Crime Justice Department The Trump Adminstration

Former US Attorney: DOJ Is Moving Slow On Indicting Bannon – But That’s A Good Sign

Three weeks ago, the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection made a referral to the Justice Department for criminal contempt of Congress against former Trump administration staffer Steve Bannon when he refused to obey a subpoena for his testimony.

In those three weeks, many of us who believe in the rule of law have wondered: Is the DOJ ever going to file charges against Bannon? Or will he be allowed to get away with a crime most of us would face jail time for committing?

According to former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, the delay in charging Bannon is actually a very good sign.

In an op-ed she wrote for MSNBC, Vance notes:

There’s an old saying prosecutors like to repeat to one another: If you shoot at the king, you’d best not miss. Roughly translated, that means don’t indict a suspect before your evidence is in place. The government bears the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the highest standard of proof we use in our legal system, and to meet that burden, the prosecution must have admissible evidence of guilt. Prosecutors can’t rely on what everyone thinks they know or what people believe. Ensuring they have evidence to establish every element of a crime, even in a matter that seems as self-proving as this one, takes time and effort.

Silence, Vance continues, doesn’t necessarily mean inaction:

The basics of preparing to indict, including obtaining evidence the prosecution needs in an admissible form, can take time. Subpoenas have to be authorized, cut and served on people and entities from which prosecutors seek information. It takes time for subpoenaed materials to be returned to the grand jury. While there’s no way to know whether the Justice Department is using grand jury subpoenas to compile evidence in this case, it’s entirely possible. That process can add weeks before prosecutors have the essential evidence they need to indict.

The delay could also mean that Bannon is being investigated for more than one crime, and prosecutors have to gather all the evidence before they bring formal charges.

However, she concludes, everything is working the way it’s supposed to, and we just need to learn to be patient:

So as we wait, frustrated and concerned, we must remind ourselves that there are good reasons for prosecutors to take the time to do a thorough and thoughtful job. That we want a system of government in which the rule of law works, not one that responds to crowds that loudly chant “lock him up.” And that while it’s not easy to live through the struggle to restore a functioning democracy, the hard work and even the waiting are worth doing.

Bannon’s day before the bar of justice is coming. We just have to try and be patient. But imagine the celebration when it happens.

Crime Donald Trump The Trump Adminstration

Former US Attorney: Trump’s ‘Executive Privilege’ Claim To Jan. 6 Committee Is ‘Ridiculous’

According to failed, one-term former President Donald Trump, even though he’s no longer in the White House, he still has every right to assert executive privilege in order to stonewall the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

But that, former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, is complete nonsense, and it won’t stand up in court.

Vance was a guest on MSNBC Sunday afternoon, and she was asked by host Alex Witt about four former members of the administration — Steve Bannon, Dan Scavino, Mark Meadows, and Kashyap Patel — who are obeying Trump and ignoring subpoenas from the Jan. 6 committee:

“As you look at the Capitol riot, Donald Trump wanted to assert executive privilege by the House committee and was blocked doing so by the Biden administration. What do you make of his request? Did it hold any water at all? Does he have grounds to try again to keep these documents from being released?”

Vance replied:

“It’s unsurprising that he would make the request. Trump is no stranger to specious legal arguments, but he’s no longer the president of the United States and it’s up to the current president to decide whether or not there’s executive privilege and Joe Biden has already said no, there’s not.”

The former federal prosecutor then added that aides such as Bannon are also barking up the wrong tree:

“For purposes of January 6th investigations, the subject is of such tremendous importance that he will not exert executive privilege. Trump can go to court and claim he still has some rights but you can understand how ridiculous that is, even if, for instance, people like Steve Bannon who wasn’t working in the White House could be covered by executive privilege, which Bannon can’t be, the notion that every former living president could exert privilege is unworkable.

“Biden holds the privilege and says materials can be turned over and a court will order that. The question is how successful Trump will be at playing the delay game he plays with the courts.”

Hopefully the courts will expedite the Trump’s executive privilege claims and put anyone who ignores a subpoena behind bars for contempt. If not, Trump and his minions will be back. And the next time they could well succeed with their coup.