Ruth Marcus -- who writes a column in The Washington Post -- holds a law degree from Harvard. She admits that she was skeptical about prosecuting Donald Trump:
Not so long ago, I was squeamish — nervous about the consequences, immediate and long-term, of having any administration prosecute its predecessor and chief political rival.
Prosecuting Trump threatened to further divide an already polarized nation; a conviction, even if secured, would be deemed illegitimate by a substantial portion of the population. If acquitted, Trump could be emboldened and empowered, a martyr to a seeming Democratic vendetta.
And whatever the outcome, the fateful step of bringing charges against a former president based on his conduct in office could unleash a dangerous cycle of tit-for-tat political prosecutions and revenge prosecutions. This is the stuff of banana republics, not the American system of justice.
But she has changed her mind:
My squeamishness and doubts have yielded — if not to the absolute conviction that Trump should be prosecuted, then to the increasing belief that charges are warranted, and that failing to bring them would be more damaging to the nation than turning a blind eye to his effort to subvert democracy and prevent the peaceful transfer of power.
What changed my mind? The evidence. The facts amassed by the House select committee are damning, morally and legally. To understand their weight and import, think back to the second impeachment trial and wonder: What if we knew then what we know now?
We know now that Trump could have harbored no doubt that he lost the election, and resoundingly. This unwelcome fact was driven home to him by his attorney general, senior Justice Department officials, White House lawyers and his own campaign team.
We know now how extensively Trump pressured state officials to support his scheme to overturn the election. It wasn’t just the infamous call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the necessary number of phantom votes but also his pressure on Arizona House Speaker Russell “Rusty” Bowers to support a slate of phony electors.
We know now that Trump’s exhortation to come to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021 — “Be there, will be wild” — was merely the desperate culmination of his frustrated attempts to forestall the vote-counting by other means.
We know now that Trump was secretly plotting all along to urge his supporters to march on the Capitol that day — that this was no off-the-cuff, ad-libbed exhortation but a premeditated, closely held plan.
We know now that officials across the administration, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, feared violence erupting on Jan. 6. “Things might get real, real bad on Jan. 6,” White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said Meadows warned.
We know now that Trump wanted to join the mob in marching on the Capitol — that this was his plan all along; that his lawyers believed this would be “legally a terrible idea for us,” according to Hutchinson; and that he was enraged when he was prevented from following through.
All of this blatant disregard for the law must be prosecuted. The nation may not survive the prosecution of Donald Trump. But it surely won't survive not prosecuting him.