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Indict Trump for the assault on the Capitol? Attorney General to decide

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Even if Bennie Thompson did not name Donald Trump, his short sentence further increased the pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland, who will decide whether or not to indict the former Republican president.

The commission showed, in eight high-profile hearings, that Donald Trump pressured election officials after the 2020 presidential election, then asked his vice president to block certification of his rival’s victory Joe Biden by Congress, January 6, 2021.

Claiming to be the victim of a stolen electionhe had summoned his supporters to Washington that day and called on them to fight like devils. Entrenched in the White House, he then followed their surge of violence for three hours without intervening.

The members of the commission considered that he had, at a minimum, failed in his duty as Commander-in-Chief.

Tim Bakken, a law professor at the West Point military academy, however, notes on the site The Conversation that fail in one’s duty is a crime under military law and in a few states, but not under federal law.

According to several jurists, Donald Trump could instead be prosecuted for obstruction of due process or on a very broad head of government fraud which involves having disrupted the functioning of the institutions.

What to do?

Donald Trump, who still enjoys strong popular support, seems ready to declare his candidacy for the presidency of 2024 very quickly. Some therefore warn against prosecutions which would inevitably be perceived as political.

Indicting the president’s former and future opponent would be a cataclysm from which the nation would struggle to recover wrote Jack Goldsmith, a former senior Justice Department official in an op-ed published by the New York Times. This would fuel the already burning acrimony between our two parties.

But other voices consider it necessary to sanction Donald Trump to protect American democracy. Failure to charge him would encourage more violent insurgencies believes Laurence Tribe, professor of law at Harvard.

To secure a conviction, prosecutors will have to prove that Donald Trump had criminal intent that is to say, he knew how to commit an illegal act, underlines William Banks, professor of law at Syracuse University.

Gold, his lawyers are sure to paint him as a disillusioned patriot who truly thought the election was stolen from him and wanted to save the countryhe told AFP.

During the hearings, several members of his entourage claimed to have explained to him that he had lost the election. He knew some protesters were armed and potentially dangerous, added former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

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But for Donald Trump, these statements have no legal value: if the commission had real evidence, she would have organized real hearings while respecting the rights of the defensehe wrote, regretting that the testimonies were cut, staged and without cross-examination.

The rest depends on the Attorney General

Known for being methodical and cautious, the Attorney General does not rule anything out. Every person who is criminally responsible for the efforts to annul the election will have to answer for their actionsMerrick Garland said recently.

Merrick Garland.

Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik

But the prosecution will have to be carried out in a professional and honest manner hastened to add this 69-year-old former judge, tempering the hopes of those who hope to see the sword of justice strike quickly. A memo recently sent to his teams calls on them to avoid all political prosecution before the mid-term elections -mandate, in November.

Subsequently, he might be tempted to name a special prosecutor which would relieve him of the file and would give guarantees of independence, believes William Banks. But he keeps his cards very close and you can’t tell what he intends to do.

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