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How much more evidence does Merrick Garland need to indict Trump?

Dick Polman on

If or when Merrick Garland bestirs himself to action, he’d do well to ponder the new federal court ruling that drops the hammer on coup conspirator John Eastman.

On Monday, the case for indicting Donald Trump was succinctly framed and arguably wrapped in a bow. And this was without even knowing what Trump may have said to fellow conspirators during seven key hours on Insurrection Day, the 7 hours and 37 minutes that are mysteriously missing from the White House phone logs.

Seriously, folks. What is it gonna take?

First, some quick housekeeping: Eastman, you may recall, is the Better-Call-Saul lawyer who’s been outed for concocting a “legal” memo that was designed to help Trump overturn his election loss. Sort of a fascist instructional sheet for dummies.

Monday’s court ruling, authored by U.S. District Judge David Carter (a former decorated Marine), commanded Eastman to cough up 101 emails – mostly exchanges with Trump – and to share them with the House’s Jan. 6 Committee. That was the narrow issue at hand. But, fortunately, Carter took it upon himself to connect the dots that situate Trump at the center of the blessedly failed coup. Carter’s warning was an implicit plea for Merrick Garland to wake up:

“If Dr. Eastman and President Trump’s plan had worked, it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power, undermining American democracy and the Constitution. If the country does not commit to investigating and pursuing accountability for those responsible, the Court fears January 6 will repeat itself.”

 

It would seem that our accountability sleuths at the Justice Department still need to be enlightened about the evidence that shines with the strength of 100 suns. Whatcha got for us, Judge Carter?

“Dr. Eastman and President Trump launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history…Their campaign was not confined to the ivory tower – it was a coup in search of a legal theory. The plan spurred violent attacks on the seat of our nation’s government, led to the deaths of several law enforcement officers, and deepened public distrust in our political process.”

As Judge Carter reminds us, Eastman insisted in his Jan. 3, 2021 memo that Mike Pence, during his ceremonial task of counting the Electoral College votes, could simply throw out seven Biden states, thus reducing the tally to 232-222; and that Pence could then announce that since no candidate had reached the magic 270, the election would decided by the House, where each state would get one vote – and since the GOP at that time controlled 26 of the 50 state delegations, presto! Trump would win the election.

The problem, of course, was that Pence had no power to toss Electoral College votes, because there’s no such provision in the Constitution. But that mattered not a whit to Trump, who spent days trying to muscle Pence into executing the plan that Eastman had touted as “BOLD.”

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