Criminal charges against Trump draws major support

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In the instant aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that a 54 percent bulk of Americans believed Donald Trump should be criminally charged for prompting the riot. As the Post reported today, public mindsets apparently have not changed much.

Sixteen months after the lethal attack on the U.S. Capitol, a small majority of Americans say former president Donald Trump should be charged with a criminal offense for advising his supporters to march to the structure on Jan. 6, 2021, according to a Washington Post-ABC News survey. The poll discovers 52 percent saying Trump should be charged and 42 percent stating he should not.

In the abstract, results like these may seem like little more than political curiosities. After all, indictments are not the outcomes of appeal contests.

But as a practical matter, it's not quite that easy. A range of authorities in positions of authority have decisions to make about how, whether, and when to hold the former president responsible for his supposed misbehavior, and the fact that many Americans support charging Trump is most likely to assist stiffen spinal columns.

The New York Times reported a month earlier, for example, that as far as congressional private investigators on the Jan. 6 committee are concerned, there's adequate proof that Trump broke the law by blocking a congressional proceeding and conspiring to defraud the American people. Members of the bipartisan panel, however, have reportedly had a hard time to come to a consensus about whether to make a criminal recommendation to the Justice Department.

2 weeks earlier, a federal judge released a judgment in a civil case that concluded Trump "likely attempted to obstruct the joint session of Congress" on Jan. 6, which would be a criminal offense.

Judge David Carter added, "The illegality of the plan was obvious. Based on the proof, the Court finds it most likely than not that President Trump corruptly tried to obstruct the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021."

A Washington Post report added soon after," [Judge Carter's] ruling does not mean Trump will be charged with a criminal activity, or perhaps examined. However the viewpoint will increase pressure on the Justice Department to magnify its probe of the Jan. 6 riot, and potentially take a look at the conduct of Trump himself. While Attorney General Merrick Garland has promised to hold accountable those responsible for the violent breach of the Capitol 'at any level,' there have been scant signs that the Justice Department is straight investigating Trump's conduct."

Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman added, "At this point, it's difficult to see how the Justice Department can tenably refrain from a full criminal investigation into whether Trump broke laws in connection with Jan. 6. [N] ot doing the investigation at all would indicate the legal system doesn't even attempt to respond to a fundamental concern here-- whether Trump's extremely corrupt effort to subvert our political order amounts to criminality-- to the degree that's obviously necessitated."

I do not doubt that Garland fears a political reaction, but that's why the polling matters. A bipartisan House select committee, a highly regarded federal jurist who's thoroughly evaluated the proof, and most Americans all agree: Trump should be charged.

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