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Democrats see good chance Garland will sue Trump

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WASHINGTON (The Hill) — Senate Democrats believe there’s a good chance the Justice Department will sue former President Trump for trying to overturn the 2020 election results and inciting an attack on the January 6 against the Capitol, which would have major political repercussions ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Democratic lawmakers say they have no inside information about what might happen and describe Attorney General Merrick Garland as someone who would make sure to conduct any investigation strictly by book.

But they also say that the fact that Garland provided little guidance as to whether or not the Justice Department has its prosecution goals against Trump doesn’t necessarily mean the former president is unlikely to be indicted.

Given the weight of public evidence, Democratic lawmakers believe Trump committed federal crimes.

But Senate Democrats also warn that Garland must proceed with caution. Any prosecution that fails to convict Trump risks becoming a disaster and could vindicate Trump, just as the inconclusive report by Robert Muellers’ team was seized by Trump and his allies to declare his exoneration on a separate set of allegations.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) made it clear what [Trump] done in the days leading up to and on the day of the January 6 attack on Congress is what is under investigation and possibly criminal.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said it’s up to Justice Department prosecutors to indict Trump, though he thinks the former presidents’ actions on Jan. 6 and before likely violate federal law.

They have all the evidence at their disposal, he said.

Kaine believes federal prosecutors are seriously considering the charges against Trump, although he has no inside information on what they might be working on.

My hunch is that they are carefully reviewing whether Trump broke the law, he said. My feeling is that they are watching [at] everything in a diligent way and they haven’t made a decision.

I believe there are federal laws that are heavily implicated in Trump’s efforts to undo President Bidens’ victory in the 2020 election, Kaine added.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said I think anyone with a proven track record played a role in planning [the Jan. 6 attack] should be prosecuted, not just those who broke in and broke my office window and others.

I think anyone who is shown to have played a role in its planning should definitely be prosecuted, he added. I mean it was treason, he was trying to overthrow an election by violent means.

When asked if Trump broke the law, Brown replied that I won’t say he was guilty until he saw evidence, but he also said there was plenty of evidence that he was. was an accomplice.

Trump faces state-level threats.

Georgias local prosecutor Fulton County District Attorney Fani Williams told The Associated Press last weekend that she was leaning towards asking a special grand jury to authorize subpoenas to make advance its investigation into Trump’s conversation with Raffensperger.

She said a decision on whether or not to bring criminal charges against Trump would likely be made within the next six months.

Trump is also under criminal investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and New York City Attorney Letitia James for possible bank and insurance fraud.

Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill have their eyes on the legal fights, but are more keenly interested in whether the far more resourced federal Justice Department will lend its legal firepower to the former president as well. .

Garland gave Democrats a tantalizing clue when he announced on the eve of the first anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack that he would prosecute those responsible at all levels for what he called the assault on our democracy.

The Justice Department remains committed to holding all Jan. 6 perpetrators, at all levels, accountable under the law, whether they were present that day or otherwise criminally liable, he said. he declares.

It was a potentially important statement from an attorney general who otherwise keeps his cards close to the vest.

Garland is kind of a by-the-book guy, Kaine said. You have prosecutors who will talk things through, sort of give you status reports along the way. But that’s not really the most professional thing for prosecutors to do.

What prosecutors typically do is they analyze all the evidence and then they file an indictment or an indictment, or they say nothing, he said. If they file an indictment or an indictment, they let that speak for itself and they don’t do editorials about it.

A Democratic senator who requested anonymity to comment on what Democratic lawmakers expect from Garland said many Democrats believe Trump broke the law by trying to prevent certification of Bidens’ victory.

But lawmakers warned it could be difficult to secure a conviction in court and that Trump will try to discredit any prosecution as a politically motivated witch hunt.

It will be a difficult decision for them to make, the senator said, referring to Garland and his team.

A second Democratic senator who requested anonymity to comment on the possibility of a federal prosecution of Trump warned that it would only take one pro-Trump juror to derail a conviction and that the failure of any case before a court would have disastrous consequences.

If you pull the trigger on this one, you have to make sure you don’t miss it, because this one is one if you miss it, it basically validates the ride, the senator warned.

Legal experts are divided on the strength of a case Garland would have against Trump.

Randall Eliason, a law professor at George Washington University and a former federal prosecutor, said last year that it would be appropriate for prosecutors to investigate Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attack and his efforts to end the attack. to Bidens’ certification as president.

But Andrew Koppelman, a constitutional law expert at Northwestern University, told Bloomberg that Trump’s right to free speech would make any case against Trump difficult to pursue.

You cannot allow the government to lock up protest leaders every time protests produce violence, he warned. Trump’s speech was full of lies, but that’s not a crime. He told them to fight like hell, but that’s colloquial political language that doesn’t usually produce violence.

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