Former White House Official Says Trump’s Potential Indictment Could Be ‘Tragic’ Yet Justified

By: Alec Donaldson | Last updated: Oct 27, 2023

Jack Goldsmith, who previously served as assistant attorney general in the Bush administration and is recognized for his critiques of the former president, cautioned that pursuing prosecution would carry “terrible consequences” for the American populace.

Prosecuting Trump Could Be Devastating

In an op-ed for The New York Times, the former assistant attorney general contended that the prospect of prosecuting Trump might be “tragic.”

Advertisement

Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Advertisement

It Might Not Look Good For The DOJ

Goldsmith further expressed concern that such efforts could cast the Department of Justice as an “irreversibly politicized institution.”

Advertisement

Source: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

A Potentially Justifiable Prosecution

He clarified, “It may be satisfying now to see Special Counsel Jack Smith indict former President Donald Trump for his reprehensible and possibly criminal actions in connection with the 2020 presidential election. But the prosecution, which might be justified, reflects a tragic choice that will compound the harms to the nation from Mr. Trump’s many transgressions.”

Advertisement

Source: Chris Carlson-Pool/Getty Images

Not An Airtight Case

The former assistant attorney general continued, “Mr. Smith’s indictment outlines a factually compelling but far from legally airtight case against Mr. Trump. The case involves novel applications of three criminal laws and raises tricky issues of Mr. Trump’s intent, of his freedom of speech, and of the contours of presidential power.”

Advertisement

Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Not A Win-Win Situation

“If the prosecution fails (especially if the trial concludes after a general election that Mr. Trump loses), it will be a historic disaster,” Goldsmith articulated. And if it succeeds, “the costs to the legal and political systems will be large.”

Source: Chris Carlson-Pool/Getty Images

Advertisement

Passed Up A Chance

An individual from the Bush administration and a Harvard Law School professor added, “Regrettably, in February 2021, the Senate passed up a chance to convict Mr. Trump and bar him from future office after the House of Representatives rightly impeached him for his election shenanigans.”

He further stated, “Had that occurred, Attorney General Merrick Garland may well have decided not to appoint a special counsel for this difficult case. But here we are.”

Source: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Advertisement

A Matter Of Polls

The American legal scholar contended, “There is no getting around the fact that the indictment comes from the Biden administration when Mr. Trump holds a formidable lead in the polls to secure the Republican Party nomination and is running neck and neck with Mr. Biden.”

Source: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Advertisement

"Unfortunate Timing"

Goldsmith highlighted the timing, noting, “This deeply unfortunate timing looks political and has potent political implications even if it is not driven by partisan motivations.”

Source: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Advertisement

The Responsibility Lies Within The Biden Administration

He further stated, “And it is the Biden administration’s responsibility, as its Justice Department reportedly delayed the investigation of Mr. Trump for a year and then rushed to indict him well into G.O.P. primary season.”

Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Advertisement

Biden Investigations Continue

Goldsmith also posited that the prosecution “will likely inspire ever-more-aggressive tit-for-tat investigations of presidential actions in office by future Congresses and by administrations of the opposite party, to the detriment of sound government.”

Source: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Advertisement

DOJ Won't Come Out On Top

In conclusion, he concluded, “These are some of the reasons the Justice Department, however pure its motivations, will likely emerge from this prosecution viewed as an irretrievably politicized institution by a large chunk of the country.”

Source: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Advertisement