Atlantic journalist Franklin Foer has been closely observing Attorney General Merrick Garland for months, and he now believes that a criminal indictment of the twice-impeached former president is "inevitable."
After offering a disclosure that he has no personal knowledge about whether Garland plans to indict Trump, he nonetheless thinks that the attorney general is preparing to press charges against him because his dedication to the rule of law leaves him with no choice.
"An indictment would be a signal to Trump, as well as to would-be imitators, that no one is above the law," Foer argues. "This is the principle that has animated Garland’s career, which began as the Justice Department was attempting to reassert its independence, and legitimacy, after the ugly meddling of the Nixon years."
Foer then recounts Garland's career at length, and in particular summarizes ample evidence that Garland is, at heart, an institutionalist who would ideally love to avoid indicting Trump and igniting a political firestorm that could lead to a new wave of political violence.
However, he also argues that Trump's behavior has brought out a pugnaciousness in Garland that he had previously not seen.
"When Trump began to assail the search of Mar-a-Lago, Garland asked the court to unseal the inventory of seized documents, essentially calling out the ex-president’s lies," argues Foer. "Rather than passively watching attacks on FBI agents, whom Trump scurrilously accused of planting evidence, Garland passionately backed the bureau. As Trump’s lawyers have tried to use a sympathetic judge to slow down the department’s investigation, Garland’s lawyers have responded with bluntly dismissive briefs, composed without the least hint of deference."
Foer concludes by noting that while Garland will only indict Trump if he believes there is overwhelming evidence against him, he thinks that bar has been met and that the attorney general will act.
"Every time he’s asked about the former president, he responds, 'No one is above the law,'" he writes. "He clearly gets frustrated that his answer fails to satisfy his doubters. I believe that his indictment of Trump will prove that he means it."
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