That’s exactly what the prosecutors have to do: Collect evidence, assess the law impartially and prosecute, if necessary, anyone who participated in the crime – even if one of those people is the President (or soon to be the former President) of the United States.

Criminal proceedings have even been initiated against President Donald Trump for his role in the attack on Capitol Hill. This is not an easy case or an automatic victory for the prosecution. But any prosecutor who has the courage to file a lawsuit can do so with justice. And the ability to defend oneself against Trump’s team of lawyers can be used to defend oneself.

To understand why, let’s start with the evidence. None of this is up for discussion. It is based solely on Mr Trump’s actions and public statements.

In the beginning Trump enthusiastically promoted the Caucus. Simply put: The rebels would never have stormed Washington without Trump’s appeal with the fundamental lie at the heart of his whole affair: that the elections were somehow stolen from him and that the results must not be upheld.

He tweeted at least four times to his 88 million followers about the January 6 rally, which coincides with the official certification of the election results by Congress, and promised to attend the event with fireworks: Be there, be wild! At one point, a supporter twittered: The head [sic] is coming, Mr. President. Trump answered: A great honor. (Also remember: when asked in a debate in September if he was not prepared to condemn white supremacists, Tromp answered: Proud boys, step aside and be ready).

Fault! The file name is not specified.

The sixth. In January, just before the siege, Trump fired on the troops. Just before Trump took the microphone, his increasingly insane personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, urged Trump’s supporters to fight in court. Then Trump stood in front of a crowd of thousands of people, many waving Trump flags and singing in front of Trump, some flapping Confederate flags. Trumpet, we’re going to Capitol Hill. And we will encourage our brave senators, congressmen and women. And we probably won’t encourage some of them like that. Because you’ll never take our country back with a weakness. You have to be strong. You have to be strong.

The crowd roared.

Moments later, Trump’s crowd descended on the Capitol – as he had ordered – and tore the place apart. They broke windows, destroyed property, entered forbidden areas and shed blood. Five people are dead.

Fault! The file name is not specified.

Even after the rebels had wreaked unprecedented havoc, and even after he had told his followers to leave, Tromp celebrated what they had done. Go home in love and peace. Remember this day forever! He tweeted. We love you. You’re very special. Go home, he said to his faithful disciples. He rationalized these things and events by praising the people who had just invaded the police and stormed Capitol Hill like great patriots.

Don’t forget: The trump card came after crowds stormed the Capitol, destroyed sacred federal property, hid members of Congress under their desks, and spilled the blood of American citizens.

What federal criminal laws may apply here? I see at least three categories.

Firstly, incitement to riot is a federal offence defined as disorderly conduct in which at least one person commits violence in a meeting of three or more people, resulting in damage to property or personal injury. There is no doubt that the people who physically invaded the Capitol meet the definition of a riot, and more. The only question is whether Mr. Trump induced them to act.

Fault! The file name is not specified.

Mr Trump’s defence is likely to be that he is engaged in inflammatory political rhetoric protected by the First Amendment, but that he did not specifically incite anyone to commit a crime. But based on the jury’s testimony, I’d say Trump’s words crossed the line: Step aside and be there, be fierce, we’re going to the Capitol, you must show strength, remember this day forever, great patriots. Prosecutors often ask jurors to use their common sense in assessing the evidence. Any reasonable person can understand the obvious meaning of Mr Trump’s repeated calls to action.

Second, a number of federal laws make it an offense to commit illegal acts on the grounds of Capitol Hill, to enter restricted federal government buildings without authorization, and to destroy federal property. There’s no doubt the pro-Trump rioters broke those laws. The only question is whether Trump is legally responsible in any way. I would invoke federal law against complicity. In essence, the law states that even if a person does not commit a crime with his or her own hands, he or she is still liable if he or she helps, assists, advises, commands, incites to commit the crime. Choose your verb. I am convinced that Mr Trump’s words and deeds also meet this standard.

Third: It’s an uprising. It’s a dramatic word, but the specific definition of inflammatory conspiracy in federal criminal law is quite simple: conspiracy to overthrow, overthrow, or destroy the United States government by force… or to seize, apprehend or possess U.S. property in violation of U.S. authority. I’ll concentrate on the last position. There is no need to prove that the intention was to overthrow the entire government – although there are arguments for doing so – as long as the prosecutor can prove that the intention was to take control of a federal building without permission. There’s no doubt, that’s exactly what the rioters did, minutes after Trump ordered them to go to Capitol Hill and use force.

Looking back on all this, Trump rises for the first time in the history of our nation. According to the New York Times, Trump recently offered a pardon to his assistants.

We simply don’t know if self-forgiveness will be legitimate, especially since no previous president has ever fallen into corruption and complacency to such an extent. I have every right to forgive myself, tweeted Trump in 2018. The argument for self-forgiveness is simple: The constitutional right to pardon is broad and does not explicitly prohibit pardon. In summary, the argument against this draft is that the framers of the Constitution despise self-harm and that a pardon would be the ultimate violation of this principle. The Ministry of Justice studied the issue in 1974 and concluded that a car pardon would be invalid. Even Giuliani, of all people, thought that a grace was unthinkable in 2018.

Of course, this is important because self-forgiveness (if true) would exempt Trump from federal prosecution for the crimes of assaulting Capitol Hill. And since the events took place in Washington – which falls under federal jurisdiction only – it is unlikely that any charges will be brought against him against the state.

I have no illusions about how hard it would be for a prosecutor to sue the president. There’s enough evidence for an indictment and, I suppose, a conviction…. but there’s a real defense. The situation becomes even more complicated, and the matter will inevitably be seen by some as politically motivated and receive a lot of public attention. But this is the task the prosecutors take on: making tough decisions without fear or favour. The terrain is sometimes rough, sometimes with many obstacles. But real prosecutors don’t look for easy solutions. Real prosecutors seek justice, even against the powerful among us.

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