There has been growing talk among Democrats and media pundits about the possibility of President Joe Biden’s Justice Department issuing criminal indictments against his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, an absolutely unprecedented move that would seriously threaten to undermine what little cohesion is left among an increasingly partisan and polarized American society.
Now, in furtherance of that uniquely dangerous gambit, comes speculation about what, exactly, Biden’s corrupt DOJ could pursue as a path toward the arrest, prosecution, and presumable imprisonment of Biden’s chief political rival, Trump, according to The Hill.
Based on speculation from anonymous DOJ sources and former federal prosecutors, it appears that there are two main alleged crimes involving Trump that could lead to his legal downfall — the efforts to obstruct Congress from certifying Biden’s Electoral College victory, and a scheme to present alternate slates of pro-Trump electors from states that Biden won.
Two potential tracks toward indictment
The Washington Post reported this week that the DOJ has apparently expanded its investigation into former President Trump and others with regard to the aftermath of the disputed 2020 election, including calling former White House aides before a grand jury and issuing a flurry of subpoenas against former staffers and various state-level officials said to be involved in a conspiratorial plot to overturn the election.
Of the two potential tracks toward indictment outlined by The Post, the first involves an alleged “seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct a government proceeding” — serious felony charges that have already been applied to certain individuals accused of involvement in orchestrating the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.
The second track, according to The Post, is centered on “potential fraud associated with the false-electors scheme or with pressure Trump and his allies allegedly put on the Justice Department and others to falsely claim that the election was rigged and votes were fraudulently cast.”
However, despite the media outlet’s blatantly obvious support for such action, the newspaper was compelled to preface everything with a rather substantial caveat, namely that “Any investigation surrounding the effort to undo the results of the election must navigate complex issues of First Amendment-protected political activity and when or whether a person’s speech could become part of an alleged conspiracy in support of a coup” — an admittedly rather difficult thing to be proved.
AG Garland leaves the door open for an indictment of Trump
All of this speculation about a potential Trump indictment in recent days was fueled by recent remarks from Attorney General Merrick Garland in an interview with NBC News in which he clearly refused to rule out the possibility of a wholly unprecedented — and clearly politically motivated — criminal indictment against a former president.
When asked about the potential impact such a massive move would have on the nation, Garland replied, “We intend to hold everyone — anyone — who was criminally responsible for the events surrounding Jan. 6, for any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another, accountable. That’s what we do. We don’t pay any attention to other issues with respect to that.”
That NBC report also joined in the speculation that Garland’s DOJ was looking closely at the actions of Trump and others ahead of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to determine if any of those actions constituted prosecutable criminal fraud for which the former president could be indicted.
Tread very carefully
“Obviously Garland and the line prosecutors are going to be very reticent about filing any charges that seem overly ambitious or aggressive,” former federal prosecutor Danya Perry told The Hill. “This is one where they’re going to need to feel they are on as solid of ground as possible.”
She added, “They’re going to want to make sure they cannot just support an indictment but sustain a conviction, and obviously the standard for that is beyond a reasonable doubt, but here I think they’re going to assign themselves with a higher burden of proof than exists in the charging instructions the jury will get.”