By Hal Brown
The Raw Story summary -
- of The New York Times article -
The top staff investigator for the House inquiry on the Capitol attack opened up about his biggest takeaways and why proving intent is the key to a criminal charge against former President Donald J. Trump.
- doesn't do it justice (no pun intended).
Unfortunately you have to subscribe to The New York Times to read the revealing and unnerving interview with Timothy J. Heaphy (Wiki profile), the former U.S. attorney who served as the top staff investigator for the Jan. 6th Committee.
Asked by Luke Broadwater, author of the article (profile), when the J6 Committee realized they would be breaking new ground, Heaphy said it was when the J6 Committee saw how early the multipart plan to stop the transfer of power started to take shape:
The world had seen the violence of the Capitol and how awful it was. But how we got there, and how methodical and intentional it was — this ratcheting up of pressure that ultimately culminates in the president inciting a mob to disrupt the joint session — that was new.
Below, the emphasis in red is mine:
When we started to see intentional conduct, specific steps that appear to be designed to disrupt the joint session of Congress, that’s where it starts to sound criminal. The whole key for the special counsel is intent. The more evidence that we saw of the president’s intent, and others working with him, to take steps — without basis in fact or law — to prevent the transfer of power from happening, it started to feel more and more like possible criminal conduct.
Heaphy was asked by Broadwater to address the failures of law enforcement to prevent the attack on the Capitol and the workings of the J6 Committee, which he did, but the meat of interview as far as I am concerned in how former the former president is implicated in being the leader of an illegal conspiracy. This is in scattered almost wlly-nilly through the interview.
There’s evidence that the specific intent to disrupt the joint session extends beyond President Trump. There is a cast of characters that includes the ones you mentioned (i.e. John Easton and Jefferey Clark). I think you could look at [Rudolph W.] Giuliani, and Mark Meadows. I think that the Justice Department has to look very closely at whether there was an agreement or conspiracy.
As far as I am concerned, the only reason we need to know how far beyond Trump the conspiracy extended, besides bringing the conspirators to justice, is to make an airtight care against the leader of the conspiracy.
There is only one person who must, absolutely must, suffer the consequences for trying to treasonously sabotage our democracy. I don't care whether everyone else goes free, makes a fortune selling tell-all books and getting gigs on Fox News as long as Donald Trump gets one or more fair trials for the felonies there is enough evidence to indict him for having committed.
If he is found innocent because a jury or juries think a case hasn't been made beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed crimes and he walks free, I will have no choice but to deal with my disappointment and anger. I will have to live with my belief, my lack of having a reasonable doubt, that he really did the equivalent of committing a murder on Fifth Avenue and got away with it.
A footnote to history is that Trump is the only president to have said things about getting aways with committing felonies. Another, lest we forget, is "grabbing" line from the Access Hollywood tape. Of course there also are the "perfect" phone calls he made, to Zelensky and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
To understand the meaning of reasonable doubt one must grasp that such a finding does not mean that the person being tried is innocent.
Under U.S. law, a defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty. Reasonable doubt stems from insufficient evidence. If it cannot be proved without a doubt that the defendant is guilty, that person should not be convicted. Verdicts do not necessarily reflect the truth, they reflect the evidence presented. A defendant’s actual innocence or guilt may be an abstraction. (Reference)
A moment of snark:
I meant this to be a serious blog but when someone posted a cartoon on another Raw Story article I didn't resist my impulse to make an illustration to go with it.