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DOJ Plans To Hit Trump With An ‘Appeal-Proof’ Charge For His Role In January 6: Report

Now that several members of the domestic terrorist group the Oath Keepers have been convicted for seditious conspiracy, many have suggested that disgraced, one-term former president Donald Trump should be charged with the same thing for his role in inciting the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6 referred the ex-president to the Justice Department on four charges — obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, conspiracy to defraud the United States, inciting or assisting an insurrection, and conspiracy to make a false statement — in December, but Hugo Lowell of The Guardian suggested Tuesday morning that the DOJ will likely try to build a narrow, “appeal-proof” case against Trump.

During an appearance on MSNBC, Lowell remarked:

“The Oath Keepers seditious conspiracy verdicts really come about because the government had concrete evidence that the leaders of the Oath Keepers effectively engaged in political violence to stop the peaceful transfer of power, and because it was presented in that way and because, you know, the Oath Keepers had a quick reaction force across the river in Virginia. They had weapons and ammunition, and they were texting about we can come to the Capitol, and, you know, bring fire support if you really need it. I think that’s the kind of evidence that’s convincing for a jury.”

Lowell continued:

“It’s the kind of evidence that we’re missing as of yet with Trump, and that’s why I think that the Justice Department is looking more at an obstruction of an official proceeding kind of thing for Trump, as opposed to, you know, seditious conspiracy. I don’t think it materially makes any difference because they are still really serious felonies and they carry lengthy prison terms, and the Justice Department doesn’t like to score big home runs, they like to score single hits, and if they can find one charge that sticks with Trump, they would much prefer that.”

Ultimately, Lowell concluded, the Justice Department wants a solid case that will stand up to any appeal:

“They want a sustained conviction, they just don’t want a conviction, they want to sustain it upon appeal,” he added, “and I think he was talking about how you want to make sure it follows through all the way. They’re much more likely to take a lesser charge that is more likely to be sustained than the big charge.”

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The DOJ Just Gave A Giant Middle Finger To Jim Jordan And His Planned ‘Investigations’

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and several of his House GOP colleagues had it all planned out: They would conduct “investigations” of any number of things regarding the Justice Department, including the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection.

But if Jordan and his cohorts were expecting the DOJ to acquiesce, they found out Friday that the department will not cooperate in any manner whatsoever because doing so might jeopardize ongoing criminal investigations.

According to Politico, Justice communicated their intentions in a letter sent to Jordan.

“Consistent with longstanding policy and practice, any oversight requests must be weighed against the Department’s interests in protecting the integrity of its work,” Carlos Uriarte, DOJ’s legislative affairs chief, wrote in the five-page letter. “Longstanding Department policy prevents us from confirming or denying the existence of pending investigations in response to congressional requests or providing non-public information about our investigations.”

Clearly, the DOJ is laying down a marker and letting Jordan and others in the GOP know that they won’t be bullied or intimidated. However, Justice will cooperate in ways that are consistent with how it has handled past congressional requests for information, citing a precedent that goes back to the Reagan administration.

The Justice Department letter cites a 1982 directive from President Ronald Reagan, stressing that the administration would try to respond to congressional oversight requests and avoid invoking executive privilege, reserving it for use “only in the most compelling circumstances.” Uriarte, an assistant attorney general, said DOJ would respect the committee’s “legitimate efforts” to seek information, “consistent with our obligation to protect Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”

Jordan will likely be furious by the letter from Uriarte, but there’s nothing he can do about it. He has no right to any information about ongoing DOJ investigations and cannot compel them to share anything with him or his committee.

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Here’s How Democrats Can Use Jim Jordan’s ‘Investigations’ Of The DOJ Against Him

Despite the fact that he’s personally compromised on any number of fronts (not the least of which is his role in the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is about to crank up all sorts of hearings in the House of Representatives targeting the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

As recently as last August, Jordan even suggested he might want to impeach Garland, telling Newsmax host Rob Schmitt:

“I think everything is on the table, we have got to take our message to the American people and not get overconfident but campaign in a confident way, win back the majority.”

And now Jordan wants to open hearings regarding the “weaponization” of the DOJ in the Biden administration, even though the main reason he’s doing so is to satisfy right-wingers and former president Donald Trump, who still has his panties in a wad as a result of the FBI serving a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago for classified documents he was told by a court to turn over.

But as Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post notes, Democrats on the committees can turn the tables on Jordan and his GOP allies.

How? Consider Rubin’s excellent op-ed in which she lays out these points:

Put Republicans under the Microscope

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), for example, had his phone seized by the FBI last year as part of its investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Perry says he was told he’s not a target of the investigation, but it’s clear he played a key role in the ploy to install then-Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general. The warrant for his phone also indicates that there was probable cause that a crime had been committed and that there was evidence on his phone.

Perry now wants to serve on the very committee that will investigate the DOJ even though he is personally under investigation by that same agency.

Use the panel to continue the Jan. 6 committee’s work

As I’ve argued, the Jan. 6 committee never got to the bottom of the FBI’s failure to operationalize intelligence about violence at the U.S. Capitol. Nor did the committee uncover why the Pentagon failed to promptly authorize mobilization of the National Guard or why messages from the U.S. Secret Service from that day were apparently erased. Democrats should press for answers on those questions. They should also seek testimony under oath from key officials, such as former acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller.

Exploit the GOP’s argument against congressional oversight

This would turn Jordan and the GOP’s bizarro logic on its head, and it would also serve to point out the blatant hypocrisy of Republicans.

Now, Democrats can use Republicans’ argument against them. MAGA inquisitors have left little doubt that the sole purpose of the committee is to skewer prosecutors, meddle in ongoing criminal matters and protect Trump. This blatantly violates separation of powers, constituting its own politicization. Therefore, any subpoena of information from the Justice Department’s investigations can and should be challenged not only for violating separation of powers but also for absence of a legitimate legislative purpose.

It’ll be fun to watch Jordan if and when any of these tactics are used by Democrats. And if they really want to push Jimbo’s buttons, they should also ask him what he knew and when it knew it about the rape of wrestlers on the team he served as an assistant coach for at Ohio State University and his possible involvement in the Capitol insurrection.

If Jim Jordan wants “transparency,” let’s see just how transparent he’s willing to be.

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New Subpoena Focuses On Witness Tampering As DOJ’s January 6 Criminal Investigation Expands

A subpoena sent by the Justice Department to several Trump campaign officials suggests the ongoing investigation by the DOJ into the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection has expanded and now includes fundraising efforts, along with potential witness tampering by the ex-president and members of his team.

According to The Washington Post, the subpoena was issued in December and shows multiple areas of inquiry being conducted by a grand jury in Washington, D.C.

One part of the four-page legal document asks recipients to reveal if anyone other than themselves is paying for legal representation — and if so, to provide a copy of the retention agreement for that legal work. At least one other former campaign official also received the subpoena, according to that person’s lawyer, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid drawing attention to his client.

The DOJ is also following the money, according to The Post, by focusing in on various entities that raised millions for the purpose of trying to have the 2020 election overturned in court.

The subpoena shows the Justice Department is interested in other Trump entities besides the Save America PAC — which The Post and others reported last year was a subject of inquiry by investigators. It seeks “all documents and communications” related to a panoply of other Trump-affiliated groups, including the Make America Great Again PAC, the Save America Joint Fundraising Committee and the Trump Make America Great Again Committee.

But perhaps the area of most concern for Trump and others in his orbit is the alleged attempt to influence witnesses who provided testimony to the Jan. 6 House Select Committee.

Prosecutors’ interest in payments made to lawyers might have been driven by testimony to the House committee from Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as an aide to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows. She told the panel she was initially represented by a lawyer with whom she was connected by figures in Trump’s orbit. But she became uncomfortable, she testified, in part because the lawyer did not reveal to her who was paying his fees and said no formal written retention agreement was needed.


The first lawyer, Stefan Passantino, has denied any wrongdoing in his interactions with Hutchinson, saying in a statement last month that he represented the former Trump aide “honorably, ethically, and fully consistent with her sole interests as she communicated them to me.”

Hutchinson testified that Passantino counseled her to tell the committee she “did not recall” details of events even when she could, and instructed her not to volunteer details of incidents that might be of interest to the committee. After changing lawyers, she became the committee’s star witness.

The case is now in the hands of Special Counsel Jack Smith, who will make a recommendation as to whether or not criminal charges should be filed against Trump or others who may have taken part in the plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

In response to the report from The Post, former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance tweeted:

“At the heart of these subpoenas, in addition to previously reported investigation into fundraising fraud, there appears to be an inquiry into whether witness testimony was being improperly influenced. It’s always about the obstruction.”

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DOJ Likely To Offer Immunity To Jan. 6 Witnesses Who ‘Can’t Recall’: Former US Attorney

Among the transcripts of testimony released earlier this week by the January 6 House Select Committee are many witness statements in which the people being questioned say they “don’t recall” or cannot remember what happened or what was said in response to questions.

Feigning a bad memory is a well-known tactic by those who don’t want to give testimony or who are trying to protect others higher up the food chain, such as a president (Donald Trump) and his potential culpability in what took place in Jan. 6, leaving five people dead.

However, former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said Sunday during an appearance on MSNBC that Special Counsel Jack Smith and other prosecutors at the Justice Department are likely to offer immunity to some of those recalcitrant individuals in the hope of triggering their memories.

“The Justice Department has tools available to it that were either not available to the committee or that the committee showed some restraint and using. One of those is immunity. Certainly, the committee could’ve granted immunity to some of these witnesses to compel testimony. And they didn’t do that, leaving that option to the Justice Department. But some of the things the Justice Department can do is to leverage potential criminal liability against others in exchange for cooperation. Or immunize them and compel them to testify. They can refresh the recollection. They can confront them with statements that are made by other witnesses that contradict their testimony.”

There’s also the matter of hearsay, such as the testimony former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson gave regarding Trump’s angry tantrum on the way back to the White House after Secret Service agents refused to transport him to the Capitol.

McQuade noted that while such testimony wouldn’t be allowed in court, Hutchinson could still “lead DOJ prosecutors to other people who do have firsthand information. The DOJ can use things like phone records, compulsion orders, immunity, and leverage to entice people to tell them the truth. They now — because of the work of the committee — have access to the information that provides those leads.”

With each new piece of evidence, prosecutors can build the case against people such as Trump, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and Rudy Giuliani. In other words, no matter how much some might want to remain silent, they won’t be able to if they want to avoid going to prison.