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Dual Balanced Indictments - Donald Trump and Hunter Biden?
Apparent Even Handedness Could Help Restore Public Trust in Garland
One advantage of indicting both, argues Banzhaf, is that it would allow the beleaguered agency to make a dramatic step towards recovering some of the trust voters have traditionally placed in it - trust which has sunk in recent years according to several polls - by taking bold steps against two figures not only from different parties, but also two whose fate is likely to play a major role in 2022 congressional elections, and 2024'presidential elections, he postulates.
If both indictments were handed down at roughly the same time, Attorney General Merrick Garland could appear - and might even try to claim in a public announcement - that his department is impartial, and will go after anyone who breaks the law, regardless of party affiliation or political connections - and use indictments of Trump and Hunter Biden as examples.
Both criminal investigations raise obvious conflicts of interest - if not apparent or possible conflicts, which is the legal standard - but it appears to be too late for Garland to appoint independent counsel to handle either criminal investigation, as he should have done long ago to help avoid criticism on these grounds, says Banzhaf.
He notes that the image or "optics" of an administration of a current president charging his predecessor and possible future presidential rival with a crime is the stuff of third-world countries and dictatorships, not the United States.
This, of course, could make it very difficult for Garland to charge Trump - unless he had something else to provide a strong counterbalance, argues Banzhaf.
On the other hand, as the evidence of criminality grows from the congressional investigation and other sources, it is becoming more difficult for Garland and his DoJ not to bring some charges against the former president.
Fortunately for Garland, that decision about charging Trump might be easier, and the resulting indictment appear more reasonable and balanced, if it could be coupled with an indictment of the President's son, argues the law professor whose legal complaint triggered the current criminal investigation of Trump in Georgia, and who played a major role regarding the criminal activities of both former president Richard Nixon and former vice president Spiro Agnew.