Washington: Republican aides and strategists expect Attorney General Merrick Garland to peruse an indictment of former President Donald Trump within 60 to 90 days after Election Day; a move that probably would end the former president’s attempts to run for president in 2024.
Republican aides on Capitol Hill and veteran party strategists say Garland is under heavy pressure from Democrats to act and the deadline for pursuing an indictment is fast approaching.
“A couple of weeks after the election, I assume that Garland will indict Trump,” said one veteran Republican aide, according to The Hill.
A second Republican aide warned an indictment “could actually end up helping the [former] president politically.”
They warned that the backlash will be stronger if Garland brings an indictment once Trump’s expected 2024 presidential campaign is up and running.
There are actually two different investigatory probes that could lead to indictments of Trump.
One is related to the documents taken from the White House and found at Mar-a-Lago, while the other concerns the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
On January 6, Trump gave a provocative speech to his supporters, refusing to concede his election loss, and the crowd proceeded to march on Capitol Hill, breaching the perimeter, attacking security guards, and sending lawmakers running for their safety.
Following the final hearing of the congressional investigation into the riot, the Department of Justice has been urged to bring criminal charges against Trump.
“The decision Garland has to make is really tough,” said the second Republican aid, who at the same time warned that any prosecution would “plunge the country which is already so divided … into a potentially precarious situation.”
GOP aides and strategists warn there’s a risk of political violence in response to any indictment against the former president.
Trump threatened last month that if the Department of Justice indicts him, “you’d have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before.”
“I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it,” he said.
Trump has not made a formal announcement of his decision to run for president, but has given every indication that he will launch another bid for the White House next year.
Republican aides, however, said they don’t have any inside information on what Garland might do.
Garland has been showing little indication of whether he will charge the former president.
Republican aides warn that an indictment of Trump by the administration of President Joe Biden would further polarize the nation and likely strengthen Trump’s support from the Republican Party’s base.
Trump and his allies have repeatedly described the Department of Justice’s case against him as a political witch hunt.