There is righteous fury from the Democratic left at the theoretically Democratic DOJ and its apparent lack of interest in what might have been the single biggest crime ever committed against the United States government outside the Civil War.
While waiting months, then over a year, for DOJ to “do something,” many of us were assured that we could not know what was going on in the background and that if one was going to go after a former president, one couldn’t do it without an airtight case, which takes time. So don’t worry.
.One cannot run a major investigation into the above-mentioned single biggest crime, without the investigation and possible prosecution making some news along the way.
If one is skeptical, simply look at last week’s story based upon “sources who must remain anonymous because they are not authorized to speak…” regarding DOJ opening a significant investigation into how it was that Trump just happened to possess Top Secret material in the basement of a building that Trump runs as a private club. The club’s members do not undergo a background check. We, the public, know of that particular investigation because sources talk. We, the public, do not know of any DOJ investigation into Trump or his team regarding January 6th. (Though we’ve heard they’re “expanding” the investigation to look at who organized the rally. What courage.)
Fortunately, the House Select Committee is about to transition to televised primetime hearings next month, where the evidence will be set out before the public, including Merrick Garland, who may become more humiliated with each witness and look inept and unqualified for the job.
It is possible, indeed likely, that the Committee will present a nearly airtight case coming from people “in the room,” and their electronic communications in real-time. If it happens, Garland would then be in a position where he must justify his failure to have immediately begun an aggressive investigation into Trump’s attempted coup. (Generally, there are two possible outcomes to coups, success or a significantly shortened life. Flying home to a mansion on the beach in a really bad mood is highly unusual. Trump did lose his Twitter account, a wound he considers near-fatal. But he remains untouched by his opponent. Only in America.)
It is against this backdrop that, just like the MAGAs are getting sick of hearing about the “rigged” 2020 election, many moderates will get sick of hearing about that stupidly attempted coup, especially given the fact that the people who tried overthrowing the U.S. government were so woefully inept that they couldn’t even do it right. This, despite the fact that the “after-action report” shows that Trump came terrifyingly close to success.
But Joyce Vance, MSNBC’s “go-to” prosecutor when in need of complex but common sense legal analysis, says don’t worry about it. If the evidence forces Garland to prosecute (Or forces his resignation) DOJ can prosecute the matter without worrying about what the public may think:
“I have sympathy for what DOJ prosecutors are looking at. There are issues as varied as a First Amendment defense, for instance, whether or not the speech that was used on the Ellipse is protected by the Constitution, and whether that could prevent a prosecution. That’s just one of the many things prosecutors have to parse.”
Some of us, lesser attorneys, have no sympathy for prosecutors looking at whether the incitement portion could be protected by the First Amendment. The speech itself isn’t the entirety of the crime. Free speech – it would seem to some – doesn’t keep it from being considered evidence of intent in a much larger scheme for which there is a mountain of other evidence.
Vance then went next-level:
“There’s a lot fatigue in the court of public opinion, but that’s not how prosecutions work. If DOJ decides that the law and the evidence merits prosecution, then a jury will be assembled in the United States District Court in the District of Columbia. That jury will hear evidence, not this entire enormous mess that really, I think, has created fatigue in the public, but they will hear very specific evidence on each of the elements of crimes that are charged, and they will make a decision about whether anyone charged with those crimes is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Something we’ve seen over and over in these cases, I remember the prosecution of Paul Manafort is that citizens serving as jurors can set aside their preconceptions and biases and hear the evidence and reach the ruling. It is a very different enterprise from the court of public opinion.”
Every young attorney who was ever smart enough to seek out mentorship (if not forced upon them) quickly learns two basic rules: Never question the seriousness with which juries take their work and the judge’s orders. Second; never, ever, ever, fall into the trap of thinking one can outsmart a jury, it will never happen. Vance knows this and, as she said, prosecutors would lay out the evidence, setting forth each element of the crime, carefully, and respectfully.
Done properly, one need not worry about a jury entering the courtroom thinking, “Oh, this again?” That won’t happen. The real question and real worry is that Merrick Garland – who has yet to even charge Mark Meadows five months after the referral from Congress – will never charge anyone in the political universe, only the patsy window breakers and those that led them, while the public tires of hearing about January 6th as a political matter and a crime.
Fatigue and the political fallout are legitimate concerns outside the courtroom, and there are reports that Joe Biden shares our anger and frustration with Garland. We would be living in a different world if Adam Schiff was A.G., or even Kamala Harris, for that matter.
Regardless, Vance would like to reassure you:
Jason Miciak believes a day without learning is a day not lived. He is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is a Canadian-born dual citizen who spent his teen and college years in the Pacific Northwest and has since lived in seven states. He now enjoys life as a single dad of a young girl, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast. He loves crafting his flower pots, cooking, while also studying scientific philosophy, religion, and non-math principles behind quantum mechanics and cosmology. Please feel free to contact for speaking engagements or any concerns.
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