Sep 19, 2022

January 6 and Mar-a-lago update



On January 6, 2021, the United States capitol building was insurrected by a number of Americans, anywhere between 3,000 and 20,000 people. Since the day of the insurrection, a string of hearings has taken place that have concentrated on the January 6 incident. 

Along with the hearings, an investigation of former president Donald Trump’s resort, Mar-a-Lago, took place on August 8, 2022. The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who first executed a search warrant.

The Mar-a-Lago, located in Palm Beach, Florida, was investigated for the purpose of finding any concealed records regarding the intention to hinder federal government activity, possible violations of the Espionage Act, and illegal removal of government documents.    

As of September 9, 2022, the United States House-Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol has not announced the next steps of the hearings or how many more hearings can be expected. 

Dr. Benjamin Peterson, a History and Political Science professor at Alma College, expressed his thoughts on the matter. “Smart historians never make predictions and smart political scientists never make predictions without sufficient data. My sense is that the center of effort among the Democrats has shifted to passing legislation and preparing for the midterms, so it is hard to say when it will return to the January 6 investigations. They may also be waiting to see how things work out with the classified files,” said Peterson.               

“One thing that hasn’t received enough attention is that the recent special master was appointed to review not only attorney client issues, but also issues of executive privilege. Over the past three decades executive privilege has been expanded beyond being a narrow protection in exceptional situations.”

“The concept that a former president somehow has the ex post facto ability to claim executive privilege strikes me as the largest and most bizarre expansion yet. But we will see how that plays out in appeals,” said Peterson.     

Jacob Keeley ’24 also gave insight into the situation. “What will come of the Jan. 6th hearings are unclear to me at this time. As for the Mar-a-Lago investigation, it is almost certain that former President Trump will be indicted for the national defence information documents that were taken and then improperly stored. 

Indictment is a simpler case for the Department of Justice to levy. As for criminal charges coming out of the indictment, the answer is less simple. 

There is certainly an on-going conversation right now regarding whether Trump agreeing to ‘back-off’ a 2024 Presidential run and step away from the political scene would affect the force of the investigation. 

Personally, that view of the DOJ and our system seems wildly inaccurate and cynical. Even if the purpose of the investigation were to take Trump out of the Presidential election in 2024, the best way to do that would be through a proper and fair investigation. The evidence does not lie in this case,” said Keeley. Many Americans will be interested to see the conclusion of this case. 

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