Writing in a column for MSNBC, former White House Counsel Richard Painter called for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to appoint a special prosecutor to hold former President Donald Trump accountable for the events of January 6, the day a group of Trump’s supporters attacked the United States Capitol on the false premise that the election had been stolen.
Painter writes that Trump violated 18 USC 610 of the federal code, which makes it a federal crime for “any person to intimidate, threaten, command, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, command, or coerce, any employee of the Federal Government … to engage in, or not to engage in, any political activity.”
“More than 30 years ago, then-Sen. Joe Biden argued persuasively that special prosecutors are needed when high-ranking officials shatter the public’s faith in the government’s integrity,” Painter writes. “He’s president now, and his attorney general, Merrick Garland, has the authority to appoint a special counsel to investigate and prosecute allegations of crimes by Trump and others, including violations of the political coercion statute.”
Painter goes on to add that Garland “not only has that authority, but he also has the obligation” to prosecute crimes committed by the former president.
“Whether a former president should be prosecuted for allegations including coercing political activity by federal employees or inciting insurrection should not be a political judgment call,” he writes. “A president who committed such crimes must be prosecuted if we do not want those crimes to be repeated by future presidents or our representative democracy imperiled.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.