“Justice Without Fear Or Favor”

Yesterday was an historic day for the country and a satisfying day for those of us who have defended the Justice Department’s handling of the Dipshit Insurrection inquiry. The WaPo headline says it all: Justice Dept. investigating Trump’s actions in Jan. 6 criminal probe.

“Prosecutors who are questioning witnesses before a grand jury — including two top aides to Vice President Mike Pence — have asked in recent days about conversations with Trump, his lawyers, and others in his inner circle who sought to substitute Trump allies for certified electors from some states Joe Biden won, according to two people familiar with the matter. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

The prosecutors have asked hours of detailed questions about meetings Trump led in December 2020 and January 2021; his pressure campaign on Pence to overturn the election; and what instructions Trump gave his lawyers and advisers about fake electors and sending electors back to the states, the people said. Some of the questions focused directly on the extent of Trump’s involvement in the fake-elector effort led by his outside lawyers, including John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani, these people said.

In addition, Justice Department investigators in April received phone records of key officials and aides in the Trump administration, including his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, according to two people familiar with the matter. That effort is another indicator of how expansive the Jan. 6 probe had become, well before the high-profile, televised House hearings in June and July on the subject.”

As you can see, the DOJ investigation was quietly ramping up *before* the J6 Committee began its second wave of public hearings. That’s how it’s supposed to work. The Mueller probe moved loudly and carried a small stick. DOJ is taking the opposite approach to this investigation.

I took to Twitter with my instant analysis of the story and Carol Leonnig’s appearance last night on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell:

I then turned my attention to former milquetoast moderate senator turned rabid, ignorant MSNBC pundit Claire McCaskill:

It will be a cold summer day in New Orleans before the former mealy-mouthed senator turned strident pundit replies to my Tweet but taunting her was satisfying.

Merrick Garland’s mission was to return normality to DOJ. The fact that there were no leaks bragging about an inquiry into the highest levels of the Trump regime is an indication that mission has been accomplished. Prosecutors are supposed to be tight-lipped and not turn over their hole card prematurely.

There’s also a fundamental misunderstanding about the way grand juries work. They *are* used to develop a factual predicate for criminal charges BUT grand juries are also used to lock in witness testimony. Prosecutors need to be armed with the facts before questioning a potentially perjurious witness. Testifying under oath before a grand jury is even more serious than before Congress. It’s easier for a lying witness to amend their testimony to Congress.

The J6 Committee has done an excellent job. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and writing about their work. They may be ahead of DOJ on some aspects of the case but it’s neither unprecedented nor unusual for DOJ to use Congressional testimony as an investigative tool. Much of the Watergate criminal investigation flowed from the work of the Ervin Committee such as the testimony of John Dean and Alexander Butterfield. History once again repeats itself.

The quote I used for the post title comes from an interview AG Garland did with NBC’s Lester Holt. I suspect he knew the WaPo story was coming out when he spoke to Lester. It was a polite methodical Merrick Garland way of saying “I told you so” to his critics. I’m less polite so I’ll quote Gore Vidal once more:

Let’s turn our attention to the featured image. In my retelling of Aesop’s fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, DOJ is the tortoise. They’re conducting a classic, methodical criminal investigation before letting the world know that former President* Pennywise is the subject of a grand jury investigation. This needs to be done right, not fast. The amateur lawyers are convinced it can be done in the time it takes to send a Tweet. Patience is in order.

Repeat after me: THE LAW IS SLOW.

Let the subpoenas start flying. Stay tuned.

The last word goes to Omar Little with an aphorism for the ages:

That goes for chaotic Kaisers as well.

5 thoughts on ““Justice Without Fear Or Favor”

  1. Words … Actions

    It could be the interview was finally responding to public pressure such as Laurence Tribe publicly pressuring his former student Merrick Garland to get off of the couch and get to work.

    So far, the people going before trial juries are the ones that smashed windows, etc. The only higher ups — the ones that smashed laws, etc. — that have faced trial juries were charged only with Contempt of Congress for blatantly blowing off subpoena requests.

  2. You may not like it but this is how investigations are built. For example, no one has been indicted in the Fulton County case. The law is slow.

    1. Like or dislike has nothing to do with it — like and dislike veers into wanting predetermined outcomes, which has nothing to do with trying to impartially get as close as possible to justice in a timely manner.

      Strange thing about the Fulton County case, it is moving at light speed in comparison, the only stops slowing things down are the system ones in place to make sure the legal framework stays legal — such as having correctly served subpoenas and outside attorneys questioning witnesses for those parts where the main district attorney might have a conflict of interest. Their investigation started much later than the DOJ’s (and the J6 committee’s), but is well on its way to being presented for a factual determination because the people involved in the investigation seem determined to get to the facts as to whether or not their laws were broken.

      1. Light speed? It’s been going on for 15-16 months and no charges. How is that light speed? Not even criticizing them. The law is slow.

  3. Charges should be brought when they have evidence of law breaking, but they must be brought in a legal manner (whether or not legal is justice is a different question).

    As I mentioned, they are working within their legal framework to get to the facts, here are some recent efforts:

    https://news.yahoo.com/judge-blocks-prosecutor-probing-georgia-181815383.html

    The title is a little misleading, a lot of the highly placed officials are being questioned within the legal boundaries.

    This is light-speed compared to most civil / criminal proceedings which take years of investigation, many of which get turned over to the unsolved cases files.

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