The DOJ is investigating Donald Trump as part of its probe into Jan. 6, The Washington Post reported.
Prosecutors have reportedly asked witnesses about Trump’s communications and meetings.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said this week that he hasn’t ruled out charging Trump.
The Justice Department’s criminal investigation into the January 6 attack has become increasingly focused on former President Donald Trump’s conduct related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election, according to The Washington Post.
Prosecutors have zeroed in on the former president’s conduct following his loss to President Joe Biden, as well as the extent to which Trump was involved in his outside attorneys’ efforts to substitute certified electors in states that Biden won with Trump supporters, the outlet reported.
Two people familiar with the matter told the newspaper investigators before a grand jury asked recent witnesses about conversations with Trump, his lawyers, and his allies. Prosecutors have inquired about meetings the former president held in December 2020 and January 2021; his attempts to convince Vice President Mike Pence to not certify the election results; and the level to which Trump is implicated in his attorneys’ fake-elector scheme.
In interviews this month with two senior aides to Pence, investigators inquired about their knowledge of Trump’s actions, The Post reported. Former Pence chief of staff Marc Short testified in front of a grand jury last week. Another aide, Greg Jacob, was also recently deposed.
The Justice Department’s investigation — which is separate from the House Select Committee’s probe into January 6 — has been closing in on Trump for months, according to The Post, which reported federal investigators in April obtained phone records belonging to top Trump administration officials and aides, including former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
The Justice Department has faced growing criticism for its slow-moving investigation, especially as the congressional committee’s televised hearings have stoked renewed public interest in the insurrection in recent weeks.
Attorney General Merrick Garland this week, however, defended his department’s pace and said prosecutors have been moving “urgently since the very beginning.”
“The reason there is this speculation and uncertainty is that it’s a fundamental tenet of what we do as prosecutors and investigators is to do it outside of the public eye,” Garland told NBC News.
The federal investigation, unlike the House panel, has the power to launch criminal investigations or issue federal indictments as a result of its findings. As part of its inquiry, the DOJ has already charged more than 880 individuals involved in the January 6, 2021 siege of the Capitol.
No former president has ever been criminally charged in US history. But Garland this week suggested he hasn’t ruled out indicting Trump for his role in the attack.
“We pursue justice without fear or favor. We intend to hold everyone, anyone who was criminally responsible for the events surrounding January 6, for any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another, accountable, that’s what we do,” the attorney general said. “We don’t pay any attention to other issues with respect to that.”
A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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