Indict Trump for the assault on the Capitol? Attorney General to decide

Indict Trump for the assault on the Capitol? Let the Attorney General decide

Supporters of Donald Trump during the Jan. 6 Capitol Storming.

The message is not gone unnoticed: On Thursday evening, the chairman of the congressional committee of inquiry into the attack on the Capitol said that all those responsible for the attack should be held accountable for their actions before the courts, including the White House.

Even though Bennie Thompson did not name Donald Trump, his little phrase has further increased the pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland, who will decide whether or not to indict the former Republican president.

The commission showed, in eight high-profile hearings, that Donald Trump pressured election officials after the 2020 presidential election, then asked his vice president to block the certification of the victory of his rival Joe Biden by Congress, on January 6, 2021.

Claiming to be the victim of a stolen election, he summoned his supporters to Washington that day and called on them to fight like hell. Entrenched in the White House, he then followed their surge of violence for three hours without intervening.

The members of the commission considered that he had, at the very least, failed in his duty as commander-in-chief.

However, Tim Bakken, a law professor at the West Point Military Academy, noted on The Conversation that neglecting one's duty is a crime under military law and in some states, but not under federal law.

According to several jurists, Donald Trump could instead be criminally prosecuted for obstructing an official process or on a very broad count of government fraud which involves having disrupted the functioning of institutions.

Donald Trump, who still enjoys strong popular support, seems ready to declare his candidacy for the presidency of 2024 very quickly. Some therefore warn against prosecutions which would inevitably be perceived as political.

Just before the invasion of the Capitol, US President Donald Trump took part in a rally in Washington on Wednesday to challenge the certification of the results of the 2020 US presidential election by Congress.

Indicting the president's former and future opponent would be a cataclysm from which the nation would struggle to recover, wrote Jack Goldsmith, a former senior Justice Department official in an op-ed published by the New York Times. . This would fuel the already burning acrimony between our two parties.

But other voices believe it is necessary to sanction Donald Trump to protect American democracy. Failure to charge him would encourage more violent insurgencies, said Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe.

To obtain a conviction, prosecutors will have to prove that Donald Trump had criminal intent, that is to say that he knew how to commit an illegal act, underlines William Banks, professor of law at Syracuse University.

However, his lawyers will certainly portray him as a disillusioned patriot who truly believed that the election had been stolen from him and who wanted to save the country, he explains to the press. AFP.

During the hearings, several members of his entourage claimed to have explained to him that he had lost the election. He knew some protesters were armed and potentially dangerous, added former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

But for Donald Trump, these statements have no legal value: if the commission had real evidence, it would have organized real hearings respecting the rights of the defense , he wrote, regretting that the testimonies were cut, staged and without cross-examination.

Known for being methodical and cautious, the Attorney General doesn't rule anything out. Everyone who is criminally responsible for efforts to nullify the election will have to answer for their actions, Merrick Garland said recently.

Justice Secretary Merrick Garland.

But prosecution will have to be conducted in a professional and honest manner, hastened to add this 69-year-old former judge, tempering the hopes of those who hope to see the sword of justice strike quickly. A memo recently sent to his teams calls them to avoid any political prosecution before the mid-term elections in November.

For the future, he could be tempted to appoint a special prosecutor, which would relieve him of the case and give guarantees of independence, believes William Banks. But he keeps his cards very close to him and there's no telling what he's planning to do.

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