Republican insiders privately admit they expect U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to indict former President Trump within 90 days after the midterm elections, according to The Hill.
Congressional aides and GOP strategists say they do not have insider information from anyone at the Department of Justice, but note Garland is under pressure from progressives to indict Trump.
“A couple of weeks after the election, I assume that Garland will indict Trump,” one GOP aide told The Hill.
A separate staffer said that an indictment could have the impact of helping Trump politically.
“People have been talking about splintering support and dampening enthusiasm among Republican voters for him. An indictment could actually galvanize and reunify Republicans around him,” the aide said.
The source also predicted that backlash to an indictment would be stronger the closer we get to the 2024 election, so there is “a substantial risk in waiting.”
Trump has been embroiled in controversy over documents that were removed when he left the White House in January 2020. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) was in contact with representatives of Trump in late 2021 over potentially missing classified information, which resulted in the return of 15 boxes of documents to NARA in January 2022.
NARA asked Trump staff members to “continue to search for any additional Presidential records that have not been transferred to NARA, as required by the Presidential Records Act” and contacted the DOJ, as classified documents were allegedly identified in the boxes that were returned.
On Aug. 5 2022, after federal prosecutors obtained a search warrant, FBI agents raided Trump’s palatial estate at Mar-a-Lago, seizing more than 200,000 pages of documents.
Jeffrey Robbins, a former federal prosector, believes the strongest case the DOJ has would be to indict Trump for violating the Espionage Act.
“I think that the Espionage Act violations are relatively straightforward, even self-evident, and that the Department likely already has substantial evidence of obstruction of justice,” he said.
Other observers have stated they don’t believe federal prosecutors are under pressure to indict quickly.
“The next time he will appear on the ballot, if ever, will be in the 2024 primary elections, which begin in January of 2024,” Barbara McQuade, a law professor at the University of Michigan, told The Hill.
She added that the DOJ “has all of 2023 to play with.”