This month, more than 880 people have been arrested and charged with crimes stemming from the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, according to the Justice Department. More than 400 pleaded guilty to “[a]About 280 federal prosecutors were tried and fined for their crimes on January 6. About 152 were sentenced to prison terms.”
In fact, every case that has gone to a jury has been resolved. According to the Justice Department, “21 people have been found guilty in contested cases, including one found guilty in the District of Columbia Supreme Court. The other 5 people have been convicted after an agreed set of facts. Nine of these 26 suspects were found guilty of assaulting, resisting or obstructing officers.”
Large sentences have been handed down, including a 10-year sentence for a former New York City police officer. In the current trial of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and four gangs, a single count of harassment carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon was indicted for contempt of Congress, the first indictment in decades.
And the trial for the coup attempt is still going on. The Justice Department has executed search warrants to seize phone calls and other records from a number of figures, including former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and Trump lawyer John Eastman. Federal prosecutors paraded senior aides from the Trump White House before the grand jury, including top aides to former vice president Mike Pence.
The Justice Department is now going to court to violate the “firewall” of power to compel figures such as former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and White House deputy counsel before Patrick Philbin to reveal all about their interactions with Trump. (They both submitted comments to a House select committee Jan. 6.)
Additionally, previous attempts to ban subpoenas based on the attorney-client privilege have failed. Federal Judge David Carter repeatedly found a basis to find that Trump and Eastman engaged in criminal activity, thus dismissing the legal claim raised by Eastman.
In Georgia, Fulton County Attorney Fani Willis has moved forward with a criminal investigation into Trump’s attempt to force state officials to “seek” important votes to turn the state against him. . Courts have authorized subpoenas for a long list of Trump supporters to testify, including Trump’s former lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and a group of electors. Federal courts have also ordered Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.) to testify, although Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was temporarily restrained.
Several lawsuits against Trump and his businesses are ongoing in New York, including a criminal tax suit against his company and a civil case against him and others stemming from the alleged escalation and the fraud of property evaluations (which he denied). Bad decisions can close his business in New York. Although the New York City district attorney has not brought criminal charges against Trump, his office has reached out to New York’s attorney general.
Finally, the Mar-a-Lago case. The Justice Department obtained its search warrant on the probable cause that classified documents were hidden in the former president’s estate. Trump’s lame attempt to block the investigation was slow; Judge Aileen Cannon’s landmark decision to block the Justice Department’s executive order was blocked by the 11th Circuit, then unanimously overruled by the Supreme Court.
Retired judge Raymond Dearie, who was appointed by Cannon as the special authority to review the documents, has criticized Trump’s efforts to raise the privilege claims. The final battle for those claims is scheduled for November 8. Cannon’s actions do not prevent the Justice Department from bringing criminal charges against Trump for violating the Espionage Act or for obstruction of justice.
Witnesses are under pressure in that case, too. According to the New York Times, “Federal prosecutors investigating former President Donald J. Trump’s handling of national security documents he brought with him from the White House have intensified They have increased their pressure in recent weeks on key witnesses in the hope that they will receive their testimony.” Just Security’s Ryan Goodman tweetedThe Justice Department “appears to be narrowing in on a criminal target: Trump.”
In other words, the legal system has moved on despite the threats of violence and the excess of information. Norman Eisen, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former adviser to House executives during Trump’s first impeachment, said, “Of course, everyone wants to move faster, but it’s moving, there may be a payoff in months ahead.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland is following information and legislation all the way to the Oval Office. State prosecutors in Georgia and New York followed were very active in their work and moving forward on many fronts. Trump’s wealth allows him to use a team of lawyers to push through long after the delay. But that wealth — which was plagued by high legal fees and followed by a civil settlement in New York — did not stop him from risking prosecution.
Cases stemming from the attempted coup, Trump’s finances and the Mar-a-Lago search were never completed. That’s no surprise given the scope and gravity of each inquiry. Just to point out, no one decided to stop the investigation because Trump is a former president.
That gives Americans confidence in prosecutors and the courts. We may still be a nation of laws.