Since Garland was appointed by a Democratic president, his burden of proof is likely higher than the law requires. Any prosecution of a former president should and should be bulletproof.
Biden is reportedly frustrated with the inaction of the DoJ. But by not pressuring Garland, Biden is doing the opposite of what Trump would do.
Democrats and constitutional Republicans must be careful not to endow Garland with superhuman powers. They made that mistake with Robert Mueller, the special counsel whose scathing 2019 report on Trump’s Russia collusion — and obstruction of efforts to investigate it — was neutralized by a more cynical Washington operator.
Garland could be Mueller’s heir. He is a civil servant working by the book in an America that has given up reading. Washington’s brightest are still betting Trump will escape prosecution.
But the savvy must also evaluate the cost of letting Trump get away with it. About 40 percent of America believes the 2020 election has been stolen. It’s a small step from rejecting concrete evidence to swallowing even more obscure myths.
If so many Americans can deny what happened 18 months ago, how easy would it be to convince them that slavery, for example, was a lie? The risk of doing nothing is great. The law cannot be indifferent to the impact of its reluctance.
The conventional wisdom was to judge the January 6 hearings as to whether they would affect public opinion. But it is becoming increasingly clear that their primary target audience is US prosecutors. History anxiously awaits Garland’s decision.