How much more evidence does Merrick Garland need to indict Trump?
The judge zeroed in on one particular provision of the federal criminal code – 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) – which, as he explained, “criminalizes obstruction or attempted obstruction of an official proceeding. It requires three elements: (1) the person obstructed, influenced or impeded, or attempted to obstruct, influence or impede (2) an official proceeding of the United States, and (3) did so corruptly.” He thus concluded:
“Because President Trump likely knew that the plan to disrupt the electoral count was wrongful, his mindset exceeds the threshold for acting ‘corruptly.’…After filing and losing more than 60 suits (in court), this plan was a last-ditch attempt to secure the Presidency by any means.”
The potential hitch in all this evidence is that to prove Trump’s criminality to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, prosecutors need to successfully argue that Trump knew in his mind that his coup conspiracy was wrong. Hence the potential problem: This mope doesn’t have a moral compass. He tends to believe that whatever he wants or says at any given moment is right and true.
For instance, one possible explanation for the seven-hour gap in the White House phone logs is that Trump communicated with fellow conspirators by using burner phones. In a statement, he denied doing that because, he insisted, “I have no idea what a burner phone is, to the best of my knowledge I have never even heard the term.”
I’m sure he believes that lie in his mind. The problem is, he used the term “burner phones” at least three times in his recent lawsuit against niece Mary Trump. And former national security adviser John Bolton told CBS News, “Wait a minute, Trump knows burner phones.”
The Jan. 6 Committee members have been calling on the Justice Department “to do its job,” but alas it’s possible that Garland is hesitating to indict Trump precisely because it’s so hard to prove that someone so amoral has any consciousness of wrongdoing. Heck, just this week Trump asked his 2016 campaign ally, war criminal Vladimir Putin, to release some dirt on Hunter Biden.
I know, I know. Just like you, I’m rolling my eyes. Again.
Copyright 2022 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at DickPolman.net. Email him at email@example.com
Copyright 2022 Dick Polman, All Rights Reserved. Credit: Cagle.com