Sounding the alarm for Merrick Garland: The Justice Department is in real jeopardy because of Trump

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If Merrick Garland is serious about protecting the Department of Justice (DOJ) from political interference and salvaging the institution’s reputation, then he must indict Donald Trump for his crimes related to his 2020 coup attempt. the main takeaway from the House committee investigating Jan. 6. That’s the message the committee clearly hopes will be heard by the Attorney General, and that was the underlying message of the committee’s fourth hearing on Thursday.

Garland has come under increasing criticism for his failure to hold top Republicans accountable for the roles they played in both the overall coup effort and the attack on the government. Capitol on January 6. Garland’s slow-moving criminal investigation into Trump and his GOP co-conspirators has been widely seen as an attempt to “depoliticize” the DOJ after Trump and his attorney general Bill Barr did so much to disgrace the agency. But as Thursday’s hearing made indisputable, the biggest threat to the DOJ’s reputation for independence from politics is Trump himself. As long as Trump is free to return to the White House, legally or not, the DOJ is in real danger of being corrupt in Trump’s image.

“Imagine if your mayor lost a re-election bid, but instead of conceding the race, he picked up the phone, called the district attorney and said, ‘I want you to say this election was stolen,'” he said. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., explained in his opening statement Thursday. That’s what Trump was doing – but on a much larger scale.

RELATED: Trump and His Henchmen Must Be Punished: It’s the Only Way to Save America

Thursday’s hearing focused on Trump’s efforts during the coup to force the DOJ to support his false claims that the election was stolen.

Jeffrey Rosen, Richard Donoghue and Steven Engel — all three top DOJ brass under Trump — testified about a meeting they had with Trump on Jan. 3, 2021. During the meeting, they threatened to resign if Trump was moving forward with a plan to use the DOJ for its criminal purposes. Trump’s plan was to appoint a man named Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general, these men reported, for the sole purpose of creating a legal pretext to undo Joe Biden’s presidential victory.

As long as Trump is free to return to the White House, legally or not, the DOJ is in real danger of being corrupt in Trump’s image.

“Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen,” Trump reportedly told the Justice Department executive, according to Donoghue’s testimony.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., Described the man Trump tried to impose on the DOJ as acting attorney general: “Who is Jeff Clark? An environmental lawyer with no relevant experience to run the whole Department of Justice What was his only that he would do anything the president would want him to do, including overturning free and fair democratic elections.


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It’s true, of course, that Republicans will accuse Garland of “playing politics” if the DOJ accuses Trump of the crimes exemplified in House committee hearings. It is also sadly true that many thumb-sucking centrists in the media will accept this narrative, rather than face the very real threats to our democracy. But, as Thursday’s hearing shows, prosecuting Trump is the best way to prevent the DOJ from becoming a thoroughly corrupt institution serving the whims of a dictatorial president.

In 2020, Trump’s efforts to corrupt the DOJ were halted by career bureaucrats who took the law more seriously than Trump’s concerns. Trump, as the committee made clear, will ensure that this never happens again. Leave Trump near the Oval Office again, you’ll get a DOJ made up of just Jeff Clarks. That’s the powerful message the committee was sending to Garland on Thursday.

RELATED: January 6 Committee Clarifies Merrick Garland Case: Not Prosecuting Trump Is Political

“Imagine a future where the President could screen Justice Department candidates with a single question: ‘Are you loyal to me or to the Constitution?’ And it wouldn’t take long to find people willing to swear allegiance to the man,” Kinzinger explained.

Leaving the Trump problem to the voters is not enough.

Obviously, the primary reason Garland should charge Trump with crimes is the overwhelming evidence of guilt and the moral duty to send the message that no man is above the law. But if the DOJ’s reputation means so much to Garland, then he should really be concerned that a free Trump is about to turn the DOJ into a giant ‘fixer’ agency that is solely focused on keeping Trump in power. .

Leaving the Trump problem to the voters is not enough.

As Tuesday’s committee hearing demonstrated, Trump’s plan to steal the 2024 election through yet another fake voter scheme has a high probability of working. The already too few public officials who could get in the way of the plot are disappearing. We can always hope that the 2024 elections will not be close enough to be stolen. But most Americans already knew Trump was a fascist pig before Jan. 6, and enough of them agreed in 2020 that he was within flying distance. If Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, a Republican, cannot be dissuaded from voting for Trump again, despite the fact that Trump killed violent and unbalanced people in the Bowers family, then the odds of other Trump voters switching sides are really weak.


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Backing out of the Trump campaign with criminal charges may truly be the best chance we have of saving democracy. If democracy is not saved, the reputation of the DOJ is doomed. Next time, the integrity of the DOJ will not be protected by the threat of mass resignations. Trump will make sure to fire anyone willing to stand up to him before that happens.

The good news is that the January 6 hearings appear to be working as expected: they underscore how absurd it is for the DOJ to let Trump and his conspirators go free. The DOJ’s reputation as “apolitical” doesn’t sit well these days. There’s a growing perception that Trump and his cronies can get away with crimes because they’re rich and well-connected, which makes the DOJ look damn corrupt. So it’s a great relief to see that the tide is turning and that Garland, albeit reluctantly, is letting his staff go after the top GOP brass who were implicated in the coup.

Just this week, many of the bogus voters who were the subject of Tuesday’s hearing were finally hit with subpoenas. On Wednesday, just before the committee unloaded a truck loaded with evidence of Clark’s role in a plot to overthrow the government, federal agents raided his home:

The timing of all this doesn’t really seem like a coincidence. The January 6 committee appears to shame the DOJ into investigating criminal activity.

Backing out of the Trump campaign with criminal charges may truly be the best chance we have of saving democracy.

Garland and the DOJ cannot make any decisions that are “apolitical.” Refusing to arrest Trump in the face of overwhelming evidence of his guilt is political behavior, as it is much more about placating Republican supporters than upholding the law. Since every move he’s going to make is going to be refracted by politics, Garland has to worry less about political “appearance” and start living up to his promise to go where the evidence leads. Garland takes the reputation of the DOJ very seriously. If he wants his legacy to be the preservation of that reputation, he must indict Trump for his various crimes. Failure to do so is an invitation for Trump to return to the White House, where he will immediately turn the Justice Department into a MAGA clown show.

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