Jan. 6 Hearings Were Aimed at Merrick Garland
Author: Greg Valliere
July 22, 2022
THIS STORY IS FAR FROM OVER, as the spotlight shifts to the next key player: Attorney General Merrick Garland, who seemingly has enough evidence — a mountain of evidence — to indict Donald Trump.
WE HAVEN’T WRITTEN MUCH ABOUT THE HEARINGS because we write about issues that affect the markets, and there has been virtually no impact for investors as the evidence piles up. That could change, as Trump launches another presidential campaign that the markets will have to follow because it’s conceivable that Trump could win the GOP nomination.
YOU UNDERESTIMATE TRUMP at your own peril; he’s a street fighter who mocks opponents with a ferocity that we have never seen before. And his favored Republican in Maryland — a far-right Republican — won that state’s gubernatorial primary this week, a huge blow to the presidential ambitions of Larry Hogan, the moderate GOP governor.
MORE AMERICANS HAVE WATCHED the hearings than we anticipated; a little more than 50% of the public has been paying attention. There are two narratives: one, that Trump encouraged the riot and did nothing to stop it, in a desperate attempt to reverse the election, which he lost. Two, Trump has already won the impeachment trial, and there were no Republicans on the committee who could have cross-examined witnesses.
IT WAS A CONVINCING SHOW, slick and disturbing, and while it probably moved the needle among Americans against Trump, the bigger impact was on mainstream Republicans — especially those in Congress — who have no stomach for Donald Trump. They would prefer another nominee, a conservative like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
TRUMP KNOWS THIS, which is a reason why he may announce his candidacy by fall. It would give him the publicity he craves, and might deflect attention if Garland
indicts him on charges of conspiracy, inciting a riot, witness tampering, etc.
GARLAND PROBABLY WOULD NOT INDICT until after the Nov. 8 election; anything sooner would be viewed as an attempt to sway the election. Regardless of when he might indict, a bigger issue is that Garland could fuel Trump’s enormous sense of grievance, allowing him to claim an unfair “witch hunt.”
WHAT LOOKED LIKE A FAIRLY EASY CALL on the November election — Republicans taking the House while the Senate stays close to tied — could be scrambled if Trump enters soon and makes this year’s election largely about him. This infuriates Mitch McConnell and most Washington Republicans, who want the election to be about the future and issues like inflation and crime, not about re-litigating the 2020 election.
GARLAND FEARS THAT INDICTING TRUMP would divide the country even more, if that’s possible, but the Attorney General said recently that “no one is above the law.” So indictment will stay on the table, even though voters are more concerned about economic and social issues; abortion has been a far more potent catalyst than either party anticipated.
TRUMP’S CHANCES OF ANOTHER TERM are slim but they aren’t zero. Could an indicted president win re-election? After the events of the past few years, anything is possible.
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