AG Garland Not to Blame for Delay in Prosecuting Trump

The attorney general is not responsible for delays in the prosecution of Trump, asserting that the Justice Department started investigating key figures in the case against Trump's election interference in 2021. Accusations of delay ignore the real-world obstacles that special counsel Jack Smith and his team had to navigate carefully to avoid jeopardizing the case. The Justice Department took overt investigative steps against three of the six alleged co-conspirators identified in Trump's Jan. 6 indictment in 2021, long before Garland appointed Smith to the case.

The department obtained a warrant for one of Clark's private email accounts and would obtain a second one the following day. The August 2023 indictment of Trump describes Clark as co-conspirator 4. Giuliani's telephones were seized in April 2021 as part of a separate investigation, but the DOJ used the special master review to look at all the communications seized, not just those relating to Ukraine.

Prosecutors requested permission to do a privilege review of materials seized from Giuliani's devices on all files that post-dated Jan. 1, 2018, irrespective of the subject, in September 2021. The judge granted the request. There are more than 40 mentions of Giuliani's actions as co-conspirator 1 in Trump's indictment, as well as a reference to a document known to have been found on the devices seized in April 2021.

In September 2021, prosecutor Molly Gaston subpoenaed associates of Sidney Powell as part of an investigation into her fundraising off false claims of voter fraud. Powell's relentless attacks on Dominion Systems in lawsuits are mentioned in one paragraph of the Trump indictment. The delays created by Covid, use of encryption, attorney-client and executive privilege claims were unavoidable, even for the most obvious evidence.

The Justice Department first asked the January 6 Committee for witness transcripts in April 2022. The committee declined to release transcripts until September, causing the delay of another three months. Twice during the trial, prosecutors learned that witnesses had told the committee something they hadn't told the FBI. These instances could jeopardize Trump's trial. Garland's record as attorney general is far from flawless, but criticizing him for the timeline of the Trump election interference case is unjustified.

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