Jen Psaki signaled that while Trump might see his announcement as a Get Out of Jail Free card, it is doubtful that the DoJ agrees.
Former Press Secretary and soon to be MSNBC host Jen Psaki wrote, “For anyone who needs to hear this — trump announcing he is running for President does not have a legal impact on investigations. No one at DOJ watched that speech and ripped up all of the work they have been pursuing”.
For anyone who needs to hear this — trump announcing he is running for President does not have a legal impact on investigations. No one at DOJ watched that speech and ripped up all of the work they have been pursuing
— Jen Psaki (@jrpsaki) November 16, 2022
Obviously, Psaki isn’t commenting on what, if anything, the DOJ is planning to do. She’s saying if something is in the works, Trump’s announcement won’t stop it. And that makes sense, if we look at Attorney General Merrick Garland’s history. Integrity and ethics have long defined his actions.
But Garland is tasked with deciding whether or not to bring the first criminal case against a former president in our history. It’s no small matter.
But the delay is harming the perception of justice after Trump was caught stealing top documents and his attorney lied to the FBI about returning all of them. And of course, his violent coup that was labeled a domestic terrorist attack by FBI Director Wray.
After Trump staged his big comeback tour in a glitzy ballroom at Mar-a-Lago Tuesday night, people got a little freaked out.
Why was he allowed to do this? Would this mean any work the Department of Justice is doing could not proceed? Would it now be too political to touch?
“… the department isn’t facing any urgent charging deadlines that must be met before November, they said,” Bloomberg reported before the midterms.
Allow me to highlight this part: “However, nothing stops investigators from taking non-public actions in their investigations, which could include obtaining indictments under seal.”
A lot of things could be happening behind the scenes. This is argued fervently by folks sure that charges are coming. However, people who have worked in the DOJ like Andrew Weissmann are wondering what is taking so long. (Weissmann worked on the Mueller investigation, which makes his criticisms sting a little more.)
Times up, DOJ. The rule of law requires Trump be held to account, as others have been for like crimes. It's been over 14 weeks since the MAL search and many months since the DOJ investigation began. Timely action is needed. https://t.co/1IjDVrUUWt
— Andrew Weissmann 🌻 (@AWeissmann_) November 14, 2022
The New York Times suggested that it would be difficult for even a special counsel to overcome the appearance of partisanship. In a November 6th piece titled “Trump May Pose a Test No Special Counsel Can Pass,” Katie Benner wrote:
Should Mr. Trump declare his candidacy, legal experts say that investigating a sitting president’s top political opponent in a coming election could present more of a conflict for Biden’s Justice Department than it has so far faced in its investigations.
Benner pointed out, “…the fact that the Justice Department is considering such a move for the second time in five years in part reflects the extent to which the former president has undercut faith in the institution’s ability to fairly investigate him.”
There have long been rumors that there is a secret DOJ memo about prosecuting sitting presidents. When the DOJ declined to prosecute Trump after the Mueller investigation, Attorney General Bill Barr refused to release his memo laying out the reasons why and had to be sued for it.
First the DOJ released a redacted version of the memo in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, but then a district judge ruled that Barr et al were not candid about the reasons for not charging Trump and that Barr was never engaged in such a process and but had, in fact, already made up his mind to not charge Trump.
That ruse was pretty transparent to those paying attention, but the narrative that got stuck in the public’s mind was the inaccurate one planted deliberately by Barr and Trump, falsely claiming Trump had been exonerated when even Mueller said under oath that he had not.
If the Justice Department declines to charge while having the evidence that they appear have on both cases (given public reporting alone), it could well deal a fatal blow to the American people’s faith.
It’s not fair that once again a Democratic administration has to clean up the cowardly mess left by the previous Republican one (Bush left a very politicized DOJ in his wake), nor is it right that Bill Barr rigged the DOJ to let Trump off from obstruction and the evidence that most assuredly did NOT exonerate him. But Bill Barr was chosen by Trump as AG for a reason.
People need a reason to believe that justice will be applied to all equally and they have every reason to be skeptical.
It frankly flies in the face of what we have witnessed to believe that Trump will be held to account fully for any of his actions. That’s just not going to happen. They could get him on tax evasion and finally rid us of his political presence, but that would hardly be justice served given the many criminal investigations surrounding him.
So… If the DOJ is going to act, it will still act. A nation goes weary.
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Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump.
Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.