I’m not nearly as alarmed as some are over the “Bill Barr” memorandum Garland issued to his personnel. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If Barr wanted to maintain strict control over if/when a potentially political prosecution (alliteration for free) might occur, why shouldn’t Garland?
If I were Garland and I was worried that Trump might still have some prosecutors under his control working in the DOJ who could manipulate the filing of charges time-wise to benefit Republicans in the mid-terms or otherwise, I might want to maintain strict control over when those indictments were handed down, too.
All the memo means is that Garland wants to retain final say over if/when such charges are laid. I wouldn’t be so quick to assume it means he won’t lay them at all.
It’s clear the DOJ is lagging behind congress and state level investigations. There hasn’t been any reason for a delay, everything has turned out to be exactly what it looked like, a conspiracy to interfere with the electoral process. Garland has politicized this issue by treating it as a special case with special rules. There’s no reason to change the process for treatment of an ex-president. And if there are Trumpists in the DOJ it’s Garland’s fault for not identifying and isolating them.
Indeed, and would not let some elements of the case get away due to the running out of the relevant statutes of limitations.
As always, I will be thrilled to be proven wrong about what I am guessing to be Garland’s reluctance to indict Trump.
But today’s statement by Garland did not assuage my concerns:
There’s a lot of talk to the effect that ‘Trump IS a person, therefore Garland guarantees he will be held accountable!’
That would be nice. But the key term here is not, as so many assume “person”— but instead, “criminally responsible.”
For example, a two-year-old human is a person. But under our laws, no two-year-old can be held criminally responsible (for anything).
Garland has, today, given himself yet another out: if he has privately determined (say) that a former President cannot be held criminally responsible for actions taken in order to keep himself in office, then his statement today was 100% truthful—and yet does not mean that there’s any chance of the DOJ indicting Trump.
I may live to regret this, but I am cutting Garland some slack and wishing him well with this:
“This is the most wide ranging investigation, and the most important investigation that the Justice Department has ever entered into. And we have done so because this effort to upend a legitimate election, transferring power from one administration to another cuts at the fundamental of American democracy,” Garland said. “We have to get this right.”
Garland insisted, as he has in the past, that no one is above the law.
“We have to hold accountable every person who is criminally responsible for trying to overturn a legitimate election,” he said. “And we must do it in a way filled with integrity and professionalism.”
I may be too generous here, god knows Trump has gotten away with everything he’s ever done, but Garland says
“…the most important investigation that the Justice Department has ever entered into.”
And another thing about Garland. Democrats are pissed to the extreme, rightfully so, about what McConnell did regarding Garland’s supreme court nomination.
But what about Garland himself and his reaction? Even the one he doesn’t show publicly. The President has nominated you for a prestigious position, and one motherfucking politician took it away. How does Garland really feel about that? Only he knows, but I know how I’d feel.
So don’t fuck this up.
I still find several elements of the May 2022 memo to be freakishly odd.
As mentioned above, there was no need for Merrick Garland to cite William Barr’s policy as his authority for a new reminder to DOJ personnel that the Department is NOT to interfere in elections. Since such non-interference has been explicit DOJ policy for decades, why not cite any or all of the expressions of that policy that predate Ultra-Partisan Barr?
Even more strange is that Merrick Garland’s policy as laid out in that memo is that the decision-maker on whether or not to investigate a politically-connected individual is a POLITICAL APPOINTEE. (Namely, himself.) If keeping the DOJ above partisan politics is Garland’s “job one,” then why this? Why not make the decision-maker for sensitive potential investigations a committee of career DOJ people, or a Special Counsel, or anything other than a political appointee?
Two top aides to former Vice President Mike Pence testified last week to a federal grand jury in Washington investigating the events surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the highest-ranking officials of the Trump administration so far known to have cooperated with the Justice Department’s widening inquiry into the events leading up to the assault.
The appearances before the grand jury of the men — Marc Short, who was Mr. Pence’s chief of staff, and Greg Jacob, who was his counsel — were the latest indication that the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into the events surrounding and preceding the riot is intensifying after weeks of growing questions about the urgency the department has put on examining former President Donald J. Trump’s potential criminal liability.
The interview where Garland tactfully steps around the question is frustrating to watch. Paraphrased, liberties added by me for emphasis:
Host: So you know that Donald Trump is a criminal and you are going to go after him like any other criminal right?
Garland: I know that criminals exist but I can’t discuss any specific ones.
Host: But again, Donald Trump is a criminal and you won’t be doing your job if you let him go just because he was President and/or will run again.
Garland: I can’t talk about specifics and I am going to leave enough wiggle room in my statements for you to interpret things however you please while I sit here with my thumb appearing to be up my ass. Is it actually up there? Has it been up there this whole time? Is Donald Trump going to get another free pass because he’s committing crimes under the banner of political persecution which lets him get away with basically anything? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see!
I would hate to be the next person in line behind Garland waiting for the bathroom based on his apparent inability to shit or get off the pot. The more time you let pass, the closer to a 100% chance Trump has of getting away with it by actively obstructing justice the same way he did all the other times.
I’m going to just disagree with this, as a matter of opinion. What is critical, to my mind, is not just prosecuting, but convicting, and making it stick. That takes a lot of thorough and objective preparation, of the kind that the House committee is doing. The DOJ can piggy back on that, take up the slack if the House changes hands, and keep up the momentum. The DOJ needs to be objective and impartial, and not come across as pre-judging the outcome, even though they are the prosecution (see further: the slap the Georgia prosecutor got for actively participating in a political campaign against one of the people she wants to investigate). Where this pays off is with the undecided and uncommitted, who need to see that this is not a political witch-hunt no matter how many times Trump claims that it is. This is my opinion.