NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd asked on Sunday if the January 6 House Select Committee issuing a criminal referral for former President Trump could potentially “add negatively to the political stew.”
(Video Credit: Meet the Press)
“The January 6 committee is likely to issue some criminal referrals to Justice, they say. Without getting, we don’t want to prejudge that, but of the committee, what you saw and what the committee has produced, do you think they have made their case against Donald Trump?” he asked former US Attorney Preet Bharara during the interview.
“It is not their role to make a criminal case,” Bharara informed Todd.
He proceeded to cover the Justice Department’s rear over the issue.
“To me, it is largely symbolic because at the time we first started having this debate about a referral, it wasn’t clear how far along the Justice Department was. Since then, the Justice Department has appointed a special counsel, as we mentioned, and they have a lot of staff that they’ve added to the matter. And they’re far along. So they’re investigating this thing anyway,” he continued.
Can Chuck Todd do one Meet the Press without a segment on Trump? No, because his viewers need to be fed all the garbage out there
— Ceil Breitwieser (@ceilb) December 11, 2022
“But doesn’t it add negatively to the political stew?” Todd asked Bharara.
“You could argue that. I don’t know why they feel the need to do it,” Bharara responded, seemingly agreeing with the host. “I think it has no impact on the Justice Department whatsoever.”
Todd pressed on, asking what was taking so long for the Justice Department to make a move on Trump.
“I want to move to all of the various Trump investigations. There was a lot of movement this week. A federal judge decided not to hold Trump in contempt over these classified documents. I guess the question is he’s already admitted he took it. What do you think justice is waiting for?” he asked Bharara.
We could make Meet The Press into a drinking game. Every time Chuck Todd mentions trump, we all take a drink.
I lost count after 34 only a half hour in.
— The Jerry is on it (@GerardKapraun) December 11, 2022
“Oh, the Justice Department?” the former US attorney asked.
“Yeah,” Todd replied.
“Oh, look, I think they’re, to coin a phrase, loaded for bear. They’ve appointed a special counsel of Jack Smith. There are a number of very seasoned prosecutors, whom I worked with very closely at the Southern District of New York when I was US attorney and before that who I think are brought on for purposes of figuring out if there’s a triable case, a chargeable and triable case. And I don’t think they would’ve left their former positions, both in government and private practice, unless there was a serious possibility that the Justice Department was on a path to charge. And I think it’ll happen in a month,” Bharara contended.
BREAKING: Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara predicts that the DOJ is ‘on a path’ to charge Trump criminally.
— Erica Marsh (@ericareport) December 12, 2022
Todd asked if there was enough evidence to nail Trump.
“And your definition of a triable case, meaning you can win it, you have all the evidence? Because you can have all the evidence but not win a trial, right?” the NBC anchor inquired.
“I mean, I think those are intertwined. They’re not going to proceed. You generally do not proceed unless you have a great likelihood of success. But the prerequisite is that you believe that the person is guilty of the crime, right? And when you’re charging somebody in maybe the highest-stakes trial, in some ways, in history, because it’s the former president of the United States, you’ve got to have all your ducks in a row,” Bharara noted.
Todd insisted that the case involved politics and wanted to know what that entailed.
“I was just going to say, as a prosecutor, you’re going to say, ‘Hey look, politics isn’t supposed to enter this,’ but it does. How does it?” Todd asked his guest.
Spoke with several Jan. 6 committee members tonight.
They all made clear the panel is working to determine scope of criminal referrals but Trump is at top of list & members are unified in approach.
Obviously any criminal referral by committee would be symbolic in nature.
— Zachary Cohen (@ZcohenCNN) December 8, 2022
“Well, I don’t know that politics enters it. I think prosecutors have to be careful about having public trust, right?” Bharara responded, being mindful of incurring the wrath of Americans over the matter, but only slightly.
“Political fallout,” Todd affirmed.
Then Bharara made his point that they want to make sure they really can get Trump.
“Yeah. You keep wanting to use the word ‘politics.’ I don’t want to use that word. You know the famous phrase, ‘If you run at the king, you best not miss.’ There are a lot of people who are going to be opposed to this prosecution. So like any prosecution, you want to have your Ts crossed and your Is dotted,” Bharara stated, confirming that the Justice Department was going after Trump.
“And you want to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and you want to have a strong case. I think you want to have an exceptionally strong case when you’re bringing it in a context which, I’ll use your word, things are very politicized. To show not just the jury in the case but the public at large that it was a righteous case, it was a meritorious case, and you have the goods,” he concluded blasting past the point that there is arguably no case against Trump.
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