Former Attorney General Eric Holder said that once the 1/6 investigation is completed Trump will meet the standards for indictment and prosecution.
Attorney General Holder said on MSNBC, “I don’t think there’s any question that, as I’ve said, by the end of this investigative process, you’re gonna find that Donald Trump has done the necessary things to meet all of the elements, variety of statutes, and also we have shown them the requisite intent in doing those. The tough question is going to be whether or not we’re gonna indict him, given the fact we’ve never done this and the history of our, of this nation.”
Holder was asked why it is a tough question for the DOJ to the indict Trump, and he answered, “Indicting a former president brings into bear a whole bunch of things. It’s gonna be unbelievably divisive. It undermines, in a lot of ways, the continuity that we’ve had. But what you said at the beginning of the show, the notion that the attorney general would look back at a prior administration, and think about going after, that’s what happens in other republics, and other nations. We don’t do that in the United States. We may disagree vehemently with policies that require administration put in place, but to prosecute people in prior administrations, a president of a prior administration is something that we’ve never done. And frankly, really never really considered. “
The Problem Of Institutional Precedent And Indicting Donald Trump
Because the Constitution has stood the test of time by being a general document, our system of governance relies a great deal on norms and institutional precedent.
Attorney General Holder didn’t say that there was anything in the constitution or law that would prevent the DOJ from indicting and prosecuting Trump, but the institutional precedent within the DOJ and the federal government itself makes the decision difficult.
Holder had to speak about potentially indicting and prosecuting Trump because the investigation of the events of 1/6 is not complete, but during his presidency, it must be noted that Trump shattered precedents and norms.
Trump’s presidency was unprecedented in terms of his willingness to violate laws and ignore norms, so given this context, it is impossible to justify relying on institutional precedent to determine whether or not to indict Trump.
There has never been a president who engaged in such violations of the law. Trump’s criminality and attempted coup were unprecedented. Donald Trump needs to be treated as a unique case that must be prosecuted to prevent his behavior from becoming the future presidential norm.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association