Will Merrick Garland indict Donald Trump? I still doubt it

Donald Trump

Coup attempt

The crux of any prosecution of [Donald] Trump would hinge heavily on convincing a jury that Trump knew he lost the election and acted with criminal intent to overturn the valid election results. The hearings have focused heavily on testimony that Trump fully knew he had lost and went full steam ahead to concoct schemes to stay in power. . . .

But experts caution any decision to charge Trump will be up to the current attorney general, Merrick Garland, who has been careful not to discuss details of his department’s January 6 investigations, which so far have led to charges against more than 800 individuals, including some Proud Boys and Oath Keepers charged with seditious conspiracy. . . .

Barbara McQuade added that [Bill] Barr’s testimony was “devastating for Trump. He and other Trump insiders who testified about their conversations with Trump established that Trump knew he had lost the election and continued to make public claims of fraud anyway. That knowledge can help establish the fraudulent intent necessary to prove criminal offenses against Trump.”[1]

It appears the evidence is there, even to overcome[2] a defense that Donald Trump was so detached from reality that he lacked criminal intent.[3] But if a district attorney can convince a grand jury not to indict a ham sandwich, then Merrick Garland, who quite reasonably worries that such a trial might lead to civil unrest[4] (although violence may be likely in any event[5]), can convince the Department of Justice not to indict Trump. And I’m pretty damn sure that’s just what will happen. I also think that even if Trump were to be charged, he would manage to prolong proceedings beyond a January 2025 inaugural, at which point there will be no one left to tell him he can’t pardon himself.[6]

Rosalind S. Helderman, “GOP member of Jan. 6 committee warns that more violence is coming,” Washington Post, June 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/19/jan-6-kinzinger-ginni-thomas/

Peter Stone, “Searing testimony increases odds of charges against Trump, experts say,” Guardian, June 19, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jun/19/trump-charges-january-6-hearings-capitol-attack


Pittsburgh

Infrastructure

Sean D. Hamill, “Decades of Neglect,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 18, 2022, https://newsinteractive.post-gazette.com/fern-hollow-bridge-pittsburgh-inspection-reports-repairs-collapse-engineer-neglect/

Paula Reed Ward, “Fern Hollow Bridge inspection troubling but did not suggest imminent danger, experts say,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 18, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/fern-hollow-bridge-inspection-had-troubling-findings-but-nothing-suggesting-collapse-was-imminent-experts-say/

Ed Blazina, “Moving on: Pennsylvania Turnpike finishes Southern Beltway, ready to begin Mon-Fayette Expressway,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 19, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2022/06/19/southern-beltway-mon-fayette-expressway-pennsylvania-turnpike/stories/202206160141


Joe Biden

We had an answer about the likelihood of Donald Trump running in 2024 a while ago. Tina Nguyen might not have been so sure herself last September, or she might have been attempting to preserve an ‘objective’ caution, but the evidence she presented pointed, really, in only one direction,[7] and, sure enough, the consensus now is that he will run.

It’s a lot less clear about Joe Biden. Yes, folks in the White House are preparing for another run, but no, they don’t know if it’s for real. Biden himself probably doesn’t know: I wasn’t paying attention, but apparently he has quite the reputation for prevarication.[8]

And yes, both the articles I’ve cited in this blurb are from Puck News. It isn’t just Julia Ioffe. And it certainly isn’t just the predictable news outlet self-promotion. These people are good.

Tara Palmeri, “Biden Time,” Puck News, June 20, 2022, https://puck.news/biden-time/


  1. [1]Peter Stone, “Searing testimony increases odds of charges against Trump, experts say,” Guardian, June 19, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jun/19/trump-charges-january-6-hearings-capitol-attack
  2. [2]Peter Stone, “Searing testimony increases odds of charges against Trump, experts say,” Guardian, June 19, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jun/19/trump-charges-january-6-hearings-capitol-attack
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Reasonable and unreasonable doubt in ‘seditious conspiracy,’” Not Housebroken, February 7, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/01/23/reasonable-and-unreasonable-doubt-in-seditious-conspiracy/
  4. [4]Farnoush Amiri and Michael Balsamo, “Jan. 6 panel puts Garland in ‘precarious’ spot, ups pressure,” Associated Press, April 1, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/capitol-siege-merrick-garland-donald-trump-f70143880cb9be8a0610edcad1ed18e8
  5. [5]Rosalind S. Helderman, “GOP member of Jan. 6 committee warns that more violence is coming,” Washington Post, June 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/19/jan-6-kinzinger-ginni-thomas/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “The Democrats as the danger within, enabling the Republicans,” Not Housebroken, June 17, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/06/14/the-democrats-as-the-danger-within-enabling-the-republicans/; David Benfell, “Start changing the border signs: ‘Welcome to Gilead,’” Not Housebroken, June 18, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/06/18/start-changing-the-border-signs-welcome-to-gilead/
  7. [7]Tina Nguyen, “To Be or Not to Be: Trump’s Big 2024 Question,” Puck News, September 13, 2021, https://puck.news/trumps-2024-question/
  8. [8]Tara Palmeri, “Biden Time,” Puck News, June 20, 2022, https://puck.news/biden-time/

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