Press: Time for Merrick Garland to flush Donald Trump
On Jan. 5, marking the one-year anniversary of Jan. 6, Attorney General Merrick Garland promised that, “following the facts,” the Justice Department would pursue anyone, no matter how powerful, responsible for planning and carrying out the assault on the U.S. Capitol. “The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6 perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy.”
One month later, it’s fair to ask: “General, what are you waiting for? Why hasn’t Donald Trump yet been charged with any crime? How much more evidence do you need?”
True, DOJ has “aggressively pursued” those who actually broke into the Capitol, arresting over 725 rioters so far, several of whom are already serving prison terms. And the department’s reportedly still tracking down another 350 persons involved. But going after foot soldiers is not enough. What about the leader of the insurrection? What about Donald Trump? Every day, we see more evidence of his criminal conduct.
Read the account of Trump’s second impeachment trial in Rep. Jamie Raskin’s (D-Md.) powerful new book, “Untitled.” While their goal was to remove Trump from office, not convict him of a crime, the impeachment managers laid forth a litany of Trump’s illegal actions leading up to and on the day of Jan. 6: personally pressing local election officials to falsify election results; inciting supporters to block election officials from certifying the election: all part of an attempt to overthrow the duly-elected U.S. government.
Documents obtained, over Trump’s objections, by the January 6 Select Committee reveal even more criminal behavior: efforts by Trump and his lawyers to persuade people to create false slates of presidential electors; lying in multiple courts of law about alleged voter fraud; pressuring the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and the Pentagon to seize local voting machines. Again, all with the intent of overturning the government.
Now the latest: A request from the National Archives that the Justice Department investigate possible criminal activity by Donald Trump by refusing to turn over 15 boxes of presidential papers — some of them classified and marked “top secret” — and taking them to Mar-a-Lago, instead. Clearly, this was no accident. These boxes contained items, like his famous “love letters” from North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, that Trump had cherry-picked for his hoped-for presidential library. Trump knew what the Presidential Records Act required, he just didn’t care.
For the same reason, Trump apparently used his cell phone to call House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and others on Jan. 6 — leaving no official record of White House calls, as required by law.
In fact, according to Trump’s former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, a general disdain for the law, led by the president himself, permeated the Trump White House. Everybody knew, for example, he ripped up presidential documents in violation of the law. So what? “He would roll his eyes at the rules, so we did, too,” Grisham told the Washington Post.
Capping it all off is reporting from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman’s new book, “Confidence Man,” that plumbers were often summoned to the White House residence to free toilets clogged by official papers Trump had ripped up and tried to flush. Which gives new meaning to the phrase “document dump.”
What more evidence does he need? It’s time for Merrick Garland to flush Donald Trump.
Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”