Former US President Donald Trump could escape prosecution for his role in the Jan. 6 attack even after the House Select Committee has presented all his evidence, experts have warned.
Even before the panel began presenting its findings in live televised hearings, the Justice Department and US Attorney General Merrick Garland were being called on to indict the former president over his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results and subsequent January 6, 2021. Uprising on the Capitol.
Key moments from the first two televised hearings include the panel detailing how Trump continued to publicize his false claims that the 2020 election was rigged, despite being frequently told that was not the case.
The panel claimed several GOP congressmen, including Scott Perry, asked for a pardon from the former president before leaving office for attempting to overturn the election results.
The panel also said the far-right Proud Boys group, whose leaders have since been charged with sedition on Jan. 6, were inspired by Trump’s tweets to attack the Capitol.
With several hearings yet to take place, with the next one now scheduled for Thursday, Thomas Gift, founding director of University College London’s Center for US Policy, said the Jan. 6 panel appears to be “methodically building the case.” an indictment against Trump.
However, Gift said he was still unconvinced that Garland would ultimately take the unprecedented step of indicting a former president for a crime because of the potentially significant or even dangerous backlash.
“Any attempt by the Justice Department to prosecute the former president is met with howls from the right alleging a partisan vendetta aimed at eliminating Biden’s most likely opponent in 2024,” Gift said news week.
“With that in mind, there is every reason to believe that Attorney General Merrick Garland would exercise extreme caution before pursuing a case – to the point where it seems like an unlikely scenario at this time.”
“If he did, the outpouring of right-wing backlash this would generate throughout MAGA-verse would be both enormous and with consequences that are impossible to predict,” Gift added.
The panel has sought to highlight Trump’s willingness to ignore the truth he was told about the election results.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat and member of the panel, accused the “big lie” of also being a “big rip-off,” claiming Trump continued to push the false allegations of voter fraud to collect hundreds of millions of dollars from his followers under false pretenses.
Neama Rahmani, former federal prosecutor and president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, said news week that the evidence presented so far is important in showing Trump’s state of mind in the days and weeks following the election – but “knowledge and intent are only part” of a prosecution.
“The Justice Department needs more, and these hearings can serve political purposes. The House of Representatives is focused on the 2022 midterm elections and even the 2024 presidential race,” Rahmani said. “The attorney general would also need to prove a causal link between Trump’s actions and the ensuing January 6 violence.”
Rahmani also hinted that Garland is not the kind of “aggressive” prosecutor who is “ready to take on a difficult and highly political prosecution” and indict a former president.
Instead, Rahmani suggests that the prosecutor who is more likely to press charges against Trump is Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is leading the Georgia criminal investigation alleging Trump tried to Getting Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes. Help him win the state.
Since June 1, a special grand jury has been hearing evidence from subpoenaed witnesses as part of the investigation into whether Trump incited voter fraud by calling Raffensperger. Trump has frequently denied any wrongdoing, calling the call “perfect” and the investigation into him a “witch hunt.”
Garland has given no real indication as to whether the DOJ intends to indict Trump over January 6 or his attempts to overturn the election. On Monday, Garland assured that he and the other prosecutors keep abreast of the House Committee’s presentations.
“I am observing and will follow all hearings, although I may not be able to follow everything live,” he said. “And I can assure you that January 6th prosecutors are watching all hearings.”
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