The January 6th public hearings have surpassed expectations by not just proving Donald Trump guilty in the court of public opinion, but also unearthing enough evidence to likely prove him guilty in a court of law. While there was never any particular reason to believe the DOJ wouldn’t end up indicting Trump, there is now clear reason to expect the DOJ will indict Trump.
That said, the DOJ moves at its own pace, aimed at bringing criminal charges that are as broad as they are comprehensive. Rather than moving as quickly as possible and risking the possibility of what would be a devastating acquittal at trial, the DOJ would prefer to take the time necessary to indict someone like Trump on a dozen charges and flip three co-conspirators against him in order to ensure high odds of conviction.
Of course if the DOJ is indicting Trump, it likely won’t be the only jurisdiction to do so. Fulton County Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis has gone so far as to empanel a rare “special grand jury” in order to speed up her election-related criminal case against Donald Trump, so it doesn’t have to wait for grand jury time behind any other ongoing criminal cases.
More to the point, Willis recently had Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger testify against Trump to the grand jury. Now she’s having Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp testify against Trump to the grand jury.
Putting top state officials such as the sitting Governor and Secretary of State in front of a grand jury is an extraordinary move. If you’re a District Attorney, these are not people whose bells you ring on this kind of thing unless you already know you’re going to have enough evidence to indict, and you’ve already decided to indict, and you expect to win at trial.
Up to now, DA Willis has done little to reveal her timeframe. Her special grand jury is empaneled through 2023, but that’s never an indicator of how long a DA expects the case to take, and is instead a failsafe in case things end up running unexpectedly long. But with Willis now getting grand jury testimony from the highest profile witnesses involved in her case, it suggests she’s a lot further along than some observers thought she was.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report