MORE EXPLANATION ON THE JANUARY 6TH REPORT … FROM CHUCK ROSENBERG
Unless you focus on left-wing cable news, you are not likely to know who Chuck Rosenberg is. I shall explain — and then let you know his view of the work of the January 6th Committee.
I did make a reference to Rosenberg in a previous commentary, but it seems some readers still miss the point – in some cases purposely. In any case, they continue to spew their flawed or biased thinking. So, I shall try to give those poor souls a more detailed report.
Rosenberg was once the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. He previously served as Chief-of-Staff for FBI Director James Comey. He currently works as a “legal analyst” for NBC/MSNBC and as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University. He’s the stereotypical progressive Democrat. His strong negative feelings about President Trump have been evident in his many appearances on MSNBC.
I mention his background because it is important in appreciating his professional view of the work of the January 6th Committee.
During a recent appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Rosenberg was asked his opinion regarding the work of the Committee. He praised the SYMBOLIC importance of the Committee findings – and believed that the Report helps form public opinion. He noted that the Report of the Committee may seem “conclusive to the average person” (and that has been the goal of the Committee), it is not necessarily sufficient to bring charges or win a conviction in a court-of-law.
While there have been some allusions to the difference between a one-sided political committee report and a case suitable for legal prosecution, it has never been better explained to the public than it was by Rosenberg.
So … what about the importance if the Committee’s work in supporting the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations into the same matters?
Virtually all the left-wing talking heads speak of the Committee’s recommendations as findings of guilt – proof that the alleged crimes were committed. They point to their view of the evidence as proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Trump & Co. are guilty on all “charges” – actually only accusations, of course. (The same biased rush-to-judgment we saw for two years in the Russian conspiracy theory). In the court-of-public-opinion there is no presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
Remarkably, Rosenberg actually called the work of the Committee “meaningless” in terms of any investigation and prosecution by the DOJ. That is a very strong summation – especially in view the importance being put out by Democrats and their left-wing media cronies. “Meaningless,” he said. Even though I did not go that far, but I think he may be correct.
Rosenberg added that “Telling the Department of Justice what charges to bring is not all that helpful.” (Note the quotation marks). The decision to indict or not is a determination the DOJ will have to make on its own based on its own investigation—currently being carried out by Special Counsel Jack Smith.
Rosenberg specifically explained the weaknesses in the Committee Report vis a vis a court-of-law. He noted that the Committee Report has symbolic value, but in terms of the DOJ investigation, the Committee findings have:
“No precedential value. No evidentiary value. No substantive value. No procedural value.”
Rosenberg delineated the problem with the one-sided Committee Deliberations, saying:
“There was no judge. There were no defense attorneys. There was no cross-examination. There were no rules-of-evidence. There were no rules-of-criminal-procedure.”
(Keep in mind, those are Rosenberg’s words, not mine.)
Rosenberg noted that every “story” laid out by the prosecution in court, will be challenged. “Every story will have someone telling an opposite story,” said Rosenberg.
He also pointed out that there was an estimated 8000 hours of video testimony, but the Committee selected only 20 hours to share with the public.
Rosenberg conceded that providing all the documentation and testimony could be somewhat helpful. But there is a downside. The last thing Smith and the DOJ wants is to have all that testimony and evidence made public. That would seriously undermine the official investigation by giving various individuals valuable information regarding the testimony of others and the revelation of evidence –enabling them to craft better defense arguments, if necessary.
Then there is the problem of having sufficient evidence to indict AND convict. As was noted by Rosenberg, indictments are rather easy to obtain because the lowest legal threshold of “probable cause.” A criminal conviction requires “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt” – the highest legal threshold.
Prosecutors are loath to be indicted unless they feel reasonably confident of a conviction by 12 jurors selected by both sides in the case. Meeting the threshold for criminal conviction would be especially challenging in a case involving a President of the United States. Can you imagine finding jurors who are not aware of the issues or have not already formed personal opinions? That is why many knowledgeable observers raise questions as to whether the DOJ will even indict on all – or any – of the accusations of the Committee.
It is a huge risk in this case. A failure to convict would give Trump bragging rights over the investigators in Congress and in the DOJ. He would see his legal vindication as further evidence of being persecuted – the victim of another Witch Hunt. Rosenberg’s personal bias was seen when he said that an acquittal “could be devastating.” Trump and his supporters may not see it in that light, of course.
As I had stressed in my previous column — and which applies to this one – the objective examination of the value and meaning of the Committee Report and the future decision of the DOJ is not intended to prejudge any merits – or lack thereof – in terms of the guilt of Trump or anyone else. It is just to note that public opinion of the moment seems to be racing far ahead of reality for the many reasons Rosenberg professionally expressed.
So far, the entire issue has been limited to the court-of-public-opinion and controlled only by the prosecution. It will be a different situation if or when the Committee accusations go to a real court.