Trump Unlikely to Face Criminal Charges Before Midterms

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is unlikely to charge Donald Trump before the midterm elections, due to a long-standing tradition that bars the DOJ from charging a political opponent in the last 60 days before elections.

On September 11, the midterm elections are only 57 days away. Therefore, the DOJ is expected to respect the tradition of not bowing to any political pressure before elections.

DOJ Expected to Avoid Imposing Criminal Charges Against Trump

The “60-Day Rule” is an unofficial and unwritten tradition observed in the DOJ. It stops the government from prosecuting its rivals in the 60 days before elections.

Both parties have long respected the tradition and avoided charging their political opponents to get benefits in the elections.

If Democrats stick by the rules, Trump will not face any criminal charges until after the midterm elections.

However, Biden’s increasingly assertive stance against MAGA Republicans is worrying political insiders. They believe the DOJ may violate the 60-day tradition to give political advantages to Democrats, ahead of the midterm elections.

Democrats already politicized the DOJ, which means they will not be reluctant to denounce the tradition. Some political observers suggest the DOJ may charge Trump next month for giving a so-called October surprise before the midterm elections.

Democrats May Try to Politicize the DOJ

Furthermore, some political analysts also claim Trump is not the candidate in the 2022 midterm elections; therefore, Democrats may posit that the 60-day rule is not applicable to the former president.

The former head of the DOJ’s legal Counsel, Jack Goldsmith, said Trump might not be a direct candidate in the midterms, but he is expected to play a critical role in deciding the outcome of the elections. 

Any criminal charges against Trump will impact pro-Trump candidates in the upcoming elections.

Currently, Trump is on the verge of facing numerous charges related to the January 6 riots and the FBI’s seizure of classified documents at his Florida residence.

Until now, Attorney General Merrick Garland has not insisted he is aiming to criminally charge the former president, but his continuous ambitions to politicize the FBI tells a different story.

Previously, former FBI director James Comey, who led the law enforcement agency in the Obama administration, breached the 60-day rule against Hillary Clinton.

Just 11 days before the 2016 presidential elections, Comey announced to reopen investigations of Clinton’s email scandal. Later on, Clinton lost the presidential election.

While explaining Hillary Clinton’s investigations in 2018, the DOJ asserted the 60-day rule is not a written policy, so the department is not obliged to follow it.

The DOJ report added the tradition is only made to save candidates from political prosecution before elections, but the DOJ has every authority to continue its job without following traditions.

Democrats also accused Trump of intentionally delaying investigations against himself by contacting a conservative judge for appointing a special master to review documents seized from his residence. 

The DOJ already insisted it will challenge the court’s decision to appoint a special master, as no one should be allowed to review classified information.

This article appeared in The State Today and has been published here with permission.