Yet another excuse for Merrick Garland to not prosecute Donald Trump


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Fig. 1. “Jake Angeli (Qanon Shaman), seen holding a Qanon sign at the intersection of Bell Rd and 75th Ave in Peoria, Arizona, on 2020 October 15.” Photography by TheUnseen011101 [pseud.], October 15, 2020, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

You were just wondering what the next excuse for not indicting Donald Trump would be, weren’t you? David Von Drehle thinks it will be that a small number of classified documents have been found to have been kept improperly by Joe Biden and that that Biden’s response to the discovery of a much smaller number of documents has been entirely different from Trump’s evasion and refusal to return a much larger number of documents will not matter. Drehle also thinks Trump is now irrelevant politically and a trial could only revive him and therefore thinks this is a good thing.[1] So here’s the revised list of excuses (the first four are from an earlier update to the relevant blog post[2]):

  1. The Department of Justice cannot indict a sitting president.[3] Trump is no longer president, but
  2. charges against him would be unprecedented and therefore “[t]he evidence would need to meet a higher threshold than is necessary in a typical case.”[4] The Department now reportedly has sufficient evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice,[5] but
  3. then it would have been too close to the midterm elections, and the Department has a rule about prosecutions that might affect election outcomes.[6] The election is now over, but
  4. now the Department needed to wait for the special master review to be complete,[7] yes, the same special master whose appointment the Department successfully appealed against,[8] because the ruling appointing him in the first place was, by nearly all accounts, bogus in the first place,[9] but
  5. a special counsel is needed to investigate Donald Trump because Merrick Garland is too chickenshit to bring charges himself.[10]
  6. There is a false equivalence between the cases of Donald Trump and Joe Biden.[11]

All of which is to affirm the merit of dragging things out endlessly and needlessly: If you really and truly, desperately want to avoid doing something, yet another excuse just might land in your lap. It is also to affirm yet again that there is a dual system of injustice in the U.S., one for the rich and powerful, and another entirely for the poor.[12] We’ll see if Drehle is right. Obviously, I hope he isn’t.

David Von Drehle, “If the Mar-a-Lago case collapses? Disaster dodged, America,” Washington Post, January 13, 2023,

Jeff Mason, “Biden documents bungle seen as political black eye before 2024 launch,” Reuters, January 14, 2023,

Police White supremacist gangs

Fig. 1. Image credited to Darnella Frazier, made from a video posted to Facebook, of Minneapolis white supremacist gangster Derek Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck, May 25, 2020, via ABC News,[13] fair use.

There is a new blog post entitled, “Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey is afraid of his own police white supremacist gang.”

WTAE, “Controversial memo prompts Gainey’s response on secondary traffic stops,” January 14, 2023,

  1. [1]David Von Drehle, “If the Mar-a-Lago case collapses? Disaster dodged, America,” Washington Post, January 13, 2023,
  2. [2]David Benfell, “It is now even more urgently orange jumpsuit time,” Not Housebroken, November 18, 2022,
  3. [3]Department of Justice, “A Sitting President’s Amenability to Indictment and Criminal Prosecution,” October 16, 2000,
  4. [4]Perry Stein et al., “Justice filing points to new legal trouble for Trump and lawyers, experts say,” Washington Post, August 31, 2022,
  5. [5]Chris Strohm, “DOJ prosecutors say there’s sufficient evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice: report,” MarketWatch, October 19, 2022,
  6. [6]Michelle Onibokun and Chuck Rosenberg, “The Justice Department’s Policy Against Election Interference is Open to Abuse,” Lawfare, September 11, 2020,
  7. [7]Devlin Barrett and Josh Dawsey, “Investigators see ego, not money, as Trump’s motive on classified papers,” Washington Post, November 14, 2022,
  8. [8]Charlie Savage, “U.S. Asks Court to End Special Master Review of Files Seized From Trump,” New York Times, October 17, 2022,
  9. [9]Jess Bravin and Aruna Viswanatha, “Judge Grants Donald Trump’s Request for Independent Review of Mar-a-Lago Documents,” Wall Street Journal, September 5, 2022,; J. Oliver Conroy, “Why did a judge grant Trump’s request for a ‘special master’?” Guardian, September 7, 2022,; Ann E. Marimow and Devlin Barrett, “Judge’s special-master order a test of Trump’s post-White House powers,” Washington Post, September 6, 2022,; Charlie Savage, “‘Deeply Problematic’: Experts Question Judge’s Intervention in Trump Inquiry,” New York Times, September 5, 2022,; Eric Tucker, “Judge grants Trump bid for special master in Mar-a-Lago case,” Los Angeles Times, September 5, 2022,; Shan Wu, “Trump’s Special Master Suit Is Dead—Now the Real Case Begins,” Daily Beast, December 12, 2022,
  10. [10]Aruna Viswanatha and Sadie Gurman, “Jack Smith Named Special Counsel to Lead DOJ Probes of Donald Trump,” Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2022,
  11. [11]David Von Drehle, “If the Mar-a-Lago case collapses? Disaster dodged, America,” Washington Post, January 13, 2023,; Jeff Mason, “Biden documents bungle seen as political black eye before 2024 launch,” Reuters, January 14, 2023,
  12. [12]Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer and The Poor Get Prison, 7th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2004).
  13. [13]Catherine Thorbecke, “Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes, complaint says,” ABC News, May 29, 2020,

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