These two ideals — that you are innocent until proven guilty, and that you have adequate time to prove that innocence — are the best way we know to ensure that justice is served.
But when these ideals are applied in the extreme, it can result not only in the denial of justice but in a significant loss of confidence that the American legal system delivers justice at all.
In January, the US Capitol was overrun by what I believe were domestic terrorists hellbent on overturning a free and fair election. Worse yet, they tried to strike a dagger in the heart of American democracy.
The reality is that these subpoenas will likely end up in court and could languish for years just like the congressional subpoenas in the Trump impeachment trial.
As another legal maxim states, justice delayed is no justice at all. And many Americans who are tired of waiting to see visible progress are already losing confidence in their nation’s legal system, assuming no one will be held accountable. My Twitter feed is littered every day with Americans criticizing Attorney General Garland, with some calling for his removal. At a minimum, they no longer believe the courts can secure appropriate justice from those with money and influence.
That loss of confidence is just as dangerous as a hamstrung judicial process, because it literally undermines the very foundation of our legal system.
What can law enforcement do to address this problem? It’s simple: Tell us more. Keep the American people up to date on the progress of the investigation in a transparent, accessible manner so that we can all believe that justice will be delivered in the end. Congress shouldn’t wring its hands; it should enforce the subpoenas with every accessible weapon, including arrest for contempt of Congress.
Americans need and deserve to know that the people who tried to overthrow our democracy will be held accountable — accountable for trying to dismantle and destroy the institution that makes us great. And that applies to awareness of how the former president may be implicated.