What a week and it is not even over. Three historic stories broke this week and not in separate and discrete packages. They overlapped and challenged talk show hosts to keep up. The challenge was even greater for writers of op-ed pieces and blogs.
So let me start here with some observations about the still unfolding story of the January 6 House Select Committee.
1. Contrary to ace prognosticator Lindsay Graham, there were no riots in the street when the Committee announced it was referring Donald J. Trump to the Department of Justice on charges of criminal behavior. Although the exact number of charges may have been a surprise, the fact that he was referred was not. So what is the reason for the lack of riots or even any action:
- Because MAGAs do not know it happened
- Because MAGAs are legally savvy and know a Congressional referral has no legal standing
- Because MAGAs think their Lord and Savior, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name will be returned to the White House and all DOJ work against him will cease
- Because MAGAs do not really care one way or another.
We need to keep in mind that the Congressional referrals were hardly a surprise. People were just waiting for them to happen. There is a lesson here for Jack Smith: no surprise actions. Keep the people informed. Give us time for your actions to percolate in our brains so when the moment comes any anger will have been diffused.
2. Mar-a-Lagogate which is not even part of the House Select Committee’s report should be the first charge against a former President. He admitted state the items were his and that he did it. It is a slam dunk case. There is no MAGA issue. And now there is a simply visual and question to support the charge:
WHEN JOE BIDEN LEAVES THE WHITE HOUSE SHOULD HE ABLE TO TAKE THE UKRAINIAN FLAG AS A SOUVENIR?
The answer obviously is “No.” I predict that this charge will not rile up the base beyond the usual denunciations on Foxhub and in Congress.
3. The alternate electors should be the next indictments. All the people who took the Fifth or who did not testify at all will be charged as well. This indictment will include the usual cast of characters known to the American people nationally or in their home state. There will be continual reminders about the MAFIOSO take the Fifth as has started already. Again by the time the indictment are made, they will be no surprise. People are not going to be up in arms over John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, or Scott Perry (except maybe in his Congressional district). These indictments will be more of “everyone knows they are coming so it’s no big deal when it finally happens.”
There are three spinoffs to these indictments.
First, they mean constant media coverage in the states of the alternate electors about the legal actions directed against them. These alternate electors are from the seven battleground states, the states that are critical to who wins or loses presidential elections. That means continual bad press coverage for the leading Republicans in the state who either directly participated in the fraud or who aided and abetted it there. This constant bad coverage against the local Republicans who did try to steal the elections carrying over into 2024 election cycle will be to the detriment of MAGA Republicans and to the advantage of the Democrats.
Second, the indictments mean all the voter suppression laws passed by the Republicans in response to the fraudulent Stop the Steal claims are bogus and should be reversed. If the Republicans are still in the majority at the state level and take no action – let the in our gerrymandered suppressed voters decide – then the Democrats will have an excellent rally cry against the Republican criminal liars who perpetrated the actual attempt to steal the election.
Third, the indictments/convictions against the leading MAGAs in the state will provide an opportunity for Real Republicans to take back their Party given all the openings in the Party structure.
4. Witness tampering is hard to prove so let us wait and see what else is in the transcripts or what the DOJ uncovers.
5. Follow the money should be an easier case to make, but let us be real. The victimized people are MAGAs so how much sympathy does anyone have for them? Even they have not complained.
6. The big one will be the violent insurrection on January 6 itself. Here is where there are many more people to interview including all those who took the Fifth, who defied the Congressional subpoena, or who simply ignored it. This group includes members of the House of Representatives including most likely the Speaker. This investigation will take longer. Some of the people knew exactly what the plan was in the War Room (Bannon, Giuliani, Stone, Meadows, Jordan, and Trump among others). Putting together the pieces will take time.
While there will not be public presentation as with the House Select Committee, there probably will be enough in the news to keep the public informed. Plus there is always the possibility of someone having a “Come to Jesus” moment. How much of their life (and money) do they want to spend on Digital Donny especially if they think he will not be the nominee in 2024 yet alone the victor? They still have lives to live. They know he would throw them under the bus without hesitation. Loyalty is a one way street for him. Over time, some of these people would rather not suffer the consequences of Michael Cohen but even more so. The indictments for January 6 where many people have the opportunity to stew about the consequences to them will be the most complex. They will be ridiculed constantly with video displays of having taken the Fifth.
With the transfer of action from the House Select Committee to the DOJ led by Jack Smith the venue changes. Once the holiday season is over the serious wok of legal indictments accelerates. Collectively this will make 2023 the year of indictments at the Federal level plus at the state, county, and city level in Georgia, New York State, New York City, Westchester County, the District of Columbia and who knows where else. Trump has nothing to look forward to for the rest on this year and in 2023, the Year of Indictments. And there is more to come.