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Wed Jul 20, 2022, 10:32 AM

There is a gap in the evidence we've seen against Trump. We have to rely on the DOJ to fill it

The criticism of the Department of Justice continues to grow: Detractors see the department as too far behind the Jan. 6 committee. They want to know why Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland and the Justice Department have yet to come forward with a serious criminal charge against Donald Trump.

These gloomy observations miss at least one crucial point: There is a gap in the committee’s development of the Jan. 6 evidence for the most serious yet fitting charge against Trump. And it seems likely that only the Justice Department can fill it.

First, remember that the Justice Department may be much further along than we know; its work initially is always largely opaque. And the department has also had its hands full dealing with hundreds of on-the-ground rioters, as well as investigating false elector schemes and other possible crimes connected to the 2020 election and committed by figures in the former president's inner circle.

It's also important to bear in mind the fundamentally different tasks of the department and the committee. The House hearings aim to present a general narrative of Team Trump’s attempt to undo President Biden’s victory, along with the facts to back it up. The Justice Department, on the other hand, needs to develop a legal case consisting of admissible evidence proving criminal guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and if possible beyond Republican cavil as well.

What crime exactly? Here’s another important difference between the department’s task and Congress’. The committee’s work has given rise to a sort of parlor game of “name that Trump crime” among commentators, everything from manslaughter to destruction of federal property. That won’t cut it for the Justice Department.

Even assuming that the department could prove any number of offenses on the part of Trump, Garland would not take the unprecedented step of prosecuting a former president unless the charge involved a grave crime against the U.S. Most likely, that charge would be seditious conspiracy. It’s the most serious of any leveled so far against those involved in the insurrection attempt, and for most Americans, it captures the fundamental evil that Trump has wrought.

--snip

The Justice Department’s critics are wrong to conclude that Garland’s work has been done for him in Congress, much less to upbraid him for not having already brought charges against the former president. Garland deserves the presumption that, as promised, he is going after insurrectionists “at all levels,” and that the department will do the heavy lifting to induce a loyalist to turn on the former president.

Unless and until Garland succeeds, Trump, by virtue of the committee’s outstanding work, may stand guilty in the public’s mind and in the judgment of history, but there’s no holding him criminally accountable in a court of law.



https://www.yahoo.com/news/column-gap-evidence-weve-seen-100017013.html

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