The evidence that Donald Trump is guilty of multiple crimes related to the January 6th insurrection that he incited continues to mount. And the legal peril that he faces became even more pronounced with the testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, the aide to Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows. That testimony is having a profound impact on the American people who watched the hearing in record numbers.
Hutchinson’s testimony is also having an impact on Trump. He was so distraught by her disclosures that he rushed into the arms of the Trump-fluffers at Newsmax to complain frantically that the House Select Committee was “illegally formed” and that Hutchinson is “absolutely crazy.” Neither of which is true, but both of which illustrate his panicky desperation and total lack of any factual basis.
Affirming the imminent legal threat to Trump, renowned Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks appeared on MSNBC to discuss the Committee hearings and the potential future consequences for Trump and his criminal confederates. Her assessment of the situation is certain to exacerbate his already heated anxiety:
“Trump could now be charged with a number of crimes — but one key offense would keep him out of federal office forever, Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks said on MSNBC Friday. Wine-Banks said the ‘best’ crime for Trump is Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Section 2383 — the crime of ‘rebellion or insurrection’ against the U.S. — because the penalty is tougher than just prison time.
“’I think it would be horrible not to act on what is now blatantly obvious to anyone who has watched the hearings’ being held by the House Jan. 6 committee, Wine-Banks said.
“’My favorite crime would be 2383 — not the seditious conspiracy’ charge, which is Section 2384, she added. ‘The reason is that the penalty for 2383 is not just jail; it is being barred from ever holding federal office again,’ Wine-Banks explained. ‘And for me, that would be a more important goal than jailing the former president.’”
Certainly permitting Trump to have access to any measure of power would be virtually suicidal for the nation. His authoritarian aspirations would put an end to America’s principles of liberty and democracy. But the necessity of demonstrating that there is no one who is above the law is just as important. And Trump must face the consequences of his seditious acts. To that end, Wine-Banks went on to note that there are several other crimes that Trump can be charged with…
“There is, of course … obstruction of Congress, obstruction of justice, witness tampering — so many things just based on Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony, just hers, for those few hours, [she] laid out all of those crimes,” Wine-Banks said. “And then you have many more besides that,” she added.
Wine-Banks isn’t the only learned legal mind to express these sentiments. Liz Cheney, the Republican vice chair of the House Select Committee, constitutional professor Lawrence Tribe, and even Fox News legal analyst Andrew McCarthy, hold similar views:
Liz Cheney tells ABC it's possible the January 6 committee makes a criminal referral recommending to the DOJ that Donald Trump be prosecuted pic.twitter.com/jgNN3GGd2K
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 3, 2022
Tribe: I do think the odds are he will be indicted.
Wolf: So you think Merrick Garland, the attorney general of the United States will indict the former president of the United States?
Tribe: If I had to guess, that would be my guess. pic.twitter.com/H6mhH6SK9F
— Acyn (@Acyn) July 2, 2022
— Aidan McLaughlin (@aidnmclaughlin) June 30, 2022
There has been a great deal of debate in Washington with regard to the plausibility of indicting Trump. While there is a fair amount of consensus that he is guilty, some of the more timid players think that prosecuting him would be too political. However, the glaring flaw in their opinion is that choosing not to prosecute because he is a former president is, by definition, political.
There is no avoiding the politics inherent in this situation. Consequently, the only way forward is to rely on the rule of law and practice it fairly and without favor to status or privilege. Anything less would be a stain on the democracy and justice that America purports to represent.
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