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Here we go…

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I’ve maintained from the very start that the real purpose of the January 6th Committee was to educate the public about Donald Trump’s crimes and influence public opinion. All along, the question of whether the committee should make an essentially symbolic criminal referral against Trump has merely been a sideshow, something that the media and pundit class has used to try to gin up ratings and retweets. After all, this kind of referral simply carries no weight in a case like this, given that the DOJ already has an active grand jury in the process of indicting Trump for the same kinds of crimes.

As we head into a Monday public hearing that increasingly looks like it will indeed result in a criminal referral against Donald Trump on multiple serious charges, my stance hasn’t changed. For all the pundit noise we’re about to hear about how this referral will supposedly “place pressure” on the DOJ to bring charges, it’s still nonsense. The DOJ is already in the grand jury stage with this. The only way “pressure” would be relevant is if you buy into the laugh out loud ridiculous notion that Merrick Garland has been hiding under his desk and doing “nothing.” Then again, this same media and pundit class spent all year pushing that exact same nonsense, even as Garland and his DOJ were diligently working through the grand jury process.

Still, this criminal referral against Trump can only be seen as good news. It means that, if nothing else, the January 6th Committee believes it’s uncovered sufficient proof of Trump’s guilt that this referral has no chance of blowing up in its face politically down the road. It also perhaps – perhaps – means that the committee expects the DOJ is going to indict Trump anyway, so the committee wants to be seen as having gotten in on the action, so to speak.

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Of course now that a criminal referral is going to be made, some within the media and pundit class will finally acknowledge that such a referral doesn’t carry any weight, so they can use it as an excuse to push doomsday narratives about how Trump will still get away with it all.


The bottom line is that various people will get out of this final January 6th Committee public hearing whatever they want to get out of it. People who think this stuff all happens by magic wand will convince themselves that this symbolic and powerless referral is what will send Trump through a trap door, and not the DOJ’s ongoing grand jury indictment process. People who want to believe Trump is going to get away with it all, so they can feel outrage about Trump getting away with it all, will find a way to come away with that conclusion. And a bunch of folks in the media will go on, and on, and on about how “devastating” it’ll be for our democracy if the DOJ doesn’t act on this criminal referral – all while ignoring the fact that the DOJ is already deep into the grand jury indictment stage against Trump for these same crimes.

Meanwhile back in the real world, Special Counsel Jack Smith will decide when Donald Trump will be criminally indicted, and on what charges. The DOJ was being aggressive in its pursuit of Trump before Smith was appointed, and it’s been even more aggressive since Smith was appointed. Trump is going to be indicted, and it’s going to happen fairly soon. That’s now obvious to everyone except those who don’t want to see it. This criminal referral is just a preemptive cherry on top.

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