state’s election results. And Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel and Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, also a Republican, both testified that Trump phoned them in December to ask for their help in implementing the infamous bogus-elector scheme. (John Eastman, another Trump lawyer, and Giuliani were also involved with those calls.)

Trump tried persistently to obtain the help of the Department of Justice in creating a false public impression that the election had been fraudulent. After he failed in mid-December to persuade Bill Barr to assert election fraud, Trump called Rosen, Barr’s successor, nearly every day in the same pursuit. And when this effort too failed, at a White House meeting on January 3, he undertook to replace Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, a second-tier DOJ official whom Trump had spoken with personally and found more compliant. This effort failed only when Donoghue and Rosen told Trump that the entire department’s leadership would resign if Clark were installed.

Crucial to the whole plot, of course, was the unlawful scheme to pressure Vice President Mike Pence into rejecting or delaying the electoral count. Multiple witnesses testified about being present to hear Trump’s “heated” call with Pence on the morning of January 6. One witness said that Trump called Pence a “wimp.” Ivanka Trump testified that she had never previously heard her father treat Pence that way, and she told another witness that Trump had used the “P-word” to denigrate the vice president’s manhood.

Ample evidence has also shown Trump well knew that Pence could not properly do as Trump urged. Mike Pence’s counsel, Greg Jacob, testified that Trump was present at a January 4 White House meeting where John Eastman admitted the unlawfulness of his and Trump’s plan to have the vice president not certify the electoral count two days later.

A third significant point for prosecutors is that the hearings have put into sharp focus Trump’s personal involvement and advance knowledge of the dangerous circumstances surrounding the January 6 insurrection. Cassidy Hutchinson, who was the principal aide to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified that she overheard Trump complain just before his January 6 speech on the Ellipse that supporters were not being allowed into the security area for his speech while armed, and thus were staying outside. She recalled Trump asking to have the magnetometers removed, saying that he did not care if attendees were armed, because “they’re not here to hurt me.”

Hutchinson also testified that Trump expected to go to the Capitol after his speech and was angry when the Secret Service denied his request to do so, testimony that others have corroborated. He wanted to be part of and lead an armed mob aimed, at minimum, at intimidating Congress and Mike Pence. That is significant evidence demonstrating criminal intent in connection with the crime of inciting an insurrection. Told that the mob had threatened to hang the vice president, Trump apparently responded that he “deserves” it.

Finally, the committee has persuasively established that Trump continued to facilitate the insurrection, even after he returned to the White House once the Secret Service refused to take him to Capitol Hill. Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley testified that during the violence, Pence called him to request the National Guard to restore order; Trump made no such call. In fact, Trump did nothing for more than three hours to quell the insurrectionists.

To the contrary, Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Matthews testified that by tweeting that Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done” to overturn the election, Trump was “pouring gasoline on the fire.”

All of that was enough to show Trump’s personal leadership of the Big Lie effort and his complicity in the violence of January 6. But in addition, at Tuesday’s hearing, the committee focused attention on Trump’s December 19 tweet inviting his supporters to a “big protest in D.C. on January 6th.” He added, “Be there, will be wild!” The committee showed evidence of communications among the militant Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and Three Percenters hours after the tweet demonstrating that it was the signal that prompted previously unaligned groups to cooperate in developing military-style operational tactics for the violent Capitol invasion.

[Read: The incitement paper trail]

In assessing the importance and priority to be given to a DOJ decision to prosecute, the Justice Department Manual lists three factors with special relevance here: “the nature and seriousness of the offense,” “the deterrent effect of the prosecution,” and “the person’s culpability in connection with the offense.”  

On the first point, it is hard to imagine an offense that would more urgently call for criminal accountability by federal prosecution than a concerted and nearly successful effort to overthrow the result of a presidential election. It is an offense against the entire nation, by which Trump sought to reverse a 235-year-old constitutional tradition of presidential power transferring lawfully and peacefully.

The fact that a related state grand-jury investigation is proceeding in Fulton County, Georgia, relating to the part of the plot aimed at the Georgia vote count and certification process does not alter or lessen the urgency of this federal interest. Separate state and federal prosecutions can and should proceed when federal interests are as strong or stronger than the local interest.

Nor can there be any doubt about the crucial need to deter future attempts to overthrow the government. For the past 18 months, and presently, Trump himself and his supporters have been engaged in concerted efforts across the country to prepare for a similar, but better-planned, effort to overcome the minority status of Trump’s support and put him back in the White House. Moreover, if the efforts of the former president and his supporters garner a pass from the federal authorities, even in the face of such overwhelming evidence, Trump will not be the only one ready to play this game for another round.

As many have pointed out, deterrence requires that the quest for accountability succeed in achieving a conviction before a jury—here most likely made up of citizens of the District of Columbia. And the Department’s regulations make the odds of the prosecution’s success an important consideration in determining whether to go forward. In the case of a person who has made a career out of escaping the consequences of his misconduct, this is no small issue for the attorney general to take into account.

But as former prosecutors, we have faith that the evidence of personal culpability is so overwhelming that the case can be made to the satisfaction of such a jury. One of us—Gerson—has tried many difficult cases before D.C. juries with success. As a defendant, Donald Trump would open the door to all sorts of things that wouldn’t come into a normal trial, and the prosecutor could have a field day in argument about how this would-be tyrant tried to overthrow the government that has kept our nation free for two and a quarter centuries. Bottom line: Given what is at stake, even with the risk of a hung jury—leaving room for a second trial—there is no realistic alternative but to go forward.   

Any argument that Donald Trump lacked provable criminal intent is contradicted by the facts elicited by the January 6 committee. And the tradition of not prosecuting a former president must yield to the manifest need to protect our constitutional form of government and to ensure that the violent effort to overthrow it is never repeated.


Alcatraz is looking good.....Donnie will have the privilege of having it all to himself.:D

Jul 15, 2022, 09:06


Don't get your hopes up.  There is no way that a political circus can be dealt with by any  Court and there will be no charges laid since there is no real proof of what actually happened..

Let me explain something very simple.   The Capitol doors has magnetic locks that can only be opened from the inside.   The doors were locked as per normal and then suddenly opened and the people guided into the building.    The first thing that will be asked in any trial would be - who opened the main entry door of  the Capitol?   Why was he door opened  and who gave instructions for the  main entry door to be opened?    

I am not the person who formulated the questions.  It came from  a key po9licy maker of the Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - who alleges that the person who did it  was a 'white domestic terrorist" in the Capitol Police.   So why was that issue not dealt with by the Farce committee?   Well the answer is simple - the head of the Capitol Police is Pelosi and it is without any doubt that she gave the order to open the door.     

Pelosi is also the person who refused the offer made by Trump to bring in 12 000 National Guards to make sure the Capitol is properly protected should there be any threat to the security of the building.   

The 6 January Committee is a political sideshow - where members are not allowed to question any statement made by witnesses -critical information is hidden from the public and the fact is the whole article is based on BS galore.   Reason is that the Democrats are in serious trouble in the upcoming mid-term election and they need to try and find something they can use to cover up the fact that for all intents and purposes the Biden puppet-regime is collapsing the Democratic Party.   The only other so-called problem is abortion - hence the lie that the Supreme Court banned abortions.   They did not - they said that the elected representatives of the people must legislate on the issue and those are the various State Governments - not unelected bureaucrats,   The whole system was basically corrupt and the Court stated so clearly in their Judgement.   The Democrats hate that - they love corruption and loss of one of their regular vehicles have been removed by the Supreme  Court.

A bit of bad news for you is that Axios - an ultra-liberal news distributor -  in one of the main stories stated that the people are sick and tired of reactionary news.   For example the peak viewership  of CNN and MSNBC before the January 6 Committee started was 19 million - during the hearings it dropped to 11 million.

I have to sympathize with you, SB and Rooidoos - in the period since Biden took over the viewership of CNN has dropped by 47% and MSNBC by 36% - the same is happening to the New York Times and Washington Post.   You may at that rate be out of information from te fake news agencies.    So it is clear - massive numbers of Americans themselves is rejecting the fake news agencies - but you three believe it  and quote it on site.   You will miss them dearly - even if they do not go under completely - they will only survive if they change their ways by becoming news channels and not  propaganda channels.

One wonders why when the rest are going down Fox News viewership has increased y 12%.   The reason is simple - Fox News is a news agency - not a propaganda fake news sideshow..  

Jul 15, 2022, 09:15

YAWN.......Hippo YAWN....and again.....Amen!

Jul 15, 2022, 09:32

I tried to write out the true situation.   Do you think I did not Yawn when reading th above garbage put on site by you?    I did - bt decided to give you some real background on the issue.

Remember the James prosecution and where it went - into the dustbin.   That is what will happen to the above garbage as well.   .     

Jul 15, 2022, 12:19

Ou Maaik with his usual routine . . . "I are beleive all the rubbish waht I kan hear on Fox News and you are all branewashed idoits what swallow proper gander!"

That is seriously what this gullible and terminally stupid old fool is saying . . . day after day and week after week.

Hope Bozo becomes someone's prison-bride soon.

Jul 15, 2022, 12:36

That is seriously what this gullible and terminally stupid old fool is saying . . . day after day and week after week.

I know.......and then he has a go at me for telling him he's a bore....go figure.:'(

Jul 15, 2022, 15:13

If you actually think Jan 6th was an insurrection, you're a  bigger twat than either of the last two US presidents. 

Look at what's happened in Sri Lanka and even that's not being labelled as insurrection. 

Remember folks, APAC!

All Politicians Are Cunts!

Jul 15, 2022, 15:51


Jul 15, 2022, 19:35

"Ou Maaik with his usual routine . . . "I are beleive all the rubbish waht I kan hear on Fox News and you are all branewashed idoits what swallow proper gander!"

That is seriously what this gullible and terminally stupid old fool is saying . . . day after day and week after week.

Hope Bozo becomes someone's prison-bride soon."

Extreme irony...

"If you actually think Jan 6th was an insurrection, you're a  bigger twat than either of the last two US presidents."

It wasn't even a riot...peaceful protest gone wrong, but because it was Trump supporters, it's being blown out of proportion...none of the 5 fatalities were due to the action of the protesters...the hypocrisy on the reporting of this stinks to high heaven...shows how some people fool themselves for the sake of their ideology. 

Jul 15, 2022, 20:07

The Jan 6th riot by a rag-tag group of rednecks was so laughable it was hard to call it an insurrection - at least when isolated by itself. 

It was however the culmination of Trump's attempt to overturn the election he lost.
Like trying to force Georgia Republicans and other states to "find" him votes that did not exist- is election fraud.
He will go to jail...that much is certain.

The Jan 6th committee was important to show sensible conservatives all the failed attempts Trump made to try to overturn the election, before putting him in jail...

As for the dumb rednecks, nothing will change their minds. Although it is debatable if they actually think. However, without sensible conservatives, they are nothing.

Jul 15, 2022, 20:26

Snarkhole, stupid rednecks are much more useful to society than stupid commies...every day of the week!...

I detest the stupid idiots who think they know what's best for things should be and who should be able to do what and when they should do it...and then placing themselves above their own rules breaking these rules as they please...champagne liberals are of the same ilk as Marie Antoinette...I hope you lot choke on your cake...

Jul 15, 2022, 20:30

I respect sensible conservatives, not the dumb rednecks.
How did I become a liberal? Do I sound like one? Thanks...:D

As for a communist, when did the rednecks become capitalist?
It is the rednecks that want to appoint Trump for life, and dismiss his attempts to overthrow the election. 

I almost wish Trump did stay in power - because his supporters would then see what he is like when he does not need their votes...

Jul 15, 2022, 21:34


Jul 16, 2022, 08:43

So how are you going  to charge Trump with a crime when Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez - remember her - says the Capitol Police helped the protestors and they cannot be trusted to protect members of the House?     She is doing whatever is necessary to stoke up hatred of her clique in the Party of Nancy Pelosi.

So the first witness to be called up by Trump's lawyers would be AOC - and the charges will  collapse on the first day of the Court hearings.  Hw were they helping the "White domestic terrorists"?   By opening the door and guiding the "terrorists" into entering the Capitol?   The  FBI was also helping the "domestic terrorists" in staging an "insurrection"  on January 6?

According to the AOC the whole story is an inside job  scheme of the Democrats to mislead te voters into believing  their BS - so there goes the cherges the Democrats and site members qare dreaming about.      

     .             .    

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