Merrick Garland Points Out that Misdemeanors Are Easy

Merrick Garland’s address was, best as I can tell, a useful attempt to stave off the whingers. Some subset of those people have stated that Garland (who provided few details!) had reassured them.

A key point of his speech amounted to addressing the complaint that DOJ is only charging misdemeanants. 145 people, Garland noted, pled early, which is what the news is covering in their reports on the investigation.

In charging the perpetrators, we have followed well-worn prosecutorial practices.

Those who assaulted officers or damaged the Capitol face greater charges.

Those who conspired with others to obstruct the vote count also face greater charges.

Those who did not undertake such conduct have been charged with lesser offenses — particularly if they accepted their responsibility early and cooperated with the investigation.

In the first months of the investigation, approximately 145 defendants pled guilty to misdemeanors, mostly defendants who did not cause injury or damage. Such pleas reflect the facts of those cases and the defendants’ acceptance of responsibility. And they help conserve both judicial and prosecutorial resources, so that attention can properly focus on the more serious perpetrators.

In complex cases, initial charges are often less severe than later charged offenses. This is purposeful, as investigators methodically collect and sift through more evidence.

By now, though, we have charged over 325 defendants with felonies, many for assaulting officers and many for corruptly obstructing or attempting to obstruct an official proceeding. Twenty defendants charged with felonies have already pled guilty.

Approximately 40 defendants have been charged with conspiracy to obstruct a congressional proceeding and/or to obstruct law enforcement. In the months ahead, 17 defendants are already scheduled to go to trial for their role in felony conspiracies.

A necessary consequence of the prosecutorial approach of charging less serious offenses first is that courts impose shorter sentences before they impose longer ones.

In recent weeks, however, as judges have sentenced the first defendants convicted of assaults and related violent conduct against officers, we have seen significant sentences that reflect the seriousness of those offenses — both in terms of the injuries they caused and the serious risk they posed to our democratic institutions.

The actions we have taken thus far will not be our last.

The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy. We will follow the facts wherever they lead.

Because January 6th was an unprecedented attack on the seat of our democracy, we understand that there is broad public interest in our investigation. We understand that there are questions about how long the investigation will take, and about what exactly we are doing.

Garland also gave the (appropriate) excuse DOJ has been giving for months: that they can’t provide details of an ongoing investigation.

Our answer is, and will continue to be, the same answer we would give with respect to any ongoing investigation: as long as it takes and whatever it takes for justice to be done — consistent with the facts and the law.

I understand that this may not be the answer some are looking for. But we will and we must speak through our work. Anything else jeopardizes the viability of our investigations and the civil liberties of our citizens.

But the important message was, effectively, to tell people to stop complaining about misdemeanor arrests because those lay a “foundation” for later arrests.

We build investigations by laying a foundation. We resolve more straightforward cases first because they provide the evidentiary foundation for more complex cases.

Investigating the more overt crimes generates linkages to less overt ones. Overt actors and the evidence they provide can lead us to others who may also have been involved. And that evidence can serve as the foundation for further investigative leads and techniques.

In circumstances like those of January 6th, a full accounting does not suddenly materialize. To ensure that all those criminally responsible are held accountable, we must collect the evidence.

We follow the physical evidence. We follow the digital evidence. We follow the money.

But most important, we follow the facts — not an agenda or an assumption. The facts tell us where to go next.

It was about this time when other journalists covering Jan 6 started teasing me about scripting Garland.

As I have noted, repeatedly, the misdemeanor charges are not the end, but instead are an investigative step in the large investigation. Everyone who entered the Capitol that day committed a crime, which makes it easy to use them as steps in a larger investigation. Here’s an explanation of the way misdemeanants are providing evidence in the larger investigation.

MISDEMEANANTS

The most common complaint about the January 6 investigation — from both those following from afar and the judges facing an unprecedented flood of trespassing defendants in their already crowded court rooms — the sheer number of trespassing defendants.

It is true that, in the days after the riot, DOJ arrested the people who most obviously mugged for the cameras.

But in the last six months or so, it seems that DOJ has been more selective about which of the 2,000 – 2,500 people who entered the Capitol they choose to arrest, based off investigative necessities. After all, in addition to being defendants, these “MAGA Tourists” are also witnesses to more serious crimes. Now that DOJ has set up a steady flow of plea deals for misdemeanors, people are pleading guilty more quickly. With just a few exceptions, the vast majority of those charged or who have pled down to trespassing charges have agreed to a cooperation component (entailing an FBI interview and sharing social media content) as part of their plea deal. And DOJ seems to be arresting the trespassers who, for whatever reason, may be useful “cooperating” witnesses for the larger investigation. I started collecting some of what misdemeanant’ cooperation will yield, but it includes:

Video or photographic evidence

Hard as it may be to understand, there were parts of the riot that were not, for a variety of reasons, well captured by government surveillance footage. And a significant number of misdemeanor defendants seem to be arrested because they can be seen filming with their phones on what surveillance footage does exist, and are known to have traveled to places where such surveillance footage appears to be unavailable or less useful. The government has or seems to be using evidence from other defendants to understand what happened:

  • Under the scaffolding set up for the inauguration
  • At the scene of Ashli Babbitt’s killing (though this appears to be as much to get audio capturing certain defendants as video)
  • In the offices of the Parliamentarian, Jeff Merkley, and Nancy Pelosi
  • As Kelly Meggs and other Oath Keepers walked down a hallway hunting for Nancy Pelosi
  • Some of what happened in the Senate, perhaps after Leo Bozell and others rendered the CSPAN cameras ineffective

In other words, these misdemeanor arrests are necessary building blocks for more serious cases, because they are in possession of evidence against others.

Witness testimony

TV lawyers seem certain that Trump could be charged with incitement, without considering that to charge that, DOJ would first have to collect evidence that people responded to his words by invading the Capitol or even engaging in violence.

That’s some of what misdemeanor defendants would be available to testify to given their social media claims and statements of offense. For example, trespasser defendants have described:

  • What went on at events on January 5
  • The multiple signs that they were not permitted to enter whatever entrance they did enter, including police lines, broken windows and doors, loud alarms, and tear gas
  • Directions that people in tactical gear were giving
  • Their response to Rudy Giuliani and Mo Brooks’ calls for violence
  • Their response to Trump’s complaint that Mike Pence had let him down
  • The actions they took (including breaching the Capitol) after Alex Jones promised they’d get to hear Trump again if they moved to the East front of the Capitol

Securing the testimony of those purportedly incited by Trump or Rudy or Mo Brooks or Alex Jones is a necessary step in holding them accountable for incitement.

Network information

Some misdemeanor defendants are being arrested because their buddies already were arrested (and sometimes these pleas are “wired,” requiring everyone to plead guilty together). Other misdemeanor defendants are part of an interesting network (including the militias). By arresting them (and often obtaining and exploiting their devices), the government is able to learn more about those with more criminal exposure on January 6.

Misdemeanor plea deals

In its sentencing memo for Jacob Hiles, the guy who otherwise would probably be fighting an obstruction charged if he hadn’t helped prosecute Capitol Police Officer Michael Riley, the government stated that, “no previously sentenced defendant has provided assistance of the degree provided by the defendant in this case.” The comment strongly suggests there are other misdemeanor defendants who have provided such assistance, but they haven’t been sentenced yet.

This category is harder to track, because, unless and until such cooperation-driven misdemeanor pleas are publicly discussed in future sentencing memos, we may never learn of them. But there are people — Baked Alaska is one, but by no means the only one, of them — who suggested he might be able to avoid obstruction charges by cooperating with prosecutors (there’s no sign, yet, that he has cooperated). We should assume that some of the defendants who’ve been deferring charges for months on end, only to end up with a misdemeanor plea, cooperated along the way to get that charge. That is, some of the misdemeanor pleas that everyone is complaining about likely reflect significant, completed cooperation with prosecutors, the kind of cooperation without which this prosecution will never move beyond the crime scene.

A key thrust of Garland’s speech served, however obliquely, to confirm this.

Every single person who entered the Capitol that day committed a crime. Every single one of them was subject — if there was enough investigative interest — to arrest them.

Those misdemeanor arrests are one step in a process. It’s a process that won’t move quickly enough for anyone’s taste. But it hypothetically could lead to more powerful people being held responsible.

The key takeaway from Garland’s speech is, in my opinion, is that misdemeanor arrests are serving the larger investigation.

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61 replies
  1. obsessed says:

    Whinge-shamers might refer to history: the pardon of Nixon, the failure to hold the top people accountable in Iran Contra, Plamegate, Bridgegate, Mueller-gate, Ukraine-gate, etc. You can’t name a single major scandal where the top perps didn’t skate. It’s silly to even debate whether our system is grotesquely tilted in favor of rich, powerful white crooks. It just is. I’d love for Jan 6 to be the one that’s different–it’s certainly the worst of any of the major scandals by far. It doesn’t get much worse than trying to destroy democracy and replace it with authoritarian rule. But the fact that 99% of the commentariat is whinging at the top of their lungs is not reassuring. That said, I click on this site first thing every morning and I’ll continue to do so. It’s somewhat comforting to know that these monsters at least *should* be held accountable, and why.

    • xy xy says:

      “It doesn’t get much worse than trying to destroy democracy”
      Sorry, there’s no democracy when a millionaire…
      Republican Carla Sands is putting $3 million into her Pa. Senate bid
      Carla Sands’ team says her personal contribution and $1 million ad buy in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race signals her intention to vault herself into the top tier of the GOP primary
      by Jonathan Tamari
      Updated Oct 7, 2021
      In a sign of how much financial muscle she’s willing to flex, Republican Carla Sands has put $3 million of her own money into her U.S. Senate campaign, and is spending $1 million on a television ad introducing herself to Pennsylvania voters.
      Sands’ investment comes after months of insider intrigue over how much of her substantial personal wealth she was willing to spend in her first campaign for elected office. Sands is a former Trump administration economic adviser and ambassador to Denmark….
      Her campaign fund is now likely to be among the largest in the Republican field. But her own money will account for the vast majority of the $3.5 million she has raised since July, prompting questions about her ability to persuade donors to lend their support. Recent races suggest winning a Senate seat could cost tens of millions of dollars. Sands had $3 million in her campaign fund as of Sept. 30, the most recent reporting cut off, according to her campaign….
      https://www.inquirer.com/news/carla-sands-funding-pa-senate-campaign-2022-20211007.html

    • Peterr says:

      Nixon may have been pardoned, but the list of others who spent time in prison is rather long. For example . . .

      White House Counsel John Dean – sentenced to 1-4 years; served 4 months in exchange for his cooperation
      WH Chief of Staff HR Haldemann – served 18 months
      Domestic Policy Advisor John Ehrlichman – served 18 months
      Attorney General (and later Chair of CREEP) John Mitchell – served 19 months
      Deputy Assistant to the President Dwight Chapin – served nine months
      Special Counsel to the President Charles Colson – served seven months
      Deputy Director of Communications (and then Chair of CREEP/Deputy Chair of CREEP) Jeb Stuart Magruder – served seven months
      Unofficial WH staffer and official Watergate Bagman Fred LaRue – served 4.5 months
      Personal attorney for Nixon Herb Kalmbach – served 6.5 months
      CREEP staffer Donald Segretti – served 4.5 months
      Secretary of Commerce and then Financial Chair of CREEP Maurice Stans – $5000 fine for various financial crimes
      CIA officer, USAF Lt Col (ret), and leader of the Watergate burglars James McCord – served four months in exchange for his cooperation
      Intelligence officer E. Howard Hunt – served 33 months
      Former FBI Agent and all around not-so-nice guy G. Gordon Liddy – served 55 months

      And that’s only the big names . . .

      • timbo says:

        Yep. Watergate had serious consequences for a lot of Nixon’s inner-circle. And Nixon is the only US President to resign in disgrace as well. The problem with nowadays though is that the GOP leadership doesn’t really have any sense of propriety left—it’s an amoral freak show basically when it comes to GOP leadership.

        • Theodora30 says:

          At the time I though Ford was right to pardon Nixon to end that excruciating ordeal but I have changed my mind. Nixon committed numerous criminal acts and him going to jail would have been the most powerful evidence that no one in this country is above the law. I think had he gone to prison people would be much more ready to see that happen to Trump too.

          • timbo says:

            I thought it was a mistake at the time. It turns out that it was an agreement that Ford made to become President. Ugh.

            • graham firchlis says:

              The agreement to pardon was made to expedite Nixon’s departure. He was drunk and delusional, roaming the halls talking to ghosts and plotting revenge.

              Thinking was the gang rung up and Nixon disgraced would be sufficient to prevent a recurrence. That was wrong. Nixon was just the beginning.

              If at all possible, that mistake should not be made with Trump. I hold with those who favor sedition, but tax fraud is nice and will suffice.

              • bmaz says:

                Such an affirmative quid pro quo is not how Barry Goldwater or John Rhodes described it. And, as you may or may not know, they were two of the three, along with Hugh Scott, that convinced Nixon to leave. In fact, Nixon was originally resistant to a pardon. You are blowing bunk. All Goldwater and Rhodes ever said was that they did not disapprove of Ford’s call, and thought it was good to end it

          • wolfess says:

            I agree — the biggest reason Nixon should have gone to jail is so that future presidents would think twice about breaking the law; unfortunately, former presidunce Trump doesn’t possess the IQ to engage in that kind of thought … I wonder if that’s the reason so many are willing to let him slide.

  2. Badger Robert says:

    The original Justice Department was headed by a former Confederate, Amos Ackerman. As Mr. Garland noted, one of the first goals was to break up the KKK in South Carolina, They succeeded, though the courts were overwhelmed with the arrests and trials.

  3. matt fischer says:

    Yet some who presumably know better simply refuse to get it. Predictably, and right on cue, is Tribe’s tired rant:

    The clock is ticking. A stately pace, investigating only from the bottom up, just isn’t enough for so grave a threat to democracy’s very survival

    • Peterr says:

      Remind me: how many criminal cases has Tribe investigated and prosecuted?

      Oh yeah: zero.

      He served some high-powered clerkships, then joined the Harvard faculty and has taught constitutional law for many years. He’s represented various clients in civil cases, and argued before various appellate courts and SCOTUS. But he has never drawn a day’s worth of pay from the Department of Justice as an attorney at any level, never drafted a request for a criminal subpoena, never sought to get an indictment from a grand jury, and never had to decide if there was sufficient evidence to warrant filing criminal charges.

      If I’m interested in hearing about the practice of appellate law, I’ll listen to what Tribe has to say. But when I’m looking to understand how the DOJ conducts its investigations . . . let’s just say he’s well down on the list of folks I’d go to.

      • JohnJ says:

        Tribe is happily calling Garland one of his former students to claim superior expertise all around. As you show, doesn’t always work that way.

      • Leoghann says:

        One would think that Tribe had learned the dangers of an appeal to authority a long time ago. But maybe he slept through class that day.

  4. John Paul Jones says:

    No shade intended for Mr Tribe (who has not impressed when I’ve seen him on TV, often seeming confused or missing or not understanding the questions hurled at him), but my experience of academics has been that the mere possession of a PhD doesn’t absolve the holder from being stupid; rather the reverse in fact, especially where ideological prior commitments have become baked into the personality over decades. Rather than thinkers, such people are believers, and for them, belief will often trump thought.

    • ducktree says:

      When I worked as secretary to the VP of the Office of Faculty and Staff Relations at CSULB, the PhD’s were referred to as “piled higher and deeper.” It applies here as well.

      • John Paul Jones says:

        “some who presumably know better simply refuse to get it.”

        That, I take it, was the issue (rather than “argument”). My comment was intended to address it, by pointing out that academic credentials could be taken as a rough stand-in for “knowing better,” in the sense that you have to be both fairly bright and able to think to be an academic, while also noting my own experience in academia, of academics, that belief often makes thought difficult and challenging, even when one supposedly does it for a living.

        • Bill Crowder says:

          No, that is not the issue. Although framing it that way makes it easier to knock it down.

          The issue is whether the criminal justice system, something I strongly believe in, can move quickly enough to effectively counter the right wing political movement.

          If so, terrific. We are home safe.

          If not, then we need to use other counter measures which are more in the political realm. Which I don’t see happening right now.

          • massappeal says:

            Yep, this is not just a legal issue. It’s also, and in some ways more fundamentally, a political issue.

            And just like Watergate, it’s going to require living, breathing, savvy politicians (along with the prosecutors and judges and juries and reporters and citizens) to “effectively counter the right wing political movement”.

            The most hopeful sign on that front has come in recent weeks as Bennie Thompson and his committee (including his vice-chair) show signs of demonstrating that they are those politicians (or at least, some of them).

      • RMD says:

        as an in-kind riff on the question of academic training….Stephen Marche has a compelling piece up at Atlantic wondering how it is that so many Ivy League educated persons are down with Trump, the insurrection, calling fraud on the election, in a stunning array of moral and intellectual duplicity.

        “How Ivy League Elites Turned Against Democracy”
        Some of the best-educated people in the country have overseen the destruction of their institution” The Atlantic

        • Frank Anon says:

          These Ivy types in the Trump orbit seek power. Some core Ivy’s (none of those losers from Brown, Cornell, Columbia or Dartmouth) may be mendacious and find their way to power through their own psychodramatic effect (Hawley, Cruz, Cotton), others initially thought they would achieve maximum power because they knew Donald Trump was an uninformed dolt surrounded by intellectually deficient people, and their intellectual super-genius would rise among the dumb Trumpies to achieve control. When that didn’t work as planned, some fell away, but others realized the simplicity in co-opting the words and mannerisms of the MAGAs as a path to power for their intellectual super-genius. Now they apply their brilliance to creating some kind of philosophical underpinning to Trumpism as a way of seeking and securing power for, I suppose, power’s sake. I have always assumed they know better because, well, they are well educated. But maybe not

    • Zirc says:

      I find it interesting that someone would come on to Marcy Wheeler’s site and pretty much slam PhDs across the board. The degree should, if anything else, teach us how to research, how to summarize, how to synthesize different arguments, how to recognize and address opposing arguments, and, if the research leads us that way, change our own arguments.

      I suppose some do become stereotypes, reading from dusty, yellowed notes, but most are engaged and open-minded.

      Zirc, PhD

      • J R in WV says:

        As a senior member of a software development team, I probably hired at least 100 software developers as both contractors and employees. Most of them were bright, well organized, thinkers, with a ton of education in the field. The one person we hired on my watch with a doctorate was slow to grasp new techniques, was quick to anger and strike out at people verbally with threats, and didn’t produce clean components to include in the major systems we were developing and implementing.

        When he got a chance to be a senior manager (“Well, I do have a doctorate, you know!”) of software development, he didn’t form a team to make decisions, he did everything by himself, and poorly. All my hires were done with a small team of three people, and we always reached a consensus on who to hire after completing interviews and a long decision making process. Of course, I did help hire Mr. Dr. so all my fault.

        And of course, I met and worked with many really brilliant people with advanced degrees, and am now posting a comment on another brilliant PhD person’s V important web site, so don’t pretend I’m putting all advanced degrees. Heck, I went to grad school, until I got a job… met great people there, too!

        • John Paul Jones says:

          My intent was not to “slam” PhDs; and I too have been on hiring committees evaluating same, and (collaboratively) hiring same. My point was that thinking is hard, and that beliefs, especially when they have become entrenched, can easily get in the way, and lead bright, motivated people to use their critical thinking skills merely to support their beliefs; which it seems to me isn’t really thinking at all. Tribe looked to me like a good example of the tendency, based on what I’ve seen of his media appearances and read of his various contributions. I don’t consider that “pissing in the punchbowl,” but rather a reasonable observation about academics I have known – and worked with – pretty much all my life. Yes they’re bright; but they’re also, as a group, incredibly obdurate because they invest so much of themselves in being visibly bright.

  5. Badger Robert says:

    AG Garland spent a good deal of time on another subject. He spoke extensively about the cult of aggression, the threats and real violence that are coarsening life in the US. He mentioned that the biggest threat to 1st Amendment rights is violence directed at those who are exercising their rights.

  6. graham firchlis says:

    AG Garland did a solid job of it, couldn’t have been more direct. Many well-clothed knees should be knocking.

    Those wanting more red meat will be pleased with President Biden tomorrow. Sense is that the recent J6 Committee releases have given him the cover to go after Trump. Looking forward to it.

    • xy xy says:

      You’re right about “Those wanting more red meat will be pleased with President Biden tomorrow” are getting it alright.
      ‘We want schools to be open,’ White House says as Chicago cancels classes

      • graham firchlis says:

        Out of that entire speech this is what trips your comment switch?

        Study after study shows that students are falling behind with remote learning, and that an overwhelming majority of parents want kids back in school.

        “We” is us.

        The CPS vs CTU fracas is a continuation of a decades long power struggle. CPS has done a great job of improving classroom environment. CTU wants additional testing regs, not unreasonable. They’ll work it out.

        • xy xy says:

          I’m sure “an overwhelming majority of parents want kids back in [safe] school[s].”
          With daily record shattering new cases, I’m sure the teachers who are in the classrooms know better than the admin in the WH.
          Students are definitely failing with remote learning.
          The answer was and may be soon again, shut the country down for a month or two.

          • graham firchlis says:

            Not sure where you live, but here in the USofA the Federal government doesn’t have the authority to regulate school policy, much less “shut the country down.” If you don’t understand something this basic, you should take a civics class and earn at least a C before embarrassing yourself in public again.

            If a shutdown is what you want, take it up with your local and state governments. Be the change you want to see, instead of castigating the President of the United States for voicing the majority view of the people of the United States.

            Oh and, the Chicago school contremps will sort out on the basis of political power, not science, because political power is the nexus of the conflict, and the kids will soon be back in school as Chicago private school children have been all along and, according to science, safer and better educated than at home.

            • Rayne says:

              Firchlis, you may be correct about school policy regulated by state and local government, but you’re full of shit about the Chicago school system being safer.

              When 28% of teachers report positive COVID tests days before school reopens, the schools should have gone remote until tests were below 5%. And school being the single biggest source of exposure reinforces the need to break transmission.

              source: https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19/data/contact-tracing/potential-exposure-location.html?regionID=0

              Goddamned hard to get an education when there aren’t enough teachers and kids are sick. Science also doesn’t yet have a grasp on the long-term effects on children from COVID infections, though it appears COVID is a rolling mass disabling event.

            • bmaz says:

              Thanks for yet another bogus primer. Of course the federal government can influence school policy through the power of the purse for grants. You are perpetually posting garbage takes; what is your agenda? Also, Rayne was right to blow your bunk on Chicago straight into the weeds.

  7. Badger Robert says:

    He repeated in several different ways: an election is not a war. Citizens are not allowed to try to influence the results during the election by violence or escape the consequences of the election by employing violence. He did not say so, but the principal was tested once at tremendous cost to the US.

  8. cmarlowe says:

    It seemed to me that Garland’s remarks did not exclude the “broader plot” as some talking heads tonight are implying. FWIW, I went to the same high school at the same time as Garland, though I don’t think I ever spoke to him. Probably because he was in the “extremely smart kids” clique.

  9. Doctor My Eyes says:

    My apologies that the following thoughts are not fully congealed. The intentional or unintentional misreadings and misrepresentations of the press around this criminal case feel oh so familiar in terms of how concerns of the left are pooh-poohed, sneered at, depicted as naive or excessively idealistic. In this case, the game seems to be to feed the image of Democrats as effete, ineffective, anemic liberals. There seems to be a rule in US politics that the left must never, ever feel they have achieved victory and the right must never, ever have to eat crow. Who knows what powers that be–media owners, Russian bots, wealthy rightwing influencers–hope to achieve by misrepresenting these things, and who knows how much of this is mere anti-left momentum or honest laziness. But the effects are real: Biden seen as weak, Biden seeming not to deliver for his base, a general expectation that the crime of attacking the seat of government to stop an official proceeding will never be prosecuted. Fascists feel emboldened, the general talk “around the water cooler” does not contain confident expressions among the sensible that these traitors are in trouble and it’s satisfying to watch the wall close in. No, the left must never enjoy such widespread agreement with their viewpoints, must never be emboldened to feel that their views are mainstream. Anyway, sorry for the vagueness: the upshot is that it’s deeply disturbing to see this pattern continue so strongly even when the issue is fundamental to democracy and constitutional government, when the assault is against the values of true patriots of every persuasion.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      Here’s what is eating at me: the constant barrage leaving an impression that Trump et al are not even being investigated, and thus not creating a general expectation that investigations are closing in, will render any eventual arrest all the more shocking and seemingly out of the norm, out of the blue, out of left field. This vey much increases the chances of violent reaction to arrests of the top thugs, and of such violence being more tolerable to less involved citizens. Slanted and bad reporting is a killing our country.

    • RMD says:

      Charlie Pierce [Esquire] noted yesterday that the plutocracy is down with fascism.

      “American Plutocracy Would Adapt Swiftly and Smoothly to American Authoritarianism”

      One major corporation after another supports those who support the insurrection, who promote lies about a fraudulent election…. and surmises that they would have no qualm if democratic institutions were upended….as long as the gravy train of contracts, tax privileges and access to power are unaffected.

    • Stephen Calhoun says:

      At the same time as the Democrats are to be portrayed as effete and ineffective, they are to be portrayed—at the same time—to be all powerful masterminds and scary victimizers. imo

  10. OldTulsaDude says:

    Although I disagree with Tribe about the DOJ taking immediate action of some sort, I recognize the concern for action as the coup is ongoing.

    • matt fischer says:

      May we all recognize that concern, but Tribe is pushing unreasonable expectations of the DOJ while framing the DOJ as the fulcrum of the survival of the Republic.

    • Vinnie Gambone says:

      Perservance is more prevailing than violence; and many things that can not be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.

      PLUTARCH

    • earthworm says:

      i have read about Pape’s research elsewhere. Something seems off, especially claims about college level education and participation in the professions of capitol mob.

  11. GKJames says:

    Standard sensible prosecutor stuff from Garland. Isn’t the open question, though, whether he would in fact indict Trump if he had evidence?

    • Riktol says:

      Garland said he’d follow the law and the facts wherever they lead. In your scenario the law and facts are there, so the conclusion is yes.

  12. Joe Sommer says:

    I’m not one of the whingers, but they have two points:
    1. Trump was trained by Roy Cohn. Garland will not proceed without real evidence, and Cohn was very good at keeping evidence from happening.
    2. Until late in the investigation, there is no way to distinguish between what Garland says he is doing, and a cynical attempt to “round up the usual suspects.” The DoJ is quite properly disclosing nothing that it doesn’t have to disclose. Absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence, but not overwhelmingly so. I trust Garland, but I’m also aware of DoJ’s reluctance to go after the powerful. (See Eisinger’s “The Chickenshit Club.”)

  13. Tom says:

    So if Donald Trump is to be held accountable for the January 6th Insurrection, it will be through the combined fishing trawler & seine net investigations of the DOJ/January 6th Committee rather than a lone Special Counsel in a whaleboat with a harpoon.

  14. Simon says:

    Hurray for the wheels of Justice grinding away, my worry is that by the time they’ve finished their won’t be a country left or it will have descended into such a terrible state that none of it will matter – this is obviously a plausible scenario in these times.

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