DOJ rule means Trump charges unlikely for now but his former lawyer claims he’s in ‘serious legal water’

With control of the House and Senate up for grabs determining the remainder of President Joe Biden’s term, one of the most pressing questions remains the political future of former President Donald Trump as experts weighed in on the “serious legal water” he is treading in and the likelihood of charges coming that could effect the midterms.

The political witch hunts and weaponization of federal agencies have made an indictment of Trump seem to be a foregone conclusion. However, the already questionable integrity of the Justice Department could be irreparably damaged if they violate the “unwritten rule of uncertain scope” having passed the threshold of the “60-day-rule.”

According to the New York Times, “Under what is known as the 60-day rule, the department has traditionally avoided taking any steps in the run-up to an election that could affect how people vote, out of caution that such moves could be interpreted as abusing its power to manipulate American democracy.”

Jack Goldsmith, former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, expanded on the rule to the outlet following the Friday mark that has some believing it is unlikely potential charges will be filed before Nov. 8.

“It’s an unwritten rule of uncertain scope,” he said to the Times, “so it’s not at all clear that it applies to taking investigative steps against a noncandidate former president who is nevertheless intimately involved in the November election. But its purpose of avoiding any significant impact on an election seems to be implicated.”

In May, Attorney General Merrick Garland had extended a memorandum set in place by former Attorney General Bill Barr on “Election Year Sensitivities” that stated in part, “No investigation (including any preliminary investigation)’ may be opened or initiated by the Department or any of its law enforcement agencies: 1. Of a Declared candidate for president or vice president, a presidential campaign or a senior presidential campaign staff member or advisor’ absent prior (i) written notification to and consultation with the Assistant Attorney(s) General and U.S. Attorney(s) with jurisdiction over the matter and (ii) written approval of the Attorney General, through the Deputy Attorney General.”

Bet that as it may, former White House lawyer for Trump, Ty Cobb, spoke with CBS News addressing the likelihood of charges being “very high” without any specific mention of timing. “I think the president is in serious legal water, not so much because of the search,” he argued, “but because of the obstructive activity he took in connection with the Jan. 6 proceeding.”

The Garland memo seems to leave an avenue open for charges as an investigation is already being conducted on the former president and, with the media playing up the severity of allegations against Trump based on speculation, it would appear favorable to the Democrats to delay moving forward as the rumor mill could be more detrimental.

As it is, Cobb went on to assert that the raid by the FBI of Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago was in fact connected to the Jan. 6 investigation because of the suspected violation of the Fourth Amendment through the broad scope of the executed search warrant that permitted a fishing expedition.

“It is about the bigger picture. Jan. 6 issues, the fake electors, the whole scam with regard to the ‘big lie,” the attorney suggested.

As Cobb put it, “[Trump] is often incapable of acting other than in his perceived self-interest or for revenge. I think those are the two compelling instincts that guide his actions,” citing claims of behavior towards then-Vice President Mike Pence surrounding the breach of the Capitol as the 2020 presidential election was being certified, “Interfering with Pence, saying Mike deserves this when people are shouting ‘Kill Pence,’ I think that’s outrageous.”


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Kevin Haggerty


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