Last Saturday’s Trump rally speech, his first since the SCOTUS 8-1 opinion that tore up any ability to hide behind executive branch privileges, changed everything. In Trump’s first ever public speech after the statement, his sudden proclamation nowIt appears that the January 6 defendants are being treated “just so unfairly” and the promise to consider pardons if necessary sent – quite obviously – a message. It was not a message to those people who fought for him on January 6, 2021. They’re fodder, they’ve served their purpose.
Discussing their situation now serves Trump a new purpose.
It was a message to those who are considering testifying against him now or maybe fighting for him now, now bearing legal ramifications on his behalf, the likes of Mark Meadows or even Pence himself, a promise that “if” he’ll be back in 2024 his office wins, people who have kept their mouths shut and suffered consequences will also be forgiven – if everyone is just right to him, he will see that they suffer no consequences. It can also be a promise to anyone who “demonstrates” on his behalf should they be called upon to do so, if Trump is charged with calling for the largest demonstrations in history should the racist, vicious prosecutors “illegally” charge him .
BREAKING: President Trump promises to pardon Jan. 6 prisoners if he runs and wins in 2024 pic.twitter.com/teYbYNBcuB
– RSBN 🇺🇸 (@RSBNetwork) January 30, 2022
Trump doubled down on the threat on Tuesday:
Trump: I would definitely forgive them if things don’t go fairly pic.twitter.com/JeTXJadoQY
— Acyn (@Acyn) February 2, 2022
Today, Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) of the Special Committee told CNN that Trump absolutely manipulated the witnesses by bringing up pardons for the Jan. 6 defendants.
“And I think the question is more coming from my colleagues across the aisle, you know where – where are they? Do you support that? When is enough enough?”
Well, on that issue, regarding pardons for actual participants on January 6, 2021, his peers have largely opposed the proposal. Even Lindsay Graham said it was inappropriate. But again, Lindsey Graham was referring to possible pardons for past deeds, although she knew the current purpose. Aguilar’s allegation and Graham’s assessment actually relate to the testimony’s impact on current witnesses, and from a practical standpoint he is certainly right that it is a message meant to be heard and acted upon by current witnesses.
how do we know Because it lamentably falls short of criminal witness manipulation for current witnesses against either January 6 witnesses or potential witnesses against him now. According to Google’s layman’s definition of witness tampering, witness tampering occurs when:
There is tampering with witnesseswhen someone attempts to induce a person to make a false statement, to withhold statements or informationor stay away from proceedings to which the witness has been summoned.
It would be impossible for a prosecutor to add Trump’s rally statement as a current witness tampering charge. Trump has not made the testimony now or in the future and has not threatened anyone who might testify against the current defendants. If anything, it was a threat to the DOJ, a threat to undo all their work.
But that is the legal level of witness manipulation. There is a second level and that is just the practical implications and Aguilar’s argument goes to the second definition because the select committee is neither a court nor a prosecutor and at that practical level it can make an indictment. Aguilar did not indicate adding an indictment to their investigation, his question was aimed at Trump’s supporters in Congress and the Senate; “Regarding this coded message, when is enough enough?” (Paraphrased).
It is an extremely important question as we are seeing some movement in the MAGA political crowd away from Trump and perhaps some of that towards DeSantis which Trump senses is gaining popularity thus opening the divide. Again, Lindsey Graham’s comment is revealing: No, that wasn’t appropriate.
We should all be on the lookout for more and more statements from Trump as he panics. Everything indicates that witnesses are now trying to shift just as much responsibility directly onto Trump and themselves. It was inevitable when the incident has been adequately investigated.From all appearances, the DOJ wasn’t willing to conduct the investigation (it hasn’t even charged Meadows yet), but that doesn’t make the investigation into Trump any less real or the facts any less compelling, nor does it mean that the testimony won’t serve Trump block and punish, in the future also outside of courts.
Aguilar was right, Lindsay Graham was right, but this is politics, not criminal charges. It doesn’t matter, the impact will be damaging either way.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, columnist, author, and attorney. Originally from Canada, he grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, for which he becomes more grateful every day. Now he’s enjoying life as a single father, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast and taking advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He’s the dreamy mystic who has nothing to add and loves dogs more than most people. He also enjoys studying Cooking, Theoretical Physics, Cosmology and Quantum Mechanics. He likes pizza.
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