The Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland must do their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution and charge Donald Trump with the extremely serious crimes the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol has documented and alleges that the ex-president committed in order to subvert democracy. The DOJ, AG Garland and Biden administration must not make the same mistake that Pres. Gerald Ford did when he granted a full and unconditional pardon to Richard Nixon on Sept. 8, 1974, shortly after Tricky Dick resigned the presidency. Not prosecuting Trump for the heinous crimes he purportedly perpetrated will, in effect, be the same as Ford’s Proclamation 4311, which let Nixon get off Scot free for the crimes he committed as part of the Watergate Scandal and set a deplorable precedent of unaccountability.
The rich, powerful and famous must be held to account, the same as the rest of us. They must pay the consequences for their actions, just like ordinary people are expected to. There must not be a double standard for the high and mighty; NOBODY is above the law, not even a president or ex-president.
During its 10-month, comprehensive, far reaching fact-finding mission, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol has researched 140,000-plus documents and interviewed 1,000-plus witnesses. The DOJ has separately charged 800-plus insurrectionists with crimes (although these are generally low-level offenders, not Trump’s high-ranking henchmen for his presidential putsch).
Trump must be prosecuted in a court of law and given a fair trial for allegedly committing the following crimes (among others, including financial irregularities that 1/6 Committee member Rep. Zoe Lofgren called during the second hearing, “the Big Rip-Off”), and if he is found guilty and does not win on appeal, Trump must be punished to the fullest extent of the law, just like any other citizen. After Congressman Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the Jan. 6 Committee, gaveled the hearings into order on June 9, pulling no punches, Thompson boldly asserted that after losing the presidential election, Trump perpetrated:
“a sprawling multistep conspiracy aimed at overturning the presidential election, aimed at throwing out the votes of millions of Americans, your votes, your voice in our democracy, and replacing the will of the American people with his will to remain in power after his term ended. Donald Trump was at the center of this conspiracy, and ultimately Donald Trump, the president of the United States, spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down the Capitol and subvert American democracy.
“Any legal jargon you hear about seditious conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States boils down to this. January 6th was the culmination of an attempted coup, a brazen attempt, as one rioter put it shortly after January 6th, to overthrow the government. The violence was no accident. It represents seeing Trump’s last stand, most desperate chance to halt the transfer of power.”
With prosecutorial panache, the Select Committee’s Vice Chair Liz Cheney also took the gloves off and put the blame squarely where she thought it belonged, insisting: “President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack.” During the hearing footage of rioters storming the U.S. Capitol Building by filmmaker Nick Quested and closed-circuit TV was screened. Testimony by Quested and Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards was heard, documenting what the injured officer called the “carnage,” “chaos” and “a war scene” that unfolded for hours at the seat of America’s political system, where the 31-year-old “slipp[ed] in people’s blood.”
According to Cheney, the invasion of the U.S. Capitol Building was “to halt Congress’s count of electoral votes that day,” as a bloody part of “a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the Presidential election and prevent the transfer of Presidential power” that “Over multiple months, Donald Trump oversaw and coordinated” to prevent then-president elect Joe Biden from taking the office he was legally elected to serve in.
Furthermore, on March 28, 2022, Federal Judge David Carter ordered rightwing attorney John Eastman to turn over a trove of documents to the Jan. 6 Committee and wrote: “Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021… If Dr. Eastman and President Trump’s plan had worked, it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power, undermining American democracy and the Constitution.” In Carter’s 26-page ruling, Judge Carter referred to some of Trump and Eastland’s activities as “crimes.”
Enrique Tarrio and four other members of the extremist Proud Boys group plus Oath Keepers leader Stuart Rhodes and 10 other adherents of that rightwing organization have already been charged with Seditious conspiracy in connection to the Jan. 6 attempted insurrection. Trump, who ordered the Proud Boys to “standby” during a national televised presidential debate, should likewise be charged with this serious crime. According to the United States Code, §2384. Seditious conspiracy is:
“If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.” (See: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCODE-2020-title18/html/USCODE-2020-title18-partI-chap115-sec2381.htm .)
The U.S. Code is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States, published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives. Here are other crimes Trump should be charged with under the U.S. Code:
“Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” (See: US Code 2382 Treason)
§2382. Misprision of treason
“Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States and having knowledge of the commission of any treason against them, conceals and does not, as soon as may be, disclose and make known the same to the President or to some judge of the United States, or to the governor or to some judge or justice of a particular State, is guilty of misprision of treason and shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than seven years, or both.” (See: US Code 2382 Misprision)
As “Donald Trump was at the center of this conspiracy,” he (and his high-level fellow coup-plotters) must be charged with Seditious conspiracy. Treason and Misprision of treason. If someone who appears to be such a flagrantly guilty lawbreaker is allowed to continue to walk around free as a bird, living and plotting in luxury at his Mar-a-Loco retreat, what kind of example does that set for America? There must be deterrent for committing high crimes and misdemeanors, especially those that threaten free and fair elections.
When Trump’s rabble invaded the Capitol, egged on by the ex-prez, they erected gallows and chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” The ex-vice president – who had to flee for his life – was being threatened for following the law and obeying the Constitution, which does not give the veep the power to overturn the Electoral College vote outcome. Similarly, during the 2016 presidential race, MAGA acolytes chanted “Lock her up!”, although Trump’s then-opponent, Hillary Clinton, had not been charged with, let alone convicted of committing any crimes.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Applying the same logic, if Trump is found guilty in a court of law and does not prevail on appeal, he must face the stiffest penalties stipulated under the statutes he is convicted of breaking. This means if Trump is found guilty of treason he must face the death penalty – just like any other traitor. String him up! (Or whatever means of execution the Federal government uses nowadays – personally, I prefer the guillotine, for symbolic reasons.)
At a June 13 news conference, Attorney General Merrick Garland said: “I’m watching and I will be watching all the [Jan. 6 Committee] hearings... And I can assure you that the January 6 prosecutors are watching all the hearings as well.”
At the June 9 hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol Vice Chair Liz Cheney warned her Republican colleagues who persist in aiding and comforting the treacherous Trump: “There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.” The same can be said for AG Garland and the Department of Justice: Whether or not the Jan. 6 Committee makes criminal referrals to Garland and DOJ, if they do not charge and prosecute the traitorous Trump to the fullest extent of the law, their “dishonor” will remain throughout all history, too. Only after Trump is held accountable, will Americans be able to turn the page on “our long national nightmare.”
String him up!