Coercion and Trump role on January 6 warrant special prosecutor

In August 2020, then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo turned a diplomatic mission to the Middle East into a political event when he addressed the Republican National Convention in a video of Jerusalem with the Western Wall in the background. Pompeo has repeatedly referred to the pro-Israel policies of President Donald Trump, the subject of his official diplomatic mission.

If crimes were committed, even by the former president himself, then they should be prosecuted.

The State Department was already in the middle of Trump’s plan to halt US aid to Ukraine unless Ukraine begins a criminal investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden . This, of course, was the subject of Trump’s first impeachment, in which the then Republican-controlled Senate refused to even hear from witnesses.

It’s a federal crime for “any person who intimidates, threatens, commands or coerce, or attempts to intimidate, threaten, command or coerce, any employee of the federal government …

The “any person” mentioned in 18 USC 610 of the federal code does not exclude a former president like Trump, who “intimidated, threatened, ordered or coerced” federal employees, mainly his own appointees, to engage in political activities at support for his re-election campaign. Trump’s coercion intensified after his election defeat, and he relied on the Justice Department and the military to redo the 2020 election.

Over 30 years ago, so-Sen. Joe biden convincingly argued that special prosecutors are needed when senior officials break public confidence in the integrity of government. He is now president and his attorney general, Merrick Garland, has the power to appoint a special advocate to investigate and prosecute allegations of crimes committed by Trump and others, including violations of the statute of political coercion.

Garland not only has this authority, but he also has an obligation. If crimes were committed, even by the former president himself, then they should be prosecuted.

The evidence is overwhelming that Trump has repeatedly violated criminal law prohibiting coercion.

In October, Claire Finkelstein, professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and myself filed a criminal complaint with the Justice Department calling for an investigation into whether Trump violated the Political Coercion Act. We have pointed the finger at extreme politicization, by order of the President, in federal agencies, including the State Department and Postal Service.

The evidence is overwhelming that Trump has repeatedly violated criminal law prohibiting coercion.

Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy changed mail delivery processes in the summer of 2020, just in time to wreak havoc on mail and sow skepticism among voters about postal voting.

Perhaps worst of all was the extreme politicization of the Justice Department under the leadership of Attorney General William Barr, who came under pressure from Trump to support his re-election and who, in turn, called for subordinates of the Ministry of Justice to engage in missions which could only be characterized as political.

This politicization included Barr’s May 2020 sacking of Jeffrey Berman, the American attorney in Manhattan, as Berman was in the midst of several sensitive investigations to Trump and his campaign. This included political interference in Justice Department criminal proceedings against Trump campaign aides Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, and Barr’s involvement in assaulting federal agents against peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square. near the White House.

This assault was immediately followed by Trump’s appearance in a campaign photoshoot holding a Bible outside St. John’s Episcopal Church.

According to a report from the Washington Examiner, a report detailing abuses in the Department of Justice had an impact on Barr: University of Pennsylvania Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, claiming he used his post as attorney general for political ends to help the former president.

After Barr’s resignation, Trump exerted extraordinary pressure on his successor, Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, to invalidate the election. Jeffrey Clark, a Trump political employee at the Justice Department, wrote a Justice Department memorandum for Rosen’s signature claiming to have found “voter fraud.”

Had Rosen signed it, the memo would have been an official Justice Department conclusion that the election was invalid, justifying whatever action Trump deemed necessary to force a new “fair” election. Despite pressure from Trump and his political allies, Rosen refused.

In late November, Trump met with Flynn, his former national security adviser, and others in the White House to discuss the possibility to use his powers as commander-in-chief to declare martial law and order federal troops to help re-run the elections.

Biden need only read his own law review article to find out what to do about it.

According to a soon-to-be-published book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Army Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was so concerned about Trump’s mental state that he told the military leaders that they have to carry out any order from Trump to use a nuclear weapon through him. A previous book had previously revealed Milley’s concerns about Trump’s behavior as his tenure drew to a close. According to the book “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year,” written by Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, America has come uncomfortably close to a military coup. “It’s a Reichstag moment,” Milley reportedly told his staff in January. “The Gospel of the Führer.

Denying telling Milley about a coup, Trump said, “I saw then that he had neither courage nor skill, certainly not the kind of person I would talk about ‘hit’ with.”

According to Milley’s account, Trump wanted a coup but did not have the backing of the military. Would that have been the case if Rosen had signed this memo declaring voter fraud?

All of the above happened before Trump incited a host of his supporters to insurgency on January 6. Police reinforcements from the U.S. Capitol have been slow to arrive, and we do not yet know if Trump or anyone else has considered sending federal troops or providing other federal assistance to the rioters.

The events of January 6 are expected to be the subject of another Justice Department criminal investigation extending well beyond the infantry who have been accused of invading the Capitol. Trump may be criminally responsible for what happened that day, and if so, he should be charged.

Trump should have been prosecuted during his presidency for obstructing justice in the Robert Mueller Inquiry and his coercion of political activities by senior State Department officials in the Ukraine scandal. He continued to commit crimes in power in part because he was never criminally charged, even though there was strong evidence of previous crimes.

The Justice Department has refused for years to prosecute a sitting president based on questionable constitutional arguments. It’s wrong. A president who shoots someone on Fifth Avenue, like Trump once bragged about, or who commits some other crime should be continued like anyone else. And his status as a former president is not reason enough not to open an investigation now.

Criminal investigations and prosecutions of senior officials must be independent of political considerations. This point was briefly stated in a North Carolina Law Journal Article by Biden in 1987 to defend the constitutionality of the Independent Lawyer Act passed after Watergate.

Criminal investigations and prosecutions of senior officials must be independent of political considerations.

“The history of this nation (…) demonstrates the need for an independent investigative arm within the federal government. There are certain extraordinary moments of crisis when the faith of the people in the integrity and independence of their elected officials is made to falter. These scandals tarnish the notion that the Attorney General is an independent executive officer who can be trusted to enforce the criminal law in senior government positions. Restore the utmost public confidence in the investigation of wrongdoing by senior government officials. “

Biden was right. In the last year of the Trump administration, we have lived through what has perhaps been one of the “most extraordinary times of crisis” since the Civil War. Biden need only read his own law review article to find out what to do about it.

Whether a former president should be prosecuted for allegations including coercion into political activity by federal employees or incitement to insurgency should not be a political judgment. A president who has committed such crimes must be prosecuted if we do not want these crimes to be repeated by future presidents or our representative democracy to be jeopardized.

Garland is expected to appoint a special advocate who can make decisions regardless of political considerations, whether for or against Trump. This prosecutor should follow the facts and the law wherever they lead, focusing only on this fundamental concept of representative democracy: no one is above the law.

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