Donald Trump Is About to Go Through Hell | Opinion

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Donald Trump Is About to Go Through Hell | Opinion

Donald Trump got his much-deserved referrals this week:

To the judiciary, recommending his criminal prosecution for attempting to thwart the peaceful transfer of political power. And DOJ special counsel Jack Smith should waste no time acting in the House of Representatives referrals.


On Monday, January 6 the committee made four criminal referrals to the DOJ – obstruction of an official act of Congress, conspiracy to defraud the United States, inciting or aiding a rebellion, and conspiracy to make a false statement, all of which stem from the former.

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The president’s post-election plan to overturn the results of the 2020 election and his incitement and subsequent inaction when his supporters stormed the Capitol during the election vote count.

The committee’s 154-page executive summary begins with a 17-point play-by-play account of Trump’s alleged crimes, detailing how Trump and his followers conspired to fabricate allegations of election fraud, attempting to illegally create alternative slates of voters to submit to Congress.

Pressured DOJ officials to make false statements, leaned on state officials to change their election results, strong-armed members of Congress protesting the results, knowingly sent an armed mob to the Capitol from his rally on January 6, 2021, and an inflammatory sent tweets that put former Vice President Mike Pence in mortal danger during the riots and then unscientifically watched the riots on television without using the power of his office.

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The House Select Committee met on December 19 in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to investigate the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

The broad outline of this sordid story, well-known for two years, is still disturbing to see such a series of grotesque events recounted in textbook style for posterity. The DOJ will act quickly on these unprecedented referrals if it doesn’t want to invite every future president to commit crime after crime with impunity.

I appreciate the fear of those who believe that Trump committed this crime, that his trial could dangerously inflame his supporters, further polarize the country, and possibly lead to violence. No one thinks that prosecuting or jailing a former president is ridiculous.


Should, and no one should be under the illusion that a successful prosecution will somehow break the fever of conspiratorial thinking and paranoia now gripping the GOP base. But these objections are misguided and no longer rooted in any objective reading of the situation.

Democrats have made the threat to American democracy posed by Trump and his allies a central focus of their midterm election campaign. Not only did Trump’s supporter’s riot, but their political standard-bearers also lost a succession of statewide elections, and most went quietly along with Arizona’s Curry Lake, which The Bulwark’s Tim Miller calls “The Empress of Trollistan.” The FBI’s August raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound, which observers worried would inflame the MAGA public, actually helped Democrats, perhaps by convincing rank-and-file defenders of democracy that they don’t have to do all the work themselves.

Damon Linker made the best case for prosecuting Trump around the 2024 election, and one of his concerns was that going after Trump would make it more likely that “fights will break out in several states over vote counting, ballot rejection rules, certification of vote totals, electors.” Recruitment.” But election deniers are paying off their campaign debts instead of camping out in the Secretary of State’s office, a nightmare scenario a far more distant order than it was two months ago.


Fears of a MAGA uprising in the wake of Trump’s trial and conviction are mostly a ludicrous fantasy, designed to get the law-abiding majority to acquiesce to rampant criminal behavior at the highest levels of government. But far-right terrorism is a growing problem, and the danger of society-wide political bloodshed is almost certain.

Now, the DOJ is under no obligation to act on the committee’s recommendations. In July 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey announced that he would not prosecute Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for using a private email server while serving as secretary of state. No, then the GOP heads of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee made a criminal referral to the DOJ about his marathon testimony to a special House panel on the Benghazi incident in October 2015.

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That referral went nowhere. Trump, on the other hand, is almost certainly going through hell.

David Faris is an associate professor of political science at Roosevelt University and the author of It’s Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics. His writing has appeared in The Week, The Washington Post, The New Republic, Washington Monthly, and more.

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