Five people died in the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, an event that Donald J. Trump could have stopped with a single verbal order to his maniacal followers that day.
He didn’t say a word. He let the attack on our government continue. The event turned bloody. Now comes this tidbit from a former U.S. attorney, Barbara McQuade, who says Trump could face manslaughter charges for his role in provoking the assault and for his abject failure to stop it.
Is that for real? McQuade believes the 1/6 House select committee has compiled enough evidence to refer to Justice Department legal eagles a criminal referral seeking a manslaughter indictment.
McQuade wrote this in making the case: Under federal law, involuntary manslaughter occurs when a person commits an act on federal property without due care that it might produce death. To establish a criminal case of manslaughter against Trump, prosecutors would need to prove each of the elements of that offense beyond a reasonable doubt: an act, committed without due care, that caused death.
First, did Trump commit an act that could constitute the actus reus for manslaughter? His statements at the Ellipse in which he urged the crowd to march to the Capitol could be an act that constitutes this element. Recent evidence that this was not a “metaphorical” statement, but rather a coordinated plan, would make the statement even more egregious because it would mean that Trump had time to reflect on the potential deadly consequences of his actions.
Oh, boy. I don’t know that the committee needs to go that far. It seems to me it has enough evidence to seek plenty of criminal indictments that stop short of accusing Trump of manslaughter.
Still, the idea does make one ponder what might be coming down the road.