THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SHOULD INDICT FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP
US RENEW NEWS OP-ED | By: Ron Israel | June 28, 2022
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The January 6th Committee, through its publicly televised hearings has revealed that it has enough evidence to indict former President Donald Trump. The indictment would be focused on Trump’s illegal efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential elections.
The evidence would be based on Trump’s efforts to coordinate a slate of fake electors from states that President Biden legitimately won; his efforts to encourage the mob that stormed the US Capitol on January 6th hoping to prevent Vice-President Pence from certifying the election’s legitimate outcome; his publicly visible attempt to get the Secretary of State in Georgia to find him enough votes to overturn Biden’s election in that state; and his effort to get the Justice Department to declare that the 2020 election results were fraudulent.
There would be a great deal of risk involved if the Justice Department prosecuted Trump. They would need to have an iron -lad case to prove Trump’s intent to overturn the election, and they would need to convince a grand jury to unanimously agree that the evidence merited conviction. It would be a case that would drag on for some time; might further inflame existing political divisions, and might take place against the backdrop of a Republican-controlled Congress.
Some argue that rather than prosecute Trump it would be sufficient to find a way to bar him from taking public office again. There is a clause in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution that could apply. That clause, developed after the civil war, says that officeholders who “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the government are disqualified from future office.” However no one is sure how such a clause would be invoked today. At a minimum it probably would require the approval of both houses of Congress, a far-fetched possibility in this day and age.
So it appears that criminally prosecuting Trump for his leadership in seeking to overturn a legitimate election outcome is the best approach to dealing with the former President’s illegal actions. It is a risky approach but it is a risk worth taking. To do otherwise, to ignore and not prosecute Trump, would be setting a standard that a President is above the law Such a standard would be a slap in the face of American democracy.
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We know that other countries with democratic constitutions have prosecuted presidents who committed crimes and violated laws, such as France, South Africa, Colombia, Peru, and Honduras; so there is precedent from countries around the world for the United States to take such action. Failing to do so will put a stain on the character of our nation.