(New York) As a former United States Attorney in Michigan, Barbara McQuade is well acquainted with the workings of the American judiciary and in particular the department called upon to prosecute Donald Trump for his role in what the Commission of the 6th Janvier called a “coup attempt.” . The press spoke to the now law professor at the University of Michigan to get her impressions of the commission’s first hearings.
Posted at 5:00 am
Q: Members of the January 6 commission appear determined to convince the US Department of Justice to file criminal charges against Donald Trump. How are you?
A: They’re not done yet, of course, but so far I think they’ve presented a compelling case. Of course, if you are prosecuting a criminal case, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by a unanimous jury. It’s a heavier burden.
However, I think they did a great job presenting evidence of Donald Trump’s criminal intent, ie he knew what he said was a lie. He knew he lost the election, but he kept telling people the election was stolen. I thought last Monday’s hearing did a great job of showing loyal and trustworthy advisors who told him he had lost the election. That [l’ancien procureur général des États-Unis] William Barr had to say was more exhausting and devastating than I expected.
Q: What charges could be brought against Trump?
A: I think there are three options. The first allegation allegedly accuses Trump of participating in a conspiracy to obstruct an official process, in this case Congressional confirmation of the 2020 presidential election on January 6, 2021.
The easiest way to prove these charges is to convince Mike Pence not to confirm the election. Trump pressured the vice president to refuse to do the work that the law and the constitution say he should do. And he based his claim on a lie.
This would be enough to show that his mindset was corrupt and wrong and that he did something to try to prevent the government from functioning legally. Trump could also face charges of conspiracy to defraud the US government.
Q: What is this?
A: This is an accusation that could be based on the same evidence as the first. Trump pressured Pence to refuse to confirm the election, knowing he was doing so on the basis of a lie.
But it could also include broader behavior, such as asking states to submit alternative voter lists based on a lie to convince the American public that Dominion Corporation’s voting machines are swinging votes from Trump to Biden, pressure [le secrétaire d’État de la Géorgie] Brad Raffensperger is said to “find” 11,780 votes.
Finally, Trump could also be charged with seditious conspiracy, of which members of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers have already been charged. It would need to be proven that Trump agreed with at least one other person to use force to prevent the votes from being authenticated on January 6, 2021. So far, I don’t think we have any evidence that Trump was associated with these groups, but it could come.
Q: Do you think impeaching Donald Trump is desirable?
A: It’s a very difficult decision. On the one hand, it would set a dangerous precedent. Do we want to be a country where every president considers criminal charges against his predecessor?
On the other hand, if they have enough evidence that Donald Trump was trying to undermine our democracy, I think it’s so bad it can’t go unanswered.
It seems to me that when you balance these two things, you just can’t ignore harmful behavior. One of the reasons we prosecute criminals is to stop this behavior. And I think we need to do everything we can to hold people accountable to stop this behavior in the future.
Q: Do you have reason to doubt that US Attorney General Merrick Garland has what it takes to make the right decision?
A: I have no reason to doubt it. In fact, I think he’s fine because if he does file a criminal complaint, it’ll be all the more devastating because he played by the rules, stayed above the fray, and didn’t speak out publicly until the charges were filed.
A long-awaited witness
On Jan. 2, 2021, Donald Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the state’s election planner, to ask him to “find 11,780 votes,” enough to beat Joe Biden in the Peach State.
Raffensperger not only resisted the president’s pressure, he recorded the conversation. And he will testify Tuesday before the Jan. 6 commission on the appeal that has already prompted the Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Trump and members of his entourage.
Raffensperger will be joined by his right-hand man Gabriel Sterling, who has also faced pressure and threats from allies and supporters of the former president following the 2020 presidential election.
Media Agency France