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Today’s episode is about a big important question, that could determine the next American president and the future of American politics entirely should the US government indict.
Donald Trump and depending on your ideology or your appetite for utter political chaos.
Your answer to that question.
Could be anything from absolutely not.
No to absolutely.
But I don’t even know which the 10,000 things that Trump has done or even talking about anymore.
So, for the purposes of focusing Us in today’s podcast, I think we should keep front of Mind three, alleged crimes that deserve our attention.
Number one, there are the events of January 6 were Trump encouraged to crowd of election deniers to march on the capital, which they invaded an attempt to disrupt electoral process.
Second, the Department of Justice is also investigating Trump’s attempts to subvert the 2020 election.
By installing an alternate slate of electors that would have thrown out the votes of Democrats to give him the win.
Maybe most importantly, certainly most recently we’ve I’ve learned that when Trump finally did leave the White House, he took classified documents with him, which he then refused to turn over to the National Archive, which he then lied about to the justice department, which then searched and seized more than a dozen boxes from his Florida residents at Mar-A-Lago.
A for years.
Liberals have utterly delude themselves into thinking that Trump was always on the verge of some calamitous.
Legal defeat Bob, Mueller member him was made into an icon of the left but no charges were filed and that investigation, the entire Russian Gate Theory had a lot of smoke and even some fire, but it failed to put Trump in a courthouse.
And at this point, you could be forgiven for checking out entirely on the efforts to charge Trump with crimes because they all seem to end the same way without an indictment.
If that’s going to change, it will largely rest on the decision-making of one, man.
Merrick Garland, the Attorney General of the United States.
In a recent essay for the Atlantic staff writer Frank for spent hours, talking to Merrick Garland.
His friends, his former colleagues to understand more about who Garland is, how does he think?
How might his approach to law?
Allow us to predict the next chapter of the Trump legal Saga?
And Frank forward comes away with a big bold prediction.
The indictment of Donald Trump is now inevitable.
And Frank is here to tell us why?
I’m Derrick Thompson.
This is plain English.
Frank for Welcome to the podcast.
Thanks for having me.
So you recently wrote a profile of us attorney general Merrick Garland, after spending some time with him and talking to people around him.
So for people who are curious to know is this, the man who will become the first attorney general in American history to indict, the former president, what should we all know about whom are Garland is Merrick Garland, I think most people numeric Garland before he became attorney general as the guy who never became a Supreme Court Justice.
I mean, it was his lifelong ambition to be a Supreme Court, Justice on three separate occasions.
Barack Obama considered nominating him for the job and it was only on the third occasion when he seemed too old to get the job, that it actually fell into his lap, and then it was denied to him by.
Mitch McConnell who transgressed every Norm in the history of the US Senate.
By denying Merrick, Garland, even a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee and he is a he’s a guy who is known as a very cautious.
Institutionalist, he’s kind of a creature of the legal establishment and so he inherited this job of Attorney General, at the nation’s, chief law enforcement officer coming on the heels of the Trump Administration.
Which is essentially trashed, the Department of Justice.
It is ran roughshod all over all of its norms and use the department to fruit to punish political enemies and and reward friends.
And Garland was the guy who came in to restore the justice department to have it returned to ways that it operated before the Trump Administration ruined the place.
And so that was his job, that was his mission and then on the day that he is, he’s announced or so. 3 the day before he’s announced his attorney.
General is January, 6, 20, 21.
And so he comes into the job and all of the sudden he thinks he’s going to do one thing and this massive case falls into his lap and I think if I, when I talk to people around him, they all said he came in hoping that he was gonna be the guy who was going to lower the temperature around legal issues in this country.
And instead he’s faced with this case that’s filled.
All sorts of contentious issues that might very well result in him having to in date the last president of the United States.
And so people have always wondered like is he really going to be the guy who’s going to go all the way to do this thing that’s so unprecedented.
Or is he going to revert to all of these cautious instincts?
That he accumulated over the course of a lifetime?
He is a deep institutionalist, I mean, even as Garland’s Justice.
Aunt is investigating the president.
He is also defending Trump in a defamation lawsuit filed by EG in Kerala writer, who accused him of raping her.
He’s also as you wrote in the Atlantic permitted, the special prosecutor John Durham to continue to investigate the origins of the Russia gate case.
So it’s really bizarre for me as someone who is not at all.
Deep in the inner workings, the justice department to think about this guy, overseeing a bureaucracy that is simultaneously investigating a former president and serve Thing as his attorney maybe just help us unscrambled this.
How is he doing?
How is all this happening at once.
So there is a phrase that you hear people in the justice department but tribute to Merrick Garland, which is returned in normal order.
And so when he looks at something like the two instances that you mentioned, his instinct is well, these are prosecutors in the Justice Department who are telling me that this is the right course for us to take.
And I look at the precedent, I look at everything that’s And in US legal history and I say like well alright I may not like doing either of these things but if I’m just adhering to historical practices and Norms then I really don’t have a choice but to do these things and so so that’s one thing.
And then I think you look at the the cases against Trump and other aspects, he keeps returning to another phrase which is that no person is above the law.
And so That’s the norm that he’s trying to preserve in those other cases.
And so it does create this dissidents, we’re like on the one hand, he’s forced to defend Trump and then in the other hand, he’s forced to consider indicting Trump.
It’s almost like a Greek tragedy that his extremely conservative Viewpoint about the role.
The justice department is leading him to take on a potential action that is extraordinary, right?
Like he’s coming into office saying, I’m going to just follow the Law.
I’m going to have the most basic opinions about legal Norms.
No man or woman is above the law but that extremely basic attitude might lead him to be the first attorney general to indict a former president, which is I mean I think we can agree like a kind of crazy proposition.
It’s so obviously opens up a pandemic Pandora’s Box even if it’s just following legal Doctrine you spent all this time with Garland the people around him, you concluded.
That it is quote, inevitable inevitable, that the justice department will indict Donald Trump which be totally honest.
Surprised me, I’m not entirely sure that.
I agree, but you did the reporting and I didn’t tell me why you think it is inevitable.
So I think it’s he’s going to be reluctant at every step along the way, but I think that he is somebody who came of age professionally in the late 1970s Yes.
And in the aftermath of all the horrible things that Richard Nixon.
Did there were a succession of three different attorney generals appointed by Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter who did the work of creating the modern justice department.
And their job was to insulate, the justice department from political pressures.
And the third of those attorney general’s was a guy called Benjamin civiletti and Merrick Garland worked for him and he was one of Special assistance and sat by him as he edited the rules, that created the justice department.
And and so the core of those rules was to avoid political pressure and at the core of that sentiment, is that the justice department should never protect friends.
And it should never punish foes.
And what it really needs to do is kind of very in this, very straight ahead, sort of way Applause, apply the law and so, I would say that, you know, there are a number of cases that the justice department is looking at as it relates to Donald Trump, some of which are very complicated.
Some of which are just so screamingly.
Straight ahead straightforward cases, where the justice department is dealing with.
I think fairly binary issues that are just very simple and if they were to ignore Donald Trump’s Behavior, they would essentially be Remaining this concept of the rule of law that Merrick Garland, is so devoted to defending.
So, at any given moment, Donald Trump is always being accused of, like, 17,000 different things at once and it’s very confusing.
I think, for a lot of people, even those that are following the news somewhat closely to disentangle, all the different things that people are saying Donald Trump did, tell me what cases you are looking at.
When you make the determination that you think it’s relatively inevitable, that he’ll be indicted.
All right, so let me just give you a little bit of a taxonomy to begin with.
Because part of the image of Merrick Garland is the slow, footed cautious, institutionalist relates to the investigations around January 6.
And so we’ve had this really stark contrast between the Congressional committee.
That’s investigating January 6 and the Justice Department’s own investigation and the Congressional committee has always flexed and said, see, this is the way you do it.
Like we’re moving quickly.
We’re With a theory of January 6 that, you know, we talked to the foot soldiers, but we’re really starting at the top because we know that it was Donald Trump, who incited this mob to go invade the capital.
And so we need to, we need to really just focus, our efforts on pinning, the crime on him and Garland is approach that and almost the opposite sort of way.
Because there is a textbook way that the justice department approaches a big investigation which it’s like it when we see it.
With with Mafia cases or drug drug, drug cases where you you start with the street dealers and the mules and then you work your way up the ladder until you get the head of the cartel.
And so that’s the way that he’s approached the January 6 investigation.
In the January 6, investigations are very complicated because their free speech issues that are involved with them.
And there’s questions about motives that are very hard and the congressional committees have all made it.
Look so easy because they’ve told a story, But they haven’t made a legal case.
And in fact, they’ve never had to deal with.
Because the way that the committee’s were structured, there was nobody on the case.
He was a trump Defender.
So Witnesses were never really cross-examined.
There’s a lot of hearsay evidence that was introduced into those trials into those hearings, which were very compelling, but would never stand up in court.
And so, I think the questions about January, 6, are very complicated.
That’s a question about whether whether Trump played a role in.
Obstructing a congressional hearing or was part of a seditious conspiracy.
I don’t really expect an indictment in those cases to come anytime soon.
Because what seems Difficult about January 6 and I’ve been following the hearings, is that, of course, what happened at the Capitol was both a protest, which is clearly protected by the First Amendment and also an assault and attempted invasion of the capital and Different people were trying to do different things in terms of maybe some of them were just there for the larps and some of them were there to actually overthrow an election and courts are going to figure out who intended to do what, but it seems to me and just correct me.
If you think this is wrong, it seems to be that we don’t have a Smoking Gun piece of evidence.
Where the President says, to the people who are charging into the capital.
I Donald Trump invite you beg, you to charge into the capital to attempt to To overthrow this election instead, what you have is Trump doing what he does saying, a lot of stuff that isn’t true and then doing a lot of wink winking to his deputies.
To say, it would be really lovely.
If someone found 11,000 votes for me, in Georgia, it’d be really lovely.
If someone, maybe, you know, cancel this election.
But we don’t have the Smoking Gun here showing that he was explicitly seditious and am I wrong there?
I think that that is correct.
I mean I it’s I think they’re closed just because his public statements, just walk right up to that line.
And I think if you were an attorney general who didn’t care if you lost that case, but you could bring it.
But then it’s you would, you would be inviting all sorts of other questions about whether you were actually being a fair-minded attorney general in the course of doing that.
And I so I think that that’s it.
And the other thing that just struck me watching the Congressional hearings last week is that there’s this circumstantial Well, case that they were trying to bring throughout that, they were never able to really fully connect the dots on, which is that one of the president’s, the ACT former president’s advisors outside advisors and oldest friends is a guy called Roger Stone and Roger Stone sat at this place, where there was a Nexus between the right-wing paramilitaries, who were the architects of the invasion of the capital, and the ones who were had the most advanced plans, spoiling for violence and the White House.
And that stone was the person who was communicating with both of those parties and it’s clear that the commission committee thought that there was something there, they could just only flick at it.
And to me, this also highlights something that’s very important about the Justice Department investigation which is that, you know, in our society which he wants.
Instant gratification, we kind of wrestle with the fact that some of these investigations are just complicated because the actors tried to Obscure.
They knew they were doing something wrong and so they deleted all of their encrypted messages.
And so there isn’t a trail of data, that kind of thing, that ties everything together in this neat instantly presentable bow.
And so, that’s why the arduous work that the department does a flipping people along the way, is the only way really to be able to get move up the ladder from from the mules to the bosses.
So that’s one, that’s one investigation.
Yeah, let’s talk about the second investigation because it seems like if we’re just talking to January 6, it’s not entirely clear that an indictment is forthcoming.
They’re getting closer closer closer to maybe having the Smoking Gun piece of evidence, but they’re not there yet.
So what’s the second Vector along?
Which the justice department is investigating.
Trump will says, clearly.
There’s also adjacent to January 6.
There was this scheme to introduce a fit, a fake slate of electors in various States, who would be Rented to the Congress as legitimate.
And that there was this this fraudulent conspiracy to execute that.
And along the way, the justice department has been explicit that they’ve they’re pursuing this, this line.
And they’ve subpoenaed thing collectors from Arizona and I think Pennsylvania.
And so it’s clear that this investigation is churning along, but before you get too, Somebody is high as Donald Trump.
You would expect that they would have indicted by now some of the actual state legislators who are involved in the scheme, some of the masterminds of that scheme and they haven’t.
So I don’t think that that an indictment of in that case for Trump is anywhere remotely close to happening, okay?
So at this point in the podcast, someone is like, all right.
Well, you ready to talk about two different cases where you don’t necessarily see an indictment forthcoming, but you also think that an indictment is inevitable.
So that leads us to case Number three, case.
Number three, I imagine is the Mar-A-Lago mess.
Before we get up to the question of what happens to Merrick.
Garland V, Donald Trump.
Let’s talk about where we are in the Mar-A-Lago.
What do people know have to know about the story up-to-date break.
So like a president produces millions of pages of papers over the course of their term and those documents are officially The property of the United States government and at the end of a president’s term they’re supposed to get carted off to the National Archives.
But when Donald Trump left the presidency, he carefully packed himself, at least as it relates to some of some of the paper that he wanted to take with him as he left the presidency and even though he was supposed to give it all back to the archives, he very explicitly intentionally took it with him to his Beach.
Club in Florida.
And so the justice department hears from the National Archives that these papers are missing and some of these papers relate to very, very precious government secrets.
And so, there’s a clear National Security interest in retaining the paper and a safe sort of way.
So that, so that, that it doesn’t hand up, end up in the hands of people who could use it to undermine the interests of the United States government.
And so the The archives.
And then the justice department go and very politely ask Donald Trump to return the paper and Donald Trump doesn’t return the paper.
In fact, does all sorts of things that suggest that he’s never going to return the paper and and it seems based on reporting that we have.
It’s unclear what the source of this reporting is but that Trump ordered people within Mar-A-Lago to move the documents around in such a way that they would be harder for the justice department to ever.
And so here you have something that’s very, very black and white that you have a president who’s broken hola, which is the the, the the the laws that govern, what happens to presidential papers, you have the fact that he’s very clearly obstructed, the justice department as its sought to, to return these papers.
And I think if you’re Merrick Garland, Two things that start to enter your mind.
The first is you’ve said that no person is above the law yet.
Trump is acting in a way in which he is above the law that these laws don’t, don’t pertain to him.
So I think that, that, that case would be would be hard unto itself.
But the fact that he is obstructed Justice and such an obvious way I think is something that Merrick Garland’s going to find almost impossible to swallow because they’ve given Trump all these opportunities to comply and he’s resisted and just to go back to original theme of this conversation.
We describe Merrick Garland is institutionalist.
And in the course of this war, that Trump has conducted with the archives and the justice department, he’s made war on the justice department.
He’s accused FBI, Justice Department officials of planting evidence.
They’ve, he’s accused them of Nefarious motives.
He’s A wave of threats and abuse targeting the justice department.
And it’s hard to make Merrick Garland’s blood boil, but this is the sort of thing that makes Merrick Garland’s, blood boil.
It also seems to me in this case that Trump takes these classified documents that could include secrets about foreign leaders.
It could include information about agents in the field.
The movement of our enemies information about nuclear weapons.
Means he takes them the National Archives ask for them.
And then when the justice department is contacted by the National Archives, we have a former president, won’t give classified information back.
He seems to clearly or his lawyers have to clearly lie to the justice department and say we don’t have them or we don’t have them here at Mar-A-Lago.
And so the, the doj, subpoenas video, evidence of people moving boxes in and out of the basement.
After they say there are no boxes in this basement of Mar-A-Lago, it just seems like the Nearest possible case of you say.
One thing to justice department about classified information and then they immediately see on a videotape that the opposite is true.
That’s why far more than January 6, which seems like an extremely unethical thing where and I can’t find a Smoking Gun moment of clearly illegal behavior on the part of Donald Trump.
This seems like another case of ethic of of incredibly immoral Behavior where the proof of the LIE.
The proof of obstruction is much clearer because nothing is clearer than a videotape.
Yeah, that’s right.
So let’s put ourselves in Mara grounds mind at this moment.
Like I don’t think you just described the way that you and I have been thinking about this all along.
We see this constellation of cases is somehow in related.
Interrelated that there’s a bad guy who’s being who’s being whose unaccountable.
And we, you know, we couldn’t nail him on His first two cases.
So we’re going to nail them on this obvious.
Third case, I don’t think that’s the way that Merrick Garland thinks about these cases.
I think he’d find that kind of thinking abhorrent because you don’t, you don’t use the Department of Justice to penalize somebody just because they’re an enemy or just because they’re a deeply unethical person committed to the destruction of democratic institutions, right?
And so for him he has to decide the matter of Marla go case on its own terms.
Alms and its own merits and even then even as it’s black and white, there’s this moment in any case where the prosecutor has what’s called discretion.
And so he can decide that it’s not worth bringing a case against a former president, for whatever reason, he decides that it’s that it wouldn’t be worth it to do.
And so I just think that when you get to that moment of prosecutorial discretion for Merrick Garland, as it relates to This case, the fact that Trump is assaulting something that’s so near and dear to not just his heart, but to the way in which he thinks that our democracy functions, which is this question of is, is anybody above the law?
When Julia came came on the podcast?
I talked about the fact that, like, he’s basically treating the White House which typical President should Revere, is a kind of Museum as a gift shop.
Like relation comes across his desk.
Yeah, it’s like, yeah, it’s pretty valuable information.
Comes across his desk.
This is a nice collection.
Oh, maybe I can find some way to monetize this later.
And if I’m, if I’m Garland, this it goes a little bit to, you know, thinking like like an ordinary person rather than, like, the Attorney General.
But, when you think about who Donald Trump is, this is someone whose Talent extraordinary Talent across his career is to make a business opportunity of every piece of land and every piece of information that he sits on and you really don’t want to former president creating business opportunities of information about agents in the field and the, you know, f Eras of our allies and the reality of our enemies.
You don’t want someone trying to monetize this sort of thing.
So the urgency around putting his feet to the fire.
Seems much higher here versus something.
That January 6, we’re fundamentally a terrible.
As it is, you are investigating an event that is over its ongoing attacks.
You could argue on American Democratic processes are not over but like, January 6 itself, has concluded.
But there are still reasons to think that if Trump could keep some material in one basement of Mar-A-Lago and lie to the doj about it.
Well, why should we trust that?
All of the information was gotten by the first search and shizer by doj like this just seems like a much more important thing for Merrick Garland to move on.
The only, the only thing that I would quibble with is in your analysis which I basically agree with is that, you know, January 6 was a day isolated in history but it It is part of, kind of an ongoing attempt to subvert American democracy and their important reasons to punish that behavior in order to deter it from happening again.
And you know that regard.
I do think that all these cases that Merrick Garland has brought today, actually do play an important role in deterring the repeat of January 6th.
I I think, you know, I would wish personally as a citizen that he punished the fake collector schemes and some of these other schemes that are adjacent to the day itself because those schemes clearly could be repeated again in the future.
And there’s there’s there is a to use a phrase from the January 6 commission, like a clear and present danger posed.
And so there’s a need for an important intervention now.
When will Garland have to make this decision to indict?
For let’s just say Mar-A-Lago.
So one of the things that I engaged in was a kind of a thought experts exercise where I called former prosecutors and ask them, what would the trial of Donald Trump could look like?
And when I started to engage in this thought experiment with them, the question of timing was something that they brought up almost instantly because you have to assume that there’s High possibility that there will be a turn of administration in 2024 where Republicans maybe even download Trump himself assumes power and kills whatever investigations whatever case is in motion on the first day that they’re back in office and so you have to start to think backwards from that date.
And so you’ve got the data, January 20th, 2025 you have a year maybe even slightly longer For for a trial to get scheduled.
And so you need to make an allowance for that.
Then then there’s a period where even there’s a trial itself and documents trial would probably be much more straightforward than a case about January 6, when I ask them how long a January 6 case could take I mean I was told it could take almost 6 months a documents case could take anywhere between two weeks.
In two months is what I was told.
And so you have to price that into into the calendar.
And so, you know, basically what I was told was by the end of the spring of the next year, there would probably have to be an indictment in order to have a trial before the turn of administration.
And this is where to me, the future just becomes almost Unthinkable.
Like I can’t fully concur ties, what happens like?
All right, so let’s say Merrick Garland and I settled Trump and six months later, a or excuse me a year later, a trial starts.
And let’s just say it’s a really complicated trial because this is the first trial of a former presidents, rather than take two weeks to two months and ends up.
Taking, you know, whatever three months, four months.
We are now basically in the middle of a presidential election, we’re in the middle of the presidential election, and Donald Trump has just been, let’s just say convicted for obstruction of justice.
In the case of absconding, With pieces of classified information from the White House.
What happens then?
I mean there’s a precedent which is Eugene, V Deb’s, the Socialist candidate for president in 1920 ran for president from from prison.
So it’s not, it’s not, I mean, I don’t we don’t know that Donald Trump would be convicted.
We don’t know that Donald Trump would go would be sentenced to prison for whatever he’s indicted for.
You know, maybe it’s just community service but or maybe he’s not a dead end at all.
But but, but it is the whole spectacle.
Just beginning from beginning to end is, is kind of boggles the Mind.
The idea that this guy who’s sitting at the defendants table during this trial would also be running for president is like is it in and of itself?
Something that it’s just so complicated.
And so, you know, I I thought about Trial management and the course of this, right?
So some of this depends on the judge who’s randomly assigned, would be randomly assigned to his case, there’s some judges who were Trump appointees, who are kind of or cantankerous old codgers who would be sympathetic to Trump and who could do a bet his efforts to delay.
Because Donald Trump’s chat primary tactic is going to be to delay as long as possible, preferably to January 21st 2025.
On the other hand, there are Judges.
Who presided over the case of Roger, Stone.
And Paul manafort when they were, when they were tried for their role and Russia gate related crimes and those judges were very, very strict and it ended up imposing gag orders.
So Roger Stone who has a disposition?
That’s not dissimilar to Donald Trump’s who you know, can’t resist giving inflammatory quotes or to attacking his average to say By the time, Roger Stones trial was over, the judge had restricted, his ability to post on social media and judged forbade.
Roger Stone from using proxies to speak on his behalf and the press.
And so you know, I as a judge like could find myself very, very frustrated with Donald Trump as a defendant and feeling like what if I’m just going to treat him like any other citizen than, I’m going to prevent him from using this trial as a campaign platform.
It’s I mean, it’s so so strange to put together what you consider an inevitability and what, at least the political betting websites, consider a probability which is Donald Trump narrowly edging Ron DeSantis in the Republican primary and becoming the Republican nominee for president in 2020.
For you have a situation where it kind of the same way, what occurred to me.
Maybe this is a terrible metaphor, but the same way that Joe Biden was essentially under like, self-imposed house arrest in his basement for Doing 20.
Just basically like, sending out messages and recording, you know, videos straight to camera videos with his wife.
Saying here, I am in the basement.
Hope it’s really bad.
You know, vote for president.
The president is trapped at a defendant’s table so it is incredible material for Fox News.
Incredible material for the right because this impression that the right has that the left is constantly trying to demonize.
Donald Trump is cast in Vivid Technicolor on people’s televisions because there he is being prosecuted by the doj.
But at the same time, I don’t want to like go full Galaxy brain here and say, oh, this helps Donald Trump.
It’s like, no, no one wants to run for president while being accused of obstruction of justice, maybe being in incapable of Tweeting or running normal presidential campaign, protocols because the judge won’t let you out of whatever Courthouse area in Florida.
This this trial is happening, it would be an absolute utter mess.
There’s no way there’s no way around it, which is why just that that the headline, my piece use the word inevitability and my Article II certainly allow for the possibility.
That ey think that it’s it’s is the likely outcome.
I could also be wrong about this.
It’s a piece of speculation, but I think that everything you just described is something that can’t help.
But also enter into Merrick Garland’s, mind as he Ponders this decision and if there’s a Reason why I’m wrong.
It said he looks forward.
He imagines this whole spectacle, he worries that maybe he’s actually putting his thumb on the Democratic processes by doing this in a way that he’s not comfortable with.
And we all think back obviously to James Comey and the announcement he made about the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email in the impact that that might have had on the course of the 2016 presidential election.
And I think Clearly, within for Merrick Garland, for other people who examined that, that episode, that that was a bad.
This bad procedure.
It was it was it was non, it was interference in the presidential election in the the guise of non-interference.
So I’m sure I’m sure that this has to enter into Merrick Garland’s calculus as he Ponders what he does.
Because how could it not It seems to me that there’s really no decision here that Garland can make that doesn’t bear significant risks.
The legacy of the justice department because if he indicts the president the far-right will despise him and will use will see this as the opening of a Pandora’s Box and use it to indict, former democrats, for decades, at the same time, if he’s seen as failing to hold Trump to account the Left will despise him and perhaps even reasonable lawyers will consider him a coward.
Those say you had evidence in your hands to clear, obvious evidence of obstruction of justice.
You would have videotape in your fingers showing the president was lying to you about holding State secrets and you did nothing.
You’re the Attorney General, the United States and you did nothing.
What kind of a law enforcement agent, are you?
It really is, it’s excruciating to think about.
And I don’t think there is a path forward here.
That doesn’t bear that kind of risk of the Legacy.
I think if you look at impeachment in the way that impeachment over the course of my own lifetime has been transformed from this thing that was used only once back in the 1860s and extraordinary circumstances to something that is now, kind of a routinized piece of American politics.
It’s hard, not to.
Imagine that once you do Same thing with the indictment of a former president that we end up in a situation that is akin to, it’s just something that’s Afflicted, Ukraine, where every former Ukrainian president gets prosecuted by the person who’s replaced them.
And it’s created this, this horrible, horrible, undemocratic practice.
But what you’ve just described this, no, no win situation that Garland finds himself in.
I think, you know, in my piece, I described it as actually being a fairly liberating thing.
So, all of these, all of these external considerations, really cancel each other out.
Again, if you, if you try to appease the right, you’re going to end up disappointing, the left.
If you think that you’re preserving American democracy by preventing a civil war, you’re undermining American democracy.
RC by by allowing the rule of law to be run roughshod over by allowing this guy who’s, who’s tried to disassemble Democratic institutions, to just keep on going and in the end what choice does Merrick Garland have it becomes a matter of conscience and for him, a matter of conscience is really ultimately about this principle of the rule of law.
And so he’s just stuck in the situation where to think about the external external letí’s means like, you really just like your institutions gonna get slammed, no matter what.
All you can do is Faithfully, apply the law.
These are his canonical text.
Like this is the thing that he’s actually most comfortable doing and I think in the end, that’s what he’ll do.
We mentioned timing a couple minutes ago and I just want to end on the timing issue here.
It’s been We’re in 2022.
Donald Trump has been a part of our political lives, in this case, for about seven years.
And I feel like every three months, there is a new Article of Faith among the left that we are mere hours away from the indictment of Donald Trump.
And the removal of his Specter from the American political scene.
They’ve been wrong.
Every time the left was wrong.
A thousand times up to now, for those, who believe your analysis, when like exactly make me, Make a prediction.
Even if it’s if it’s loosely held around what time do you think we would get this indictment, right?
Well, so let me just say one thing about your, you just described about the left.
I do think that there is this critique that’s very fair where the left has held out this hope that legal processes could succeed, where Democratic processes have failed.
And I think that, that’s, that’s bad thinking on the left part, I mean, the, the idea that there’s just these succeeded I mean, in 2020, the right the person we want to popular vote was real, right?
We’re not great.
But there was like the great hope of the Robert Mueller investigation rate in that and and even here I feel like there’s this sense among a lot of liberals that Donald Trump possesses some sort of mystical Powers he’s never going to disappear, you know, until he’s Shackled and that’s bad thinking you know, it’s like he should only be he should only be Indicted if there is a strong case that almost can’t lose in the courts to indict him with, but on the question of timing, right?
You’re pinning me down, but I’ve set myself up for this, like, with the piece that I wrote.
So I can’t weasel out of your question, you know?
My guess would be that.
It would happen sometime in late spring of next.
I mean, I don’t think that that Archaeologists thinking about the turn of administration’s and the fate of his case.
I think he’s the clock, the timeline that I imposed on Merrick Garland is not the timeline that he’s going to use to make his own decision.
But I would think that, if by the, by late spring next year, you don’t have a case to bring against Donald Trump on Marla.
You’re never going to have a case to bring a.
There’s nothing that you can do.
That would make.
You couldn’t wait any longer than that.
To let the case ripen.
This is so straightforward.
Either you do it by then or you don’t do it.
All right, I’m sending my Google Calendar end of Q2 2023.
If you’re wrong, I’ll have you back in the podcast.
In June of next year and will light our Robert Mueller votive candles and saw that.
That Donald Trump’s ability to wriggle out of yet.
Yeah, I’ll be a couple then.
Thank you so much.
Thank you for listening.
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