MSNBC legal analyst Dan Goldman, who served as lead counsel in Donald Trump's first impeachment trial, has been critical of the Department of Justice for its apparent failure to investigate the former president and his associates in connection with the Capitol insurrection.
However, Goldman indicated Thursday that his view has changed slightly in the wake of the DOJ's indictment of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and 10 others associated with the armed extremist group on charges of "seditious conspiracy." They are the first people to face charges of seditious conspiracy in connection with the insurrection.
Goldman, also a former federal prosecutor, called the charges "a bold statement" and noted that there are four cooperating witnesses in the case, which he called "a tremendous number."
"This is a charge that many of us legal experts and analysts who've been watching this have been wondering whether the Department of Justice would go this far," Goldman said. "It is a very, very serious charge. It is effectively a more moderate version of treason."
"So it is absolutely on the table now, and this conspiracy could expand," he added. "The obvious and open question here is whether this conspiracy involved anyone from the White House, the Trump campaign, all the way up to the president himself. We have no idea from this indictment. We have no idea whether others knew about all this pre-planning or effort post-Jan. 6th, but that is the big open question we're left with — who else may be looped into this conspiracy?"
Goldman was later asked by host Nicole Wallace if he's experienced any "softening" in his "exasperation" over the fact that it seems Trump and his associates are not under scrutiny by the DOJ.
"Do you think this changes any of that assessment?" Wallace said.
“I do think this is a demonstration that Donald Trump may be in the broader view, and now as we expand from Jan. 6, it is possible that they are starting to work up," Goldman responded.
"The difficulty in a criminal case is that you must prove that when Donald Trump says, 'Come to Washington, DC, on Jan. 6. It's going to be wild,' that he he knew these military groups would come and either try in some way to overturn the election or interfere with the counting of electoral votes, and that's the gap that's so hard to fill from an evidentiary standpoint. This is the difficult part to prove, and that's why these cooperators — who have likely given the prosecutors their encrypted messages, which is how the prosecutors get them — why getting cooperators is so important, because you need someone on the inside who has had the conversations and can say, 'Yeah, we were coordinating with the White House.' That's how you get beyond these militia groups."
Watch in two parts below.
Dan Goldman on Oath Keepers indictment Part I www.youtube.com
Dan Goldman on Oath Keepers indictment Part II www.youtube.com