Attorney Richard Painter, who served as White House counsel during the Geroge W. Bush administration, urged the Department of Justice to appoint a special counsel to investigate former President Donald Trump for “political coercion”.
In an opinion article penned for MSNBC, Painter said Trump should be investigated under the statute prohibiting “Coercion of Political Activity”, which makes it a federal offence to intimidate, threaten, commend or coerce, a government employee to engage in political activity.
He says “the evidence is overwhelming” that Trump coerced federal government employees before, during and after the 2020 election, including former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, former attorney general William Barr and his replacement Jeffrey Rosen, and USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
“Attorney general Merrick Garland has the authority to appoint a special counsel to investigate and prosecute allegations of crimes by Trump and others, including violations of the political coercion statute,” Painter wrote.
Painter has also called on President Biden to establish a permanent special counsel to handle a federal tax investigation into his son Hunter Biden.