If Garland waits, the Republicans win
Attorney General Merrick Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said they would follow the facts and not artificially exempt anyone from the inquiry. If that’s the case, the people paid to find the facts fail.
The Justice Department has yet to show signs that it is pursuing charges against Trump and his senior advisers who sought to upend the tabulation of the electoral college votes. They can’t wait for Congress to finish the investigation. Waiting would ignore key political considerations.
What if the committee does not conclude its work before Democrats (presumably) lose their majority? What if the committee (foolishly) does not make a criminal referral to the Justice Department, thereby seeming to play down the viability of criminal culpability?
Suppose the attorney general plans not to bring charges against Trump and his inner circle. He does not appreciate the mischief a Republican Congress could unleash on the Justice Department (defunding it, impeaching the attorney general). Moreover, filing charges after Republican victories in the midterms could give the appearance of a desperate effort to slow down the GOP’s political momentum. If the goal is to avoid making the department seem political, waiting for Congress and the midterms is no way to go about it.
Republican wins in the midterms would be a disaster. Biden and the rest of the party must paint an accurate picture of a Republican-led Congress. Chaos. Vicious partisanship. Gridlock.
Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), have already indicated they’ll look for every opportunity to impeach Biden. A group of Republicans filed impeachment articles last year. Does anyone think 2024 Republican presidential contenders won’t leap at the chance to push for impeachment proceedings?
Republicans have also made clear they have no qualms about shutting down the government, defaulting on the debt, and holding up key nominees for critical national security positions. Should another Supreme Court justice retire or die, no one can seriously believe the party that denied President Barack Obama even a hearing on his Supreme Court pick would allow consideration of Biden’s. These are not invented concerns; they are things Republicans have already tried or promised to do.
The attacks on Republicans are so evident and abundant; it is a wonder what Democrats are waiting for. It is hard to get a wild, diverse party on the same page, but the problem begins in the Oval Office. Unless and until Biden drops the “Republicans aren’t so bad — we can work with them!” fantasy and uses the bully pulpit to pound away at the threat posed by Republicans, Democratic voters won’t see much urgency in turning out in November.
If Garland insists on foot-dragging, perhaps President Biden should ask federal judge David O. Carter to take over as attorney general. He seems to know quite a bit about a compelling criminal case.