In the 2.5 years since the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Congress approved a bipartisan measure fixing the gaps in the convoluted electoral process that Donald Trump attempted to take advantage of in his bid to retain power after losing the 2020 election.
All of the candidates for key swing-state election positions who supported Trump’s campaign to annul the 2020 election were defeated in last year’s elections. Additionally, last week, federal prosecutors charged the former president with four felonies for his part in the plot to void President Joe Biden’s victory.
The prosecution, along with another federal indictment accusing Trump of mishandling classified information after leaving office, is giving conservatives more urgency for a plan to take over the U.S. Department of Justice, even though those avenues for electoral mischief may be blocked or severely limited in 2024.
If Trump were to win the president a second time, democracy experts worry that action may signal a new assault on the American system.
“The incentives for him to move in that direction will be even stronger, and we should worry even more about the degree of control he’ll attempt to wield over federal law enforcement,” said Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth College and co-director of Bright Line Watch, an academic group that monitors democracy in the U.S. “We have many examples from other countries demonstrating the dangers of a political takeover of law enforcement.”
Of all, there are also other dangers to the American democracy besides a takeover of the federal police. In a study conducted by the Associated Press last October, nearly 60% of Republican voters said that Biden did not have the right to be elected, confirming the illusion that Trump won the 2020 election. As a result of this notion, election officials have received death threats and millions of people have begun to fear voting machines, mail ballots, and vote tallying.
Donald Trump said in a post on social media on Sunday that he will seek a venue change and urge the federal judge hearing the case alleging his effort to rig the 2020 presidential election to step aside.
“NO WAY I CAN GET A FAIR TRIAL, OR EVEN CLOSE TO A FAIR TRIAL, IN WASHINGTON, D.C.,” Trump wrote in all caps on Truth Social. “THERE ARE MANY REASONS FOR THIS, BUT JUST ONE IS THAT I AM CALLING FOR A FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF THIS FILTHY AND CRIME RIDDEN EMBARRASSMENT TO OUR NATION, WHERE MURDERS HAVE JUST SHATTERED THE ALL TIME RECORD, OTHER VIOLENT CRIMES HAVE NEVER NEEN WORSE, AND TOURISTS HAVE FLED. THE FEDERAL TAKEOVER IS VERY UNPOPULAR WITH POTENTIAL AREA JURORS, BUT NECESSARY FOR SAFETY, GREATNESS, & FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE!”
Judge Tanya Chutkan of the D.C. District Court, who was selected by former President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 95-0, has so far given some of the most severe penalties to Jan. 6 defendants. She has, however, refrained from making some of her federal bench colleagues’ sharpest criticisms of Trump when it comes to sentencing offenders responsible for the attack on the Capitol. Chutkan was appointed to judge over the case at random.
Trump earlier suggested on Truth Social that a fair trial would be “impossible” in Washington, D.C., and that it should instead be held in “the politically unbiased nearby State of West Virginia!” In the tweet, he claimed that D.C. was “over 95% anti-Trump,” likely making reference to the city’s vote in the 2020 election, which went 92% to 4% in favor of Biden over Trump.
However, federal courts in Washington, D.C., who have dealt with other politically sensitive cases resulting from the attack on the Capitol on January 6 have repeatedly rejected Trump’s reasoning. Numerous Jan. 6 defendants have tried to have their cases moved out of the city of Washington, D.C., arguing that the city’s leftist bent makes it hard for those who are virtually universally Trump supporters to receive a fair hearing.