How Donald Trump indictments are 'the only possible logical conclusion' of new DOJ brief: report

How Donald Trump indictments are 'the only possible logical conclusion' of new DOJ brief: report
image via Creative Commons/Gage Skidmore.

If recent polls are accurate, the 2024 GOP presidential primary is shaping up to be primarily a contest between former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — that is, if DeSantis enters the race. DeSantis has yet to formally announce a presidential run, but his supporters like the fact that he has a Trump-like MAGA agenda minus Trump's legal baggage.

Trump finds himself facing a variety of investigations — some state and some federal, some criminal and some civil. Never before in United States history has a presidential candidate faced so many law enforcement probes at the same time.

One of the federal Trump-related inquiries involves his activities following the 2020 presidential election and events leading up to the January 6, 2021 insurrection. According to reporting from the Daily Beast's Jose Pagliery, a new U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) memo makes a compelling argument for federal indictments of the former president.

READ MORE:How DA Willis could use Georgia's RICO law against Donald Trump

Pagliery, in an article published by the Beast on March 6, reports that legal scholars believe that Trump could be indicted for inciting an insurrection that caused the injuries police officers suffered in Washington, D.C. during the attack on the U.S. Capitol Building.

"At the behest of the District of Columbia's federal appellate court," Pagliery reports, "the DOJ last week submitted a legal memo weighing in on a civil dispute by injured police officers. The Department clarified that Trump's speech, full of vitriol and fury, was not protected by presidential immunity; nor was it protected by his own free speech rights under the 1st Amendment."

The DOJ's memo, according to Pagliery, "went out of its way to say it doesn't necessarily support officer lawsuits against Trump" yet stated that his speech during the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 6, 2021 "was outside the norms of his office."

An attorney, interviewed on condition of anonymity, told the Beast, "If they're saying it's outside the scope of immunity of civil suits and outside the scope of protected speech, there really isn't anything else out there protecting Trump."

READ MORE: New details on Fani Willis' potential indictment of Donald Trump revealed: report

Trump's post-election activities are also the focus of an investigation by Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis. Georgia was one of the swing states that now-President Joe Biden won in 2020, and two conservative GOP officials in that state — Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both reelected in 2022 — maintained that Biden won Georgia fairly and legitimately, despite Trump's claims to the contrary. Willis has been probing Trump's efforts to overturn the election results in her state, and attorney Norm Eisen told the Beast that the DOJ's memo "has profound implications for the Georgia case, and they are ominous for Trump."

According to Eisen, "Indeed, the Georgia conduct may be even more outrageous and unrelated to his official duties or his 1st Amendment rights than giving a speech on the Ellipse. This brief is going to be utilized by the Fulton County prosecutor because it is so powerfully indicative of the only possible logical conclusion here: that an attempted coup cannot be part of the job description of a president under the United States Constitution."

In a Washington Post opinion column published on March 5, Never Trumper Jennifer Rubin emphasizes that the DOJ is not buying into the former U.S. president's "absolute immunity” claim.

The columnist observes, "The (Justice) Department, in a brief, urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to reject Trump's claim of absolute immunity in a civil suit against him for damages arising from the January 6, 2021, insurrection…. The brief also hinted at the Department's possible stance for speech or conduct that did not carry the imminent threat of violence…. That might include actions such as enlisting phony electors to overturn election results or pressuring the Justice Department to declare an election was fraudulent. It might also extend to strong-arming the vice president to disregard his oath and throw out electoral votes for the rightful winner of the presidential election."

The big takeaway from that DOJ brief, according to Rubin, is that a president or former president is not exempt from the rule of law.

"Simply put," Rubin writes, "the Justice Department came down on the side of limiting the scope of what can be considered official presidential duties. In doing so, it has furthered the principle that the president is no king whose actions are beyond the reach of criminal law."

READ MORE: Jack Smith is waging a war of 'unprecedented size and scope' against Trump's allies: legal analysts

Read the Daily Beast's full report at this link (subscription required).

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