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Election year sensitivities


Oh brother.

Simply put, partisan politics must play no role in the decisions of federal investigators or prosecutors regarding any investigations or criminal charges. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of public statements (attributed or not), investigative steps, criminal charges, or any other action in any matter or case for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party. Such a purpose, or the appearance of such a purpose, is inconsistent with the Department’s mission and with the Principles of Federal Prosecution.

And what authority does Merrick Garland, Institutionalist Par Excellence, adduce for this statement in this particular context?

Why none other than Man of Unquestionable Integritude and Principle William Barr:

Finally, Department employees must also adhere to the additional requirements issued by the Attorney General on February 5, 2020, governing the opening of criminal and counter­ intelligence investigations by the Department, including its law enforcement agencies, related to politically sensitive individuals and entities. See Memorandum ofAttorney General William Barr, Additional Requirements for the Opening of Certain Sensitive Investigations, February 5, 2020 (“February 2020 AG Memorandum”).

Now I am but a simple fake country lawyer, but how exactly does the DOJ avoid even “the appearance of a partisan political purpose” in its charging decisions, when one of the two major political parties in this country is explicitly campaigning for the rapidly approaching fall election on the proposition that any investigation of the unpleasant events of November 2020-January 2021 is a partisan witch hunt?

Sounds challenging!

I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that the publication of this memo led today to some high sounding rhetoric from a “visibly animated” Garland that nobody is above the law in this country:

During a press conference, a visibly animated Garland twice said that “no person” was above the law when pressed specifically about Trump, whom Democrats say incited the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection over his unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud in 2020. Democrats also cite Trump’s larger, months-long campaign to try and reverse his election loss. (Trump insists he did nothing wrong.)

The Department of Justice has been prosecuting various cases related to the rioting last January.

“There is a lot of speculation about what the Justice Department is doing, what’s it not doing, what our theories are and what our theories aren’t, and there will continue to be that speculation,” the attorney general said Wednesday. “That’s because a central tenant of the way in which the Justice Department investigates and a central tenant of the rule of law is that we do not do our investigations in the public.”

I’ve never wanted to be wrong about anything more in my life than about my belief that Garland isn’t going to prosecute Trump. And if the Congressional 1/6 hearings are putting real heat on him to do that, all the better.

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