The testimony from the January 6th committee hearing has rocked the nation. It has democrats looking for answers and republicans defending former President Donald Trump. The American people, both red and blue have questions. The biggest one? Is the testimony from these hearings enough to indict Trump?
Georgetown University Professor, MSNBC legal analyst, and author of “Chokehold: Policing Black Men,” Paul Butler talks with Russ and explains while there may be enough to get an indictment, the question for Attorney General Merrick Garland maybe is a charge worth it?
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Read the interview below
Russ Parr: On the phone line ladies and gentlemen, he is a Georgetown University professor. He’s a law professor, MSNBC legal analyst, author of “Chokehold: Policing Black Men,” and one of the sharpest legal minds on television. Paul Butler, how’re you doing this morning, sir?
Paul Butler: I’m good because I’m on one of the best morning shows on the radio.
Russ: There we go! It’s a stroke fest, ladies and gentlemen! I appreciate that man. So listen, Paul, of course, you know, the other day during the hearings, you know, people are going, how much more do they need to indict the former President of the United States? Is what he’s doing other than having a super temper tantrum against the law?
Butler: How many laws are it against? At least three federal laws” obstruction of official perceiving, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and Sedition using violence to try to overthrow the government because what’s what we heard yesterday was that Trump wanted to join the angry mob. He wanted to invite the insurrection at the scene of the crime. And he knew that these people were armed and dangerous. And he was more concerned about protecting them than he was the Vice President. There was like a metal detector and Trump was told these people they’re not they can’t come into this perimeter, security perimeter where you’re speaking, Mr. President because they’re armed and dangerous. Trump said oh’, they’re not gonna hurt me. Let them in.”
Russ: Because it’s about optics. For him. It’s optics, he has this weird fetish about crowd sizes and things like that. So I mean, I think that whole move because they’re now trying to discredit this lady Chasity Hutchinson, saying there’s no way that Trump lunged at the driver because in the beast, there’s so much equipment, there’s no way he can get to it. Well, it turns out, they weren’t driving in the beast, they were driving in a regular SUV. And personally, just for me to speculate, is that I think that was all show for Trump, that’s part of an act. Hey, look, it’s gonna get back to everybody that I tried to get out there and I tried to go at my own security. I thought that was a big act because I think he’s fraudulent, but that’s my personal opinion. But I have to ask you at some point, you know, with all the testimony, and these people are testifying under oath, I want you to explain to the audience, what happens when you lie when you’re under oath?
Butler: You can go to jail unless you’re the President of the United States. And again, Trump was careful about what he said under oath but federal prosecutors take lying to the FBI or lying when you’re sworn to tell the truth very seriously. So the cliche is it’s always the cover-up. But if its witness intimidation or Trump, for his folks are trying to get people not to talk or not to tell the truth. That’s even more criminal exposure.
Russ: Which we found out the other day also that they were basically intimidating witnesses. So I have to ask you, people are really frustrated with Mr. Garland. The DOJ ,if they do nothing do they have enough that the DOJ can go okay, it’s time to really indict some people? Do they have enough?
Butler: Yeah. So Russ, your other two considerations for the Attorney General of the United States: The first is they definitely have enough right now to prosecute Trump. The question is, could they get a jury to convict? That means they’d have to persuade 12 people beyond a reasonable doubt that he did it. I think there’s enough evidence. You know, I think they’re also a little bit concerned because there’s never been a prosecution of a president for a crime. But the other question is, is a prosecution in the best interest of the country? Even if you think Trump did it. Would a prosecution be so divisive, that it just wouldn’t be worth it? And I think that was his testimony that we heard yesterday. Again, once this isn’t some crime committed on paper. This is blood and gore, we’re talking about knives and guns that the President authorized. And so when you think about the public interest here, come on man? No person is supposed to be above the law. What would the message be if Trump was allowed to get away with this?
Russ: So if you’re a betting man, you think that charges are on their way?
Butler: It’s up to Merrick Garland. It’s up to the Attorney General. I certainly think that he should charge you know, he calls himself an institutionalist. At this point, if you’re that concerned about the Justice Department’s reputation, as you certainly should be, you have to prosecute because if you don’t you send the message again, that some people can get away with insurrection, with incitement with sedition.
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