Donald Trump being investigated by DoJ in Jan 6 criminal probe, report says

Questioning focussed on Mr Trump’s role in ‘fake electors’ scheme

Graeme Massie
Wednesday 27 July 2022 08:30 BST
Related video: Merrick Garland comments on DOJ’s Jan 6 investigation
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Donald Trump is being investigated by the Justice Department as part of its criminal probe into attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to a report.

Prosecutors have asked witnesses testifying before a grand jury in recent days about conversations with the former president, his lawyers and other close advisers about “fake electors”, according to The Washington Post.

Justice Department lawyers have asked “hours of detailed questions about meetings Mr Trump led in December 2020 and January 2021; his pressure campaign to overturn the election; and what instructions he gave his lawyers and advisers about fake electors and sending electors back to the states,” two sources told the newspaper on Tuesday.

The sources, who have not been named, told the newspaper that some questioning focussed on Mr Trump’s direct role in the “fake elector” scheme, that was headed by Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman.

Prosecutors in April received the phone records of Mr Trump’s top White House officials, including his then-chief of staff Mark Meadows, the Post reported.

“The Washington Post and other news organizations have previously written that the Justice Department is examining the conduct of Eastman, Giuliani and others in Trump’s orbit. But the degree of prosecutors’ interest in Trump’s actions has not been previously reported, nor has the review of senior Trump aides’ phone records,” the newspaper stated.

Two individuals familiar with the investigation told the newspaper that there were two “principal tracks of the investigation that could ultimately lead to additional scrutiny of Trump.”

The sources told the newspaper that the first includes seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct a government proceeding, the kind of charges already filed against the leaders of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, who did not enter the Capitol on January 6 but helped plan what happened there.

The Post says that the second, could include possible fraud connected to the “fake electors” scheme or the pressure put on the DoJ by Trump and his allies to falsely claim election fraud.

It comes on the same day that Attorney General Merrick Garland told NBC Nightly News that the DoJ planned to prosecute anyone “criminally responsible for interfering with the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another.”

“Look, the Justice Department has been doing the most wide-ranging investigation in its history,” he said.

“And the committee is doing an enormously wide-ranging investigation as well. It is inevitable that there will be things that they find before we have found them. And it’s inevitable that there will be things we find that they haven’t found. That’s what happens when you have two wide-ranging investigations going on at the same time.”

Mr Garland gave a rare interview about an ongoing investigation after becoming the target of the left’s ire about its pace and has been accused on Twitter of slow-walking it during an election year.

But in recent days, former vice president Mike Pence’s former chief of staff, Marc Short, and his lawyer, Greg Jacob, have both appeared before the grand jury in Washington DC.

Mr Trump was also in Washington on Tuesday, to give his first speech there since leaving the White House for Florida in January 2021.

In the speech to the America First Policy Institute, Mr Trump claimed he ordered the Secret Service to clear homeless encampments in Washington DC.

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