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Claytoonz: Jan. 6 insurrection probe mucked up by Merrick

Claytoonz: Jan. 6 insurrection probe mucked up by Merrick

First, “Meadows and Scavino” sounds like one of those soft rock musical duos from the '70s that’d sing songs like “Precious and Few.”

It is a good thing that the Justice Department under Merrick Garland isn’t political as it was under William Barr. But It’s a bad thing the Justice Department under Merrick Garland isn’t enforcing the law and going after some criminals.

William Barr used the Justice Department to act as Trump’s legal services and go after his political enemies. He appointed John Durham as a special counsel to investigate investigations of Donald Trump. Since it’s now been proven to be total bullshit, there should be an investigation of that investigation. Talk about a waste of time and taxpayer money.

Merrick Garland promised he wouldn’t use the department to go after Trumpers politically, but it needs to go after Trumpers who broke the law.

Garland’s Justice Department previously indicted Trump goon Steve Bannon for contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena from the January 6 Committee. On Friday, the DOJ indicted Trump goon Peter Navarro. Both of these goons were a huge part of the plan to steal the election from Joe Biden, who legitimately won it. They shouldn’t just be in jail for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena. They should both go to prison for sedition.

On the same day that Peter Navarro was indicted, the DOJ announced that it would NOT indict former Trump chief-of-staff Mark Meadows and social media director Dan Scavino for refusing to comply with subpoenas from the January 6 Committee. DOJ did not give a reason as to why.

Bannon and Navarro refused to cooperate with the committee, both claiming executive privilege though Trump isn’t president anymore to grant executive privilege. Navarro wrote a book and went on talk shows and spilled the so-called privileged information he claimed he couldn’t give in testimony. He also claimed the January 6 Committee wasn’t legal.

Meadows and Scavino initially cooperated with the committee and negotiated over several months on executive privilege and testimony. Meadows also turned over thousands of text messages and communications he had with members of Congress and other White House advisers. But then they both refused to comply with subpoenas.

The January 6 Committee can’t arrest or charge anyone. The committee can’t send people to prison. It’s an investigation and what they find will be sent to the Department of Justice with recommendations over who to indict. From there, DOJ makes its own decisions. That’s what it did with the referral from the committee to charge Bannon, Navarro, Meadows, and Scavino with Contempt of Congress. DOJ charged two and let two off. They should have charged all four and let them have their days in court.

What’s horrifying about DOJ’s refusal to indict people refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas is that it gives other people arguments to ignore subpoenas, especially since DOJ didn’t explain why Meadows and Scavino should not be charged. Others who receive subpoenas may borrow Navarro’s argument that the committee isn’t legal. Even House Republicans have claimed the committee isn’t legal, and they’re in Congress.

Nobody gets to pick and choose what hearings are and aren’t legal. As politically motivated and illegitimate as the Benghazi Committee was, it was still legal. It was legal even though it was chaired by Trump butt boy Jim Jordan, who used the power of congressional subpoenas to call Hillary Clinton, Trump’s opponent, to testify for 11 hours. Instead of whining about it, calling the committee illegal, or claiming executive privilege, Clinton complied.

Everything about the January 6 Committee is legitimate and legal. It’s an investigation on an insurrection, a coup attempt. It’s the Republicans’ fault they didn’t take it seriously and blew their opportunity to their members on it. Instead of appointing serious people to the committee, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy appointed Trump goons, several of whom are actually witnesses who helped spread the election lie and even aided to stop the certification of the winner of the 2020 election. Knowing that McCarthy’s picks were chosen to poison the committee, Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected all of them and appointed two Republicans who actually want to investigate Trump’s treason.

Republicans will gloat and avoid testifying before this committee, but what happens if they regain Congress this fall and get to create their own investigative committees in 2023? What will they say if Democrats refuse to comply with subpoenas to their Hunter Biden’s Laptop Committee?

Republicans believe laws should apply to Democrats but not to them. Don’t take my word for it. Take the word of a Republican.

When asked to comment on the arrest of Peter Navarro last Friday, Republican congressman Louie Gohmert said, “It actually puts an exclamation point on the fact that we have a two-tiered justice system. If you’re a Republican, you can’t even lie to Congress or lie to an FBI agent or they’re coming after you. They’re gonna bury you. They’re gonna put you in the D.C. jail and terrorize and torture you and not live up to the Constitution there.”

He’s whining that Republicans can’t lie to Congress or the FBI. This also might be the only time Louie Gohmert has ever told the truth. Also, goons who tried to overturn an election shouldn’t be allowed to lecture on the Constitution.

During his court appearance last Friday, Peter Navarro said, “This is not America. I mean, I was a distinguished public servant for four years and nobody ever questioned my ethics. And they’re treating me in this fashion.”

Navarrro told two lies in court. He was never a “distinguished” public servant and EVERYBODY questioned his ethics.

But why should Trumpers obey the law when Merrick Garland’s Justice Department says they don’t have to?

Music note: I listened to the Stone Temple Pilots’ album “Purple” while drawing this cartoon.

Clay Jones is the 2022 recipient of the RFK Human Rights Journalism Award in Editorial Cartooning, and won a 2021 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists. He was a finalist for the Herblock Prize in 2019 and a finalist for the National Headliner Award in 2020. See more award-winning editorial cartoons from him at

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