'Garland has done nothing': Journalist blasts the attorney general for ignoring 'evidence' of Trump's crimes

'Garland has done nothing': Journalist blasts the attorney general for ignoring 'evidence' of Trump's crimes
President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks at the National Christmas Tree Lighting 2019 ceremony Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

When U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland gave a speech the day before the one-year anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building, the centrist Democrat vowed that “all January 6 perpetrators, at any level” will be held “accountable under law.” So far, more than 700 people have been arrested on federal charges — some on felony charges, others on misdemeanor charges — in connection with that attack. But journalist Ryan Cooper, in a biting op-ed published by The Week, argues that the worst insurrectionists of all have avoided prosecution.

There were two different types of pro-Donald Trump insurrectionists on January 6, 2021: rioters who physically attacked the U.S. Capitol Building that day, and MAGA Republicans who didn’t actually riot or commit any acts of physical violence but did everything they could to whip those rioters into a frenzy and prevent the democratically elected Joe Biden from being certified as president. Cooper, in his op-ed, is doubtful that the latter type of insurrectionist will face legal consequences.

As Cooper sees it, only those who did the physical dirty work during the Capitol insurrection are being arrested and prosecuted — while prominent Republicans who put them up to it are not.

“Trump whipped up his putsch in public, right in front of live television cameras,” Cooper writes. “The evidence necessary to bring charges has been visible for an entire year, yet Garland has done nothing. Most observers expect neither Trump nor any of his closest aides will face prosecution, because impunity is the rule for elites in this country. And if that expectation is correct, he or someone like him will try to seize power again, by fraud or force — and sooner or later will succeed.”

READ: The completely shocking things Trump and his followers now believe

Historically, Cooper adds, insurrectionists who escaped severe punishment felt empowered to try again.

“When a group of army officers attempted to overthrow the French Republic in 1961,” Cooper notes, “they were arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned — though some later had their sentences commuted…. States punish insurrectionists both as a signal that sedition won't be tolerated and to take specific dangerous figures out of play. Historical exceptions to this practice only further the point: When Adolf Hitler attempted a putsch in 1923, for instance, he got off with a slap on the wrist thanks to a sympathetic right-wing judge. A decade later, he was chancellor.”

Cooper continues, “It’s not hard to imagine what a normal country would do in response to something like January 6. The putschists who stormed the Capitol would be prosecuted, of course, but the principal organizers would get the primary attention of law enforcement. We don’t need medieval barbarities to deter sedition — enforcing existing laws would be just fine.”

Cooper laments that while “low-level chumps, lunatics” are being prosecuted by the DOJ, “Trump and other organizers are getting off scot-free.”

READ: How Democrats may have blown their chance to seriously dominate US politics after the Jan. 6 insurrection

If justice were prevailing, Cooper writes, “Trump, his lawyer John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, the cadre of members of Congress who helped the plot along, and everyone else who gave speeches whipping up the crowd beforehand — every one of these would be charged with insurrection and seditious conspiracy under 18 U.S. Code § 2383-84. The cases would be open-and-shut. Every other Republican who voted to overturn the election would be kicked out of Congress and permanently banned from holding any federal office under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

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