Washington (Times Of Ocean)- Even Democratic Party legal experts are warning that the Jan 6 select committee’s search for a criminal charge to prosecute former President Donald Trump might be futile and even “backfire.”
Ronald Weich, former assistant attorney general in Barack Obama’s Justice Department, says a criminal referral from Congress could backfire in this situation. Political pressure should not be a factor in the Justice Department’s charging decisions, and that is what might be happening here.
“A referral could make it harder for the [Justice] Department to prosecute.”
Even Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., admitted to Politico that “a referral doesn’t mean anything” and “has no legal weight.”
The chair of the Jan. 6 select committee, Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., is not ruling out criminal prosecution of Trump for his actions as president on Jan. 6, 2021.
“Our job is to look into the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident,” Thompson told Politico.
“So we’ll make a decision at some point as a committee.”
Carter’s 44-page filing last Monday provided an opinion – from a Bill Clinton-appointed judge – that Trump’s attempt to challenge the Electoral College certification on Jan 6 might have violated the law. In comparison to the evidence the DOJ has, a referral from the committee is nothing.
“It would have no legal effect, just political ones,” George Washington University criminal law professor Randall Eliason told Politico. “And Congress wouldn’t be telling the DOJ anything it doesn’t already know, or that it couldn’t tell the DOJ without a referral. So I still feel like the costs outweigh any benefits.”
Judge Carter’s unsolicited opinion was addressed by Merrick Garland, who vowed not to be influenced by political pressures in any investigation of the former president.
“The only pressure I feel and the only pressure that our line prosecutors feel is to do the right thing,” Garland told reporters at a Friday news conference.