Joe Biden’s Justice Department is officially investigating President Donald Trump in connection with January 6th.
The development is a dramatic escalation in the department’s Capitol riot probe and the clearest sign yet that Biden’s partisan attorney general, Merrick Garland, is serious about sending Trump to jail.
Garland is probing Trump
Prosecutors are looking at conversations Trump had with his close circle in the final days of his presidency about challenging the 2020 election, which Trump insists was rigged.
The DOJ got its hands on the phone records of top Trump aides including Mark Meadows earlier this year, the Post reported, and two aides to former vice president Mike Pence have testified before a grand jury recently.
Investigators are examining whether Trump’s political and legal challenges, including an effort to appoint slates of pro-Trump electors, constitute criminal fraud. They are also looking at the case from the angle of seditious conspiracy, charges that were brought against some Capitol rioters for the first time in January — a year after the riot — as Garland faced pressure to get more aggressive.
In recent months, Garland’s probe has evolved from an investigation of the Capitol riot into a broader crackdown on Trump and allies of his who contested the 2020 election. The DOJ’s efforts have converged with those of the January 6th committee, which recently concluded a series of one-sided, televised hearings on the “insurrection.”
Charging Trump, a former president who received 73 million votes in 2020 and who remains the favorite to win his party’s presidential nomination in 2024, would be an unprecedented, explosive step that would deepen already bitter political divisions. Biden promised to unite the country but has lobbied Garland to prosecute Trump, who Biden frequently disparages in remarks as the “defeated former president.”
Trump comes out swinging
Democrats including Adam Schiff (D-Ca.), who spent years making bogus claims that Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election, were tickled pink when Garland told NBC on Tuesday that he would not rule out charging Trump in 2024. Democrats have been clamoring for Trump to be jailed for years.
“I perceived a difference between what he’d been saying earlier about focusing on all those involved in the attack on January 6, and now talking more broadly about the overall plot to overturn the election,” Schiff said.
“So, I would hope that if the department is truly following evidence where it truly leads, it will realize it has been leading to Donald J. Trump,” he added.
But Trump sounded unmoved in a speech in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, where he dismissed the January 6th probe as a political hit job that is destined to fail.
“They want to damage me so I cannot go back to work for you,” he said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”