Office Hours: Should Garland criminally prosecute Trump?

There are at least 3 reasons why he should not. How would you respond to them?



The extraordinary hearings of the House select committee on January 6 have provided a roadmap for the criminal prosecution of Trump by Attorney General Merrick Garland. Yesterday’s hearing, featuring Cassidy Hutchinson, was sensational not only in the portrait it painted of a bonkers, out-of-control president, but also in its substantial additional evidence of Trump’s criminality — especially his knowledge that his supporters who arrived in Washington were armed and dangerous and were planning to go to the Capitol to stop the electoral count on January 6, his eagerness to encourage them, his unwillingness to stop them even after the havoc had begun, and the significant probability of his witness tampering.

But at least three reasons have been offered for not criminally prosecuting Trump:

(1) A criminal prosecution requires evidence of criminal intent, but Trump may honestly have believed that the election was stolen from him and that the nation required extraordinary steps to right this wrong.

(2) No former president in history has ever been criminally prosecuted for acts committed while in office, and doing so would establish a dangerous precedent.

(3) Such a criminal prosecution would only deepen the bitter political divide now pulling the nation apart, potentially generating more violence.

So today’s Office Hours question is this: Do you agree with any or all of these reasons for not criminally prosecuting Trump? And if not, why not?

Please comment below. I’ll add my views later today.

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