The US Department of Justice is looking into what former President Donald Trump did before the violence on January 6 at the U.S. According to a government person familiar with the investigation, Capitol as part of its criminal investigation into attempts to rig the 2020 election results.
The investigation is not a criminal examination of Trump personally, the official said; rather, it is part of the department's larger investigation into efforts to invalidate the results of the 2020 election.
According to four unnamed persons familiar with the situation, the Washington Post broke the news that the Justice Department was looking into Trump's behavior prior to January 6 in its initial report. Regarding the probe, the department chose not to comment.
The Post claimed that prosecutors have questioned witnesses before a grand jury about discussions with Trump, citing two people familiar with the situation. The newspaper stated that some of the queries centered on replacing Trump backers with electors in states that President Joe Biden won and on a pressure campaign against then-Vice President Mike Pence to annul the election.
The former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows is one of the staff members whose phone records have been obtained by the Justice Department. The Post contacted the Department of Justice, Trump's spokeswoman, and Meadows' attorney, but none of them responded. The specifics of the Post's claim regarding the DOJ's method of questioning and the phone records have not been confirmed by NBC News.
In an interview that aired on NBC Nightly News on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated that "anyone" will be held accountable.
Garland told Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News, "We will hold accountable anyone who was criminally guilty for trying to obstruct the transition, legal, lawful transfer of authority from one administration to the next."
In connection with the attack on the United States, more than 850 persons have been detained in all 50 states. According to officials, Congress officially tallied the electoral votes on January 6, 2021, at the Capitol, at which point it was clear that Biden had won.
Hearings and interviews from the House Jan. 6 committee have been broadcast regarding the events that led up to that day and the steps Trump took—or did not take—as they happened.
It was revealed last month that members of Trump's staff attempted to rig the 2020 election by assembling lists of substitute "fake electors" in seven crucial states.
According to testimony and evidence provided at a committee hearing in June, fake electors filed bogus certificates of Trump victory to the National Archives in an effort to have then-Vice President Mike Pence replace them with the real electoral votes that put Biden president.
Garland stated that the Justice Department is conducting "the most comprehensive investigation in its history" in the NBC News interview that aired on Tuesday.
NBC News reported on Monday that Marc Short, Pence's former chief of staff, testified on Friday before a federal grand jury looking into the attack on January 6.
Pence and Short were at the U.S. Capitol during the attack on January 6. He would testify before the federal grand jury as the highest-ranking former official of the Trump administration that is known to have done so.
Garland stated in the NBC News interview that the Justice Department inquiry would not be impacted by Trump's potential presidential run in 2024. Trump is undecided about his future political plans.
No former president of the United States has ever faced criminal charges. Gerald Ford, who was in office at the time, granted a pardon to Richard Nixon, the only president to do so. Nixon was never put on trial for a crime.