Tag Archives: Merrick Garland

We’re waiting on AG … patiently

A nation’s patience appears to be running a bit thin as it awaits some key decisions by its chief law enforcement officer … the attorney general of the United States.

AG Merrick Garland is a meticulous man and I am glad to have someone as thoughtful and as deliberate as Garland on the job at the Justice Department.

Am I among those who want Garland to act sooner rather than later? Not really. In truth, my mind and my interests are drawn to more personal matters these days, as my wife struggles with a serious medical condition.

However, were I free to think more frequently about Garland’s probe into the activities of Donald J. Trump my belief would be to let the man proceed at his own pace and at his discretion.

He already has appointed two special counsels to probe Trump’s pilfering of classified documents to his glitzy joint in Florida as well as the classified documents found in President Biden’s home in Delaware. I’ve declared already that I do not consider the incidents to be equal; the Trump matter is much more egregious than what I believe the president allowed to occur.

Garland, though, came to the DOJ after serving for many years on the federal bench. President Obama wanted Garland to take a seat on the Supreme Court, but Senate Republicans made sure that wouldn’t happen. His reputation as a jurist was that he was fair, dispassionate and — well — judicious.

He brings those traits to the Justice Department.

Garland also has declared that “no one is above the law” and has affirmed that statement merely by repeating what he has declared that “no one” can escape justice. By “no one,” I am going to presume he means that even former POTUSes are in the crosshairs.

Let us remember, too, that Garland has received a referral from the House 1/6 committee to pursue criminal indictments relating to the insurrection. He’s working on that matter, also with all deliberate speed. And … we have the Fulton County, Ga., district attorney, Fani Willis, who is examining whether to indict Trump on election tampering in the 2020 presidential election.

All of this requires patience, folks. I happen to possess plenty of it. How about you?


Does one ‘scandal’ affect the other?

Donald Trump’s classified document scandal is the real thing; a president leaves office and takes with him hundreds of pages of documents that do not belong to him.

Joe Biden’s classified document matter is different: he served as vice president, left that office, and squirreled away a few pages of classified documents.

Trump has challenged efforts to retrieve them; Biden has cooperated fully with the feds.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed two special counsels to examine these matters. Question of the day: Should one scandal affect the investigation of the other? My answer: No.

More specifically, special counsel Jack Smith’s work on the Trump matter should proceed with all deliberate speed. Robert Hur’s work on the Biden matter also should proceed.

One investigation must not affect the other one. More to the point is that Smith’s probe into the Trump scandal — which differs, in my mind, greatly from what is occurring with the Biden matter — must continue to its conclusion.

In my view, that conclusion should include an indictment of the ex-POTUS on allegations that he has obstructed justice and committed an illegal theft of government property.

But … that call belongs to AG Garland and his team of legal eagles. He vows to proceed with meticulous caution, which is all right with me. Garland has to get it right, understanding as I am sure he does the gravity of indicting a former POTUS and charging with enough criminal behavior to put him behind bars — if he’s convicted — for the rest of his sorry-ass life.

The Biden matter might complicate the probe into Trump’s scandal, but it must not derail it.


Let’s see who is ‘weaponizing’ justice

Republicans in Congress have adopted a goofy notion that Democrats — starting with President Biden — are “weaponizing” the Justice Department in an effort to bring down Donald J. Trump.

Well, let’s see how that plays out.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has named Robert Hur as special counsel in a probe into whether Biden broke the law when he held classified documents in a think tank and in his Wilmington, Del., garage. The documents come from his time as vice president.

Hur is a U.S. attorney endorsed by Trump. Hmm. Will the prosecutor follow the law, or will he back the Trump allies’ campaign to subvert and destroy Biden? If it’s the latter, then just who is “weaponizing” the Justice Department?

I believe Garland did the right thing by appointing a special counsel. He had no choice, given that he did the same thing when he appointed a special counsel to examine whether Trump broke the law when he took documents out of the White House and hid them in his Florida home.

One of many key differences in these cases lies in the principals’ response. Biden vows to “cooperate fully” with authorities; Trump has sought to block any effort to return the documents to the National Archives, where they belong, on the specious grounds that they are his property. That is pure crap!

Who is guilty of weaponization? It’s not AG Merrick Garland and President Joe Biden. If Robert Hur does his job dispassionately and without bias, then the whole weaponization mantra will be rendered moot.


The gift just keeps giving

Admission time … I haven’t read the 800-page-long report issued by the House select 1/6 committee on the crimes committed by the former president of the United States and many of his minions.

I’ll get around to reading the executive summary, which I understand is about 150 pages.

But … from what I understand this is the gift that keeps giving for those of us who are repulsed by Donald Trump’s conduct during the 1/6 insurrection and the efforts he undertook to keep The Big Lie alive in the minds of the traitors who stormed the capitol building two weeks before Trump left office.

What’s more, the committee appears to have wrapped its findings up in a tidy — albeit voluminous — bundle of information that it will turn over to the special counsel, Jack Smith, who has been assigned by Attorney General Merrick Garland to pore through the evidence and decide whether to indict the former POTUS.

I believe the AG has enough evidence to proceed. The question for me is whether he has the guts to do what he must, which is indict Donald Trump and put this crooked, corrupt, immoral narcissist on trial for violating the oath of office he took to “protect and defend” the Constitution.


History to be made

No matter what transpires after this week, I believe you and I are about to witness a history-smashing event when the House select committee examining the 1/6 insurrection meets for its final public meeting.

All signs — every single one of them — tell us that the panel is going to recommend at least one criminal referral against Donald J. Trump.

Now, to be sure the House panel cannot indict Trump. That task rests with the Justice Department. History will be shattered, though, when the panel votes on the referral. It will be the first time in U.S. history that a congressional committee has made such a recommendation on a former president of the United States of America.

An even more critical question will arise when the committee takes its vote: Will the DOJ follow the recommendation handed it by the House? All the smart money in the land says “yes.” Why? Because Attorney General Merrick Garland hired a career prosecutor, Jack Smith, to serve as special counsel.

Smith hit the ground in a dead-on sprint. He has been working to finalize the evidence gathered by the House committee and by the probe that the DOJ had completed before Garland decided to recuse himself from the insurrection probe and the examination of the pilfering of classified documents from the White House as Trump was leaving office.

To be absolutely clear, the fecal matter is going to hit the fan when the committee casts its vote Monday. We can expect the MAGA cultists in Congress to yammer and yowl about “partisan witch hunts,” and “weaponizing the Justice Department” and, yes, there will be calls to impeach Merrick Garland.

It’s all BS. The committee was constituted correctly at the beginning of this saga right after the insurrection. It has collected damning testimony — most of it coming from Trump loyalists within the administration!

I believe there is sufficient evidence to indict the ex-POTUS on any number of charges. But … first things first. The House committee needs to make history for the rest of it to proceed. I also believe we should prepare for a monumental moment.


Now … comes the 1/6 report

Americans with an interest in how the government came under attack on Jan. 6, 2021, and how we might prevent a recurrence of such a travesty have some riveting TV viewing ahead of them.

The House 1/6 select committee is going to meet one final time Monday in front of you and me. It will discuss what it has discovered after interviewing more than 1,000 witnesses and reviewed more than a million documents.

The committee then will take arguably the most monumental congressional votes in U.S. history. It will vote on whether to refer criminal charges against the former president of the United States who, in 1/6, incited the insurrection that tore through the Capitol Building with the aim of overturning a free and fair presidential election.

To be abundantly clear, Congress only can refer criminal charges to the Department of Justice. DOJ must decide whether to indict whoever the congressional committee refers in its report.

And … yes. Donald J. Trump’s name needs to be among those referred for criminal prosecution.

To suggest that the1/6 committee has been anything but meticulous, patient, diligent and courageous in its pursuit of the truth about 1/6 is to be guilty of the most partisan cynicism imaginable.

On the receiving end of those referrals, of course, is Attorney General Merrick Garland, who has insisted repeatedly that “no one is above the law.” By “no one,” he means precisely what we must infer, which is that Donald Trump is vulnerable to a criminal indictment … or two … or three.

Having watched many hours of previous testimony and commentary from committee members, I have no doubt — none, zero! — that Donald Trump committed multiple crimes before, during and after the assault on the Capitol Building.

What remains to be determined if whether the AG is going — after poring through the committee’s findings — to make history by doing something to previous attorney general has done. Will he indict Donald J. Trump?

I believe that moment is coming.

Meanwhile, I am going to listen with the most intense interest possible at committee members’ message as this drama draws to its long-awaited conclusion.


Now comes the 1/6 panel

Donald J. Trump’s business organization is guilty of tax fraud. That appears to be the prelim to the main event, which is ready for the bell-ringing any day now.

The House select 1/6 committee examining the insurrection and Trump’s role in inciting it is set to make its findings known to the public. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson has spilled the beans, telling us that there will be “criminal referrals” contained in the report.

Hmm. Let’s see. Who might the committee “refer” for indictment? My hunch is that it will include Trump his own self.

Let us be clear. The committee cannot indict anyone. It must hand that duty over to the Justice Department, or the agent DOJ has chosen to represent it. That means the special counsel Jack Smith is likely to get the referral, given that Attorney General Merrick Garland has recused himself from any direct investigation into the insurrection or the document theft from the White House.

The only curiosity left to satisfy is learning whether fire-breathing Republican committee member Liz Cheney got her way in singling out Trump’s role. There reportedly has been something of a rift between Cheney and other panel members over how to focus its final report; others reportedly wanted to shy away from Trump’s role in the insurrection and focus instead on the systemic failures that led to it.

Whatever …

If the committee is going to make a criminal referral, it ought to go all the way to the top of the food chain. That would mean Donald John Trump.

I believe it has collected more than enough evidence to take this remarkable step toward seeking full accountability for that terrible day in our nation’s history.

Let ‘er rip, committee members.


Why target FBI?

Republicans are preparing to wage war on several fronts against the government they proclaim they want to protect

They have several targets in their sights but for the moment I want to focus on just one of them: the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The FBI used to be considered a sacred cow in GOP political circles. They dared not criticize the elite federal law enforcement agency for fear of being labeled “soft on crime,” or being a squishy liberal.

No more, man.

The FBI is now Public Enemy No. 1 among many Republicans for doing its job legally and by the book. What did the FBI do to incur the GOP wrath?

It acted on orders from the Department of Justice, the attorney general and entered the home of a former president to look for evidence of a possible (or probable) crime. The ex-POTUS took several boxes full of classified documents with him from the White House to his glitzy estate in Florida. AG Merrick Garland sought a federal judge’s permission — also by the book — to search the ex-POTUS’s estate for evidence. The judge granted it and so he sent the agents to the house to conduct the search.

That’s a no-no, according to the GOP stalwarts who defend the ex-POTUS to the hilt. How dare the feds do their job?

They are gunning for the attorney general and — get a load of this! — for the FBI director, Christopher Wray, who was appointed to his post by Donald Trump, the aforementioned ex-POTUS.

Let’s understand a couple of key points.

One is that the attorney general did nothing out of the ordinary. He ran all the necessary traps before authorizing the search at Trump’s estate. He acted within the law. Accordingly, AG Garland has declared that “no one is above the law,” and by “no one,” he means not a single American citizen … and that includes former presidents of the United States.

The FBI has not been “weaponized.” The AG has utilized the law enforcement agency totally within its scope of authority and for Republicans to declare their intention to “defund the FBI” makes a mockery of their criticism of progressives who said the same thing about local police agencies.

The world has been turned upside-down. We need to regain our balance.


Special counsel looking better

Merrick Garland’s decision to appoint a special counsel to lead the investigation into the 1/6 insurrection and the pilfering of classified documents by the former POTUS is looking better all the time.

The counsel is John L. “Jack” Smith, a career prosecutor, a registered independent and a no-nonsense public servant. The attorney general saw a potential conflict of interest in prosecuting Donald J. Trump while the former president campaigns for the office. The conflict would arrive if Trump gets nominated by Republicans and runs against Joe Biden, the president who selected Garland to run the Justice Department.

So he’s backing away from active participation. Why is that such a bad thing?

I see few downsides to it. Smith will get to work immediately and will guide the prosecutorial team already assembled to its conclusion in both of these cases.

My hunch follows the lead already expressed, which is that Smith will get to the end of it all in fairly short order. Then we’ll get a decision on whether Donald Trump is indicted for the crimes I believe he committed.


Special counsel: yes or no?

Attorney General Merrick Garland no doubt saw this moment coming a while ago, yet he waited until today to announce that he is appointing a special counsel to examine two key aspects of the criminality demonstrated by Donald J. Trump.

The special counsel is a young man named Jack Smith, a career prosecutor and someone known to be a no-nonsense battler for the truth.

What did the AG see happening? It was the prospect that Trump would declare his candidacy for president in 2024. He likely figured the twice-impeached, disgraced and utterly unfit Trump would make another go at the office of POTUS.

OK, I am going to endorse Merrick Garland’s decision to step away formally from the probes into the 1/6 insurrection and the Mar-a-Lago document theft.

Look at it this way. Garland and the Department of Justice have done a lot of the spade work already. They have uncovered mountains of evidence that Trump incited the attack on the Capitol on 1/6 and — more specifically — that he has obstructed justice in the recovery of documents Trump took with him to his estate when he left the White House … hopefully for the final time, ever!

I know what some of you might be thinking. We’ve been down this “special counsel road” already. Robert Mueller took the job to probe whether there was collusion between Trump and them Russians. He didn’t indict anyone.

But wait. That was then. The here and now has revealed another set of evidence on another set of crimes. The new special counsel has before him a mountain of evidence through which he can pore.

Do I want any more delay in this search for accountability? Of course not! Nor do I necessarily believe there will be a delay. AG Garland has promised that the counsel will move expeditiously. Let’s hope he hits the ground at a full gallop.

The bottom line, though, is that Merrick Garland envisioned a potential conflict of interest were he to remain in charge of these two probes. It remains a possibility — although I consider it a remote one — that Trump might end up running for president against the man who selected Garland to lead DOJ.

Accordingly, I believe Garland’s decision was the correct one.

Now, it becomes imperative for the special counsel to get busy … as in right now!