Read Jennifer Rubin’s ‘4 Things We Do Know About the DOJ’s Jan 6 Inquiry’ You’ll Feel So Much Better


The days march on, the seasons change, and Donald Trump is seemingly bulletproof, even though there is a mountain of evidence that he knowingly and willfully put together a plan to overthrow the results of the 2020 election and illegally stay in power. Merrick Garland doesn’t go a single day without at least one pundit reviling him. The January 6 Committee is scrutinized for not doing their work properly, the last blow up being the recent Ginni Thomas scandal, which has not resulted in an interview of Mrs. Thomas — again, despite a huge body of evidence that would seem to be screaming for same, in order for justice to be done.

We’re all massively frustrated and in all truth, the clock is ticking. It’s a well known fact that God forbid the Republicans regain control of the House in November, bye bye January 6 investigation.

All of these points are sound and reasonably made. But if you can take a few minutes to read Jennifer Rubin’s analysis in the Washington Post of what we do in fact know about the Department of Justice’s investigation of January 6, you will feel a good deal better.

First, the criticism that the Justice Department has decided not to go after defeated former president Donald Trump is, from all appearances, false. The department continues to reaffirm it has not ruled out going after anyone. A grand jury, the New York Times reports, is already “asking for records about people who organized or spoke at several pro-Trump rallies after the election,” including two events before Jan. 6. It is also seeking “records about anyone who provided security at those events and about those who were deemed to be ‘V.I.P. attendees.’ ” The grand jury has also requested evidence “about any members of the executive and legislative branches who may have taken part in planning or executing the rallies, or tried to ‘obstruct, influence, impede or delay’ the certification of the presidential election.” Ostensibly, that would include Trump and former vice president Mike Pence. […]

Second, none of this means that the Justice Department is acting with a sufficient sense of urgency. The rationale that the feds have to start at the bottom and work their way up — as though this were a Mafia case — makes no sense.

Prosecutors go after foot soldiers if they have no real proof the kingpin has engaged in criminal activity. But the former president has shouted from the rooftops that he wanted Pence to overturn the election. And there is an audio recording of Trump trying to twist the Georgia secretary of state’s arm to find just enough votes to flip his state’s results. Former senior advisers have written books, blabbed in TV interviews and testified before the Jan. 6 committee concerning communications with Trump and other senior advisers.

Just one thought to throw in here, once again: We are on terra incognita. We have no precedent on how to prosecute former presidents for attempting coup d’etats. It may not be so much a lack of urgency on the DOJ’s part, so much as it is we’ve still got training wheels on the bike because we’re in the process of learning how to ride it. Maybe a better analogy is, we are like somebody who has never seen a bike before, but we have seen movies of other people riding and we’re trying to figure out how to do it for real.

Third, there is one investigation of which the Justice Department is properly deferring to a state prosecutor. Fani Willis, the district attorney in Fulton County, Ga., has impaneled a grand jury to investigate Trump’s pressure campaign against secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to manipulate the Georgia’s vote totals.

The Justice Department’s prosecutorial manual plainly states: “In determining whether prosecution should be declined because the person is subject to effective prosecution in another jurisdiction, the attorney for the government should weigh all relevant considerations.” Those factors include “The strength of the other jurisdiction’s interest in prosecution; the other jurisdiction’s ability and willingness to prosecute effectively; and the probable sentence or other consequences if the person is convicted in the other jurisdiction.”

We do tend to forget this ongoing investigation from time to time.

Finally, it doesn’t really matter whether the Jan. 6 committee makes a “referral” to the Justice Department suggesting criminal prosecution. A referral, although the media and lawmakers have made much ado about it, would have no real legal significance, especially because the Justice Department is already well along in its investigation.

That said, public hearings in prime time laying out a powerful case against Trump and a written report summarizing those findings followed by a referral may convey to the public the gravity of the matter. It may also force the Justice Department to explain itself if it decides not to prosecute.

In sum, Attorney General Merrick Garland seems to be conducting a full investigation that could implicate Trump for, among other things, conspiracy to disrupt an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States or seditious conspiracy. Someone would be wise to point out to Garland the dangers of unnecessary delay. As publicly available information and daily revelations from Trump’s inner circle accumulates, Americans have every right to expect the former president’s prosecution in a timely fashion — or a darn good reason why the Justice Department won’t pursue him.

The dangers of unnecessary delay are considerable. Evidence has a way of disappearing and witnesses have ways of coordinating their stories. This is the clear downside of delay and the main reason that Garland is so routinely and roundly criticized. However, on the other hand, you have heard the old cliche, “If you’re going to shoot at the King, you’ve only got one shot and you’ve got to make it count.” Doing a sloppy job in prosecuting an historic case like this would be catastrophic. Garland knows this. Anybody who can stop and think calmly for a moment knows this. So he has to proceed with all due caution.

There really is no other way when you’re on terra incognita than to go slowly and surely. When we finally get to Watergate-level hearings in prime time, and I say when not if, it will all be worth it.

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  1. Sorry, but no. We’ve been through this once already. How many times are Dems going to fall for the same ruse? The stories I am reading today are exactly the same as the stories I read as Democrats waited through two endless years of the Mueller investigation.

    “Nobody is better at this than Robert Mueller!”
    “He is taking his time and building a case that is going to be air-tight!”
    “Poor old Trump must be shaking in his shoes right now!”
    “When Mueller finally drops this bomb, a whole bunch of people are heading for prison!”
    “Trump can already see his future prison cell from the Oval Office window!”
    “Robert Mueller is going to save America all by himself!”

    Remember all that crap? For two years, Democrats sat passively, waiting, while the media churned out this garbage on an hourly basis. And in the end, what did we get? Nothing. Zip. Nada. A popcorn fart in a strong wind. The ‘Mighty Bob Mueller’ turned out to be a semi-senile, doddering old man. Instead of releasing his ‘bombshell report’ to the American people as he should have, he released it to the very criminals he was investigating. Then he sat on his hands, quiet as a church mouse, while Trump and Barr were allowed to twist the facts and concoct any lie they liked. Mueller wouldn’t even defend himself or his report and literally washed his hands of the whole thing. And Democrats wasted two very crucial years waiting on a pipe dream.
    And now it is happening all over again. Democrats sitting on their hands as they wait for yet another sham investigation to save them. When are Democrats finally going to wake up to the danger and begin to act with a sense of urgency? Nobody is going to save us. We need to save ourselves. Ane we need to do it damn quick because time is almost up.

    • Kevin… i certainly can’t disagree with you… yo’ve made some very astute observations… and this country is going to hell as we democrats sit on our hands and WAIT!!!… and WAIT!… I for one am so tired of these limp ass-ed people doing NOTHING!!!WHen the repugs take over the senate and house this fall… this country will go to hell!…

    • Mueller DID do his job, to the extent he was allowed. He wasn’t faking, and he did turn up evidence, plenty of it. The real fly in the ointment there was Rod Rodenstein (and of course Jeff Sessions) who (a) secretly limited his ability to investigate and (b) refused to do anything withthe results. Because of course they did. No one is going to be standing in Garland’s way as was done to Mueller.

      • Rosenstein did worse than what you noted. His initial authorization to Mueller was broad – all encompassing. But there was that SECOND memo of authorization which remained substantially redacted for so long. Unless I’m mistaken a fully redacted version of it has never been released and few inside even DOJ have seen it. However, we DID eventually learn something appalling. As you say Mueller’s investigation did in fact deliver the goods on Trump (and others) when it came to Obstruction of Justice. But Barr’s fucking with the report took the steam out of the sails for any effort for Congress to ever do anything about it. Anyway, there was also the Russian interference stuff that got way into counter-intelligence stuff and that’s where Rosenstein truly deserves to get hauled up on Obstruction of Justice Charges himself although no case would ever stick. (But it would drag his name through the mud now and in the history books) In a nutshell he told FBI Director Chris Wray that Mueller would handle the counter-intelligence aspect of things, then turned around and restricted Mueller (in that second memo) from doing so, AND placating Mueller by telling him the FBI would be handling that part! I have no doubt that where something came up in the course of things that one side or the other had to be passed along Rosenstein slow walked the hell out of it, and wherever he could redacted crucial information and even buried some of it. But the bottom line is that the (surely) rich avenue of counter-intelligence that would have exposed appalling details of Russia’s and Trump’s collaboration was thwarted by Rosenstein. By simply making both Mueller and Wray believe the other one was looking into it. I also have no doubt Trump knew what was up and that’s why he never fired Rosenstein. Sure, there were tantrums thrown over stuff coming out BUT for all the fears of a redux of Nixon’s firing of Archibald Cox it was never going to happen to Rosenstein because he was Trump’s ace in the hole. I hope like hell that point not only never gets lost in the shitstorm of hurricane Trump, but gets a banner headline someday.

  2. They start with the people at the bottom because they’re usually minor criminals but can provide valuable evidence on higher-ups. They’re now gettign to the people who are just a couple of steps from the former guys and his closer associates.

    “When you come at a king, you best not miss” is still good advice.

  3. One hopes that the DOJ’s plan to hire 131 attorneys is a sign that the department wants to speed up the investigation. But it is unlikely that their hiring will accomplish much before the midterms. Surely, there are some indictments that should be easy, such as the fake state electors who clearly committed fraud.

  4. I share some of Kevin Davis’ frustrations, given how crestfallen I was with Mueller’s inaction. Are we on the same path of failed expectations? Maybe. But as a former practicing lawyer with criminal trial experience, I might agree with two of my favorite commentators, Jennifer Rubin and Ursula Faw. You have to have an iron clad case without a glimmering ash of reasonable doubt you can’t incinerate. This is historic and without precedent, a President of the United States going to the pokey.
    Still, Kevin Davis is justified in his opinion. Personally, I wanted a stone killer as AG–someone like Andrew Weisman or Eliot Spitzer.

  5. Two words.
    Warren Commission.
    You dont want me to list what we have discovered about it since it was conducted.
    It stinks. We cannot afford another one.


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