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Opinion: Lock Them All Up. Trump’s DOJ Violated U.S. Law By Ignoring His Crimes

When the Senate Judiciary Committee issued its scathing report, the aptly named Subverting Justice, that detailed Trump’s attempts to coerce the Department of Justice to subvert the 2020 election it was obvious crimes were committed.

Besides Trump, the report describes the key role Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark played in attempting to convince Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to falsely declare that the DOJ believed the election results in several states may have been fraudulent.

Now Jeffrey Clark is facing disciplinary action because:

“A bipartisan group of 32 lawyers filed a disciplinary complaint with the D.C. Bar for his actions in attempting to convince former Acting Attorney General Rosen to falsely declare that results of the 2020 presidential election were fraudulent in several states.”

Members of the  Board of Lawyers Defending American Democracy say Clark’s actions violated ethics rules. 

But there is more to the story than a simple ethics violation that should bring a rash of criminal charges against Trump and anyone at the DOJ or his inner circle who knew about Trump’s efforts and failed to report them immediately.

First,  because Trump was the source of the plot he is plainly in violation of a federal statute.  18 U.S. Code § 610 – “Coercion of political activity” is a very clear and concise statute that plainly states:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to intimidate, threaten, command, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, command, or coerce, any employee of the Federal Government as defined in section 7322(1) of title 5, United States Code, to engage in, or not to engage in, any political activity, including, but not limited to, voting or refusing to vote for any candidate or measure in any election, making or refusing to make any political contribution, or working or refusing to work on behalf of any candidate. Any person who violates this section shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.” (author bold)

 In service to a criminal in the Oval Office, Clark drafted a letter on Trump’s behalf that urged Rosen to sign and send to Georgia and several other states falsely claiming the DOJ had “identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election.

Of course the assertions in the letter were patently false; because no such concerns existed. In December then-Attorney General William Barr stated as much. In fact, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security echoed Barr’s sentiment saying the 2020 election was the “most secure in American history.”

In an effort to do the right thing, sort of, Acting Attorney General Rosen refused to falsely declare that results of the 2020 presidential election were fraudulent in several states. Both Mr. Rosen and his deputy refused to issue the letter. But they also are guilty of violating the law when they refused to report Clark’s or Trump’s illegal actions.

That failure precisely fits the crime of “misprision of felony” according to 18 U.S. Code § 4 – Misprision of Felony. It reads:

Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

Anyone remotely aware of Trump’s, or any of his surrogates’, crimes is required by law to alert the proper authorities. It is understating the obvious to assert that the lawyers at the Department of Justice were unaware that what Trump was doing violated a federal law, and that those who were aware of his actions were required by law to alert the proper authorities immediately.  

Not doing so automatically puts those involved in dire legal jeopardy; at least that would be the case if the Barr Justice Department was not corrupt or if the Garland DOJ wasn’t terrified of getting on Trump’s hit list.

It is particularly an egregious violation of the law that Rosen et al allowed Trump and one of their own to violate the law and keep quiet about it. The same is true of the various state officials that Trump attempted to “coerce” into violating state election laws on his behalf and not report his crime.

Obviously not much will come of Trump’s or his acolytes’ actions and if, and that is a gigantic if, Clark is held accountable by the D.C. Bar for violating its ethics rules, he will likely get a slap on the wrist and then carry on getting rich in the private sector as if nothing illegal or unethical happened.

There were myriad crimes committed throughout Trump’s tenure in a place he never belonged, and it is becoming clearer by the day that he will not face justice. The tragedy of it all is that it appears two different Justice Departments are not inclined to go after Trump or his cohorts with the same intensity as they would a drug dealer. That informs any sane person that justice in America is, for all intents and purposes, a dying institution.

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