Whenever the mainstream media nitwits herald a story as earth-shattering it’s usually not.
That was the case on Monday when the January 6th congressional committee announced its decision to refer former President Donald Trump to the Department of Justice for criminal charges. Wow…nobody saw that coming.
In reality, it was a predictable political gesture from a highly partisan committee —symbolic and little more. Scarcely worth the value of the paper on which it was written. Trees died so it could be printed.
Let’s remember that politicians are prone to grand pronouncements and hyperbolic hysteria. That doesn’t work in a court of law. They are not prosecutors who must prove the necessary elements of crimes beyond a reasonable doubt. There’s a glacial divide between politics and the law. I doubt real prosecutors at the DOJ, who are bound by a very different duty, will pay much attention to the committee’s referrals. They have their own investigation to labor over. The committee’s manic pretensions will be tossed in a circular file.
The referrals themselves are, at best, anemic. One of the main claims is obstruction of a governmental process. That is, Trump worked with others to oppose certification of Biden electors in an effort to overturn the election result. Committee member Jaime Raskin seems to have memory holed the fact that he did the same thing in January of 2017. He and fellow Democrats acted in concert to contest Trump electors. In 2005, Chairman Bennie Thompson voted against Bush electors on the same basis. It’s hard to argue that Trump is guilty of doing something that committee members have done themselves.
The problem is not Trump but the Electoral Count Act of 1887. It is a model of vagueness, ambiguity, and stupidity. For more than 130 years it has been the subject of periodic debate and disagreement because it was so poorly written. If Congress wants to do something constructive —God forbid— fix the Act. Rewrite it with some semblance of intelligence and precision so that it clearly states that the Vice President’s role during the obligatory electoral calculations is purely ministerial, not discretionary.
Another committee referral claims that Trump incited an insurrection. Please. The committee spent 16 months trying to dig up evidence that might tie Trump to some seditious conspiracy and failed spectacularly. Their primary obstacle was Trump’s speech that day in Washington. He urged his supporters to protest “peacefully,” let their voices be heard, and “cheer on” allies in Congress. That’s not incitement to riot or insurrection. In Brandenburg v. Ohio, the Supreme Court ruled that even advocating use of force is protected speech. Only advocating imminent violence is a crime. There’s no evidence Trump did that.
Then there’s that pesky document called the Constitution. It limits the authority of Congress to legislative acts. Prosecutions are an executive function. The committee has no business attempting to usurp the power of another branch of government. Not that the chowderheads on the J-6 merry-go-round would comprehend such fundamental principles.
Their referrals are not just feeble, they’re farcical.