Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Merrick Garland v. Trump: the attorney general no longer has a choice

Merrick Garland v.  Trump: the attorney general no longer has a choice

Donald Trump has played around with laws all his life and he thought he could use the same strategy once he entered the White House. If he was able to enjoy a certain immunity and the complicity of influential leaders of his political party to survive two well-deserved impeachment procedures, he now faces his most important challenge.

You know the facts as well as the constant threat hanging over Trump due to the multiple cases before the courts. Even if he is said to be more nervous and worried, we still have the impression that it is Attorney General Merrick Garland who does not have a clear conscience and who is struggling to find sleep.

Attorney General under pressure

Whether due to the House Committee’s investigation into the January 6, 2021 assault, the Department of Justice’s investigation, or the green light granted to the FBI seizure at Mar-a-Lago, Merrick Garland has his hands full.

Cautious and experienced, he is far from being naive and he knows better than anyone that all this judicial sleight of hand is coupled with an explosive political game. Not only do the Republicans accuse him of bias, but even more radical elements evoke a civil war while others are already charging FBI offices.

No matter which path Garland takes, he already knows he’s trapped and that in the short term there is no winning way out. Yet I see only one alternative to this unprecedented crisis: blame Donald Trump.

When we are already investigating a president who did not hesitate to encourage his supporters to march on the Capitol and at the same time we authorize the FBI to search his residence, we must go all the way and put all his cards on the table.

Inspired by Prince of Machiavelli, the philosopher and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson asserted that «When you strike at a king, you must kill him». By authorizing the seizure, Garland struck the king, he must now demonstrate that he had good reasons and that no doubt remains as to the necessity of this extraordinary measure.

Don’t lose face

Even if we imagine the anger of the supporters of the 45e president in reaction to a possible accusation, Merrick Garland will risk even more if he backs down.

Anyone remember James Comey and his speech during the 2016 presidential campaign? Hillary never recovered and the agency’s reputation was tarnished.

Trump broke the law, but the attorney general would only have authorized a seizure if the nature of the documents or the former president’s intentions warranted it. The time to strike the fatal blow has come. The credibility of the Department of Justice and the preservation of institutions are at stake.

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