The Washington Post

Charging is the easy part


In challengin­g Attorney General Merrick Garland to confront “the agonizing choice of whether to prosecute a former president,” Ruth Marcus overlooked a few things that Mr. Garland would have to consider in exercising prosecutor­ial discretion above and beyond the pesky little details required for assembling “the building blocks of a successful criminal case,” such as criminal intent and guilt beyond a reasonable doubt [“I’m no longer doubtful: If Garland has a case, Trump must be prosecuted,” Sunday Opinion, July 17].

Imagine the appellate foot-dragging former president Donald Trump’s defense counsel would employ from the outset of criminal charges, one or more of which might find sympathy among even non-trumpers, such as the inability to obtain a fair trial because of immense and worldwide pretrial publicity that would make almost impossible assembling 12 impartial people from anywhere in the country. Imagine, too, the security concerns surroundin­g the venue of the trial and the potential civil unrest throughout the country, wherever the trial’s location.

And what if all of this should occur after Mr. Trump declares his run for a second term in the White House? The attorney general can’t, unlike Mr. Trump, willfully blind himself to the circus that a prosecutio­n would create. Perhaps the greatest irony in American history is that a demand is being made that a man who was not elected to office should seek the conviction of another man who denied an election’s results.

James F. Mckeown, Falls Church

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