Will Trump dodge a bullet again? | Herald Community Newspapers

As a former elected official, I’m often asked who has the toughest job in America. More often than not, I respond to either President Biden or New York City Mayor Eric Adams. But after watching three of the Jan. 6 committee hearings, I decided that Attorney General Merrick Garland had the toughest job in America.
Over the next six to nine months, Garland must decide whether to charge former President Donald Trump with various election law violations. No former president has ever faced criminal charges related to his actions while in office. President Nixon was about to be indicted for various federal crimes in 1974, but in August announced his resignation.
There is no doubt that by the time the House Select Committee on the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol has completed its witness presentations, it may have enough criminal evidence to turn over to the Attorney General, with a recommendation that he take formal action against Trump. But accusing a former president of a crime could further divide an already bitterly divided country and could inflame the relative handful of crazies who are ardent Trump supporters.
At the end of the hearings, the media will focus on the fate of the former president, but many more people could find themselves handcuffed in a federal courtroom. Logical targets could be the large group of people who claimed to be Trump’s presidential voters in Arizona, Georgia and Michigan, claims Biden won the 2020 election. Their fake certificates were even sent to the National Archives.
The next potential defendants could be former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and attorney John Eastman. Guliani and his team appeared in multiple courtrooms across the country, falsely claiming the election was stolen, but those arguments were hollow and failed in more than 60 cases. Eastman is accused of creating the conspiracy to undo the counting of ballots on Jan. 6, which he peddled to Trump repeatedly after the election. Eastman has since invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 100 times.

Are there others who might end up wearing prison jumpsuits? During questioning at the committee’s fourth hearing on January 6, the names of two Republican members of Congress surfaced. A staffer for Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona reportedly asked Vice President Mike Pence to accept a list of fake voters and reject legitimate voters. Johnson and Biggs could be charged with fraudulent efforts to nullify a legitimate election. They could be joined by at least six other members of the Chamber, whose names will be made public in the coming weeks.

Garland wrestles with the right and wrong of accusing a former president of federal crimes, as well as the national implications of such a move. But I suspect that if the tables were turned and the election manipulation had been carried out by a former Democratic president, a Republican attorney general, such as William Barr, would please his client, the Republican president, by pursuing a criminal case.

Is there another scenario we all overlooked?

A federal grand jury was convened in Fulton County, Georgia, and heard testimony from Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whom Trump asked to “find 11,780 votes,” which would make Trump the winner in Georgia. Trump’s request could be seen as a criminal attempt to alter the election results and expose him to criminal charges.

Whatever your political leanings, the Jan. 6 survey uncovered some cold, hard facts about how Trump fared in the days and weeks following his November 2020 loss.

While the vast majority of Americans went about their business, a small group of lawyers and elected officials worked around the clock to burn the Constitution and deliver this country to a President who refused to accept defeat. In the end, there may be no jail time for anyone but the Capitol rioters, but there’s no whitewashing the story, no matter how hard Republicans try.

Jerry Kremer was a Member of the National Assembly for 23 years and chaired the Assembly Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now runs Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Any comments on this column? [email protected]

About Jefferey G. Cannon

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