Is Donald Trump going to be held responsible, in the criminal sense of the word, for trying to overturn the results of a free and fair election, a plot that culminated in a literal insurrection that left several people dead? If you’ve been paying attention to the January 6 hearings, or lived through the last 17 months, or simply read the previous sentence wherein we wrote that the man attempted “to overturn the results of a free and fair election, a plot that culminated in a literal insurrection that left several people dead,” you know he quite obviously should be.
Unfortunately, the former president has a long history of evading repercussions for basically all of the shady, unethical, likely criminal shit he’s pulled in his more than seven decades on earth. Also, there’s the matter of Attorney General Merrick Garland, who critics fear will let Trump get away with it, all in a misguided attempt to not be seen as overly partisan. On the other hand, optimists who think Trump will indeed get his comeuppance believe that Garland’s perceived hesitation to pursue Trump is not hesitation at all, and that the AG is methodically gathering the facts to nail the former guy to the wall. And if people believe that‘s the case, they should be pretty giddy about recent developments at the Department of Justice.
The Washington Post reports that the Justice Department has expanded its criminal investigation of the plot to use fake electors to block the certification of Joe Biden‘s win and keep the 45th president in power. On Wednesday, that included delivering grand jury subpoenas to at least four individuals connected to the scheme. One of those people was Georgia attorney Brad Carver, who the post said “allegedly signed a document claiming to be a Trump elector.” Another was Thomas Lane, who “worked on the Trump campaign’s efforts in Arizona and New Mexico.” A third person, according to The New York Times, was Shawn Flynn, a Michigan Trump campaign aid. The fourth was Georgia Republican Party chairman David Shafer, who, like Carver, reportedly served as a fake Trump elector. Shafer’s lawyer declined the teams‘ request for comment; the three other men could not be reached.
The fake-elector scheme is said to be one of two known aspects of the DOJ’s investigation of Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election. The subpoenas issued Wednesday come just weeks after the teams reported that the DOJ delivered subpoenas seeking information about attorneys John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, and Jenna Ellis, among others, as part of the department’s probe of the plot. (Also on Wednesday, federal agents searched the Virginia home of former Trump Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, according to ABC News. Clark, whose lawyer did not respond to a request for comment, reportedly plotted with Trump to oust then acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen, allegedly in an effort to overturn the election results in Trump’s favor. Clark has denied that he devised any plan to oust Rosen.)
as the teams notes, during Tuesday’s January 6 committee hearing, the panel, for the first time, “directly connected Mr. Trump to the plan” when they showed a recorded deposition from Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, saying Trump called her and put Eastman on the line to discuss the role the RNC could play to gather fake voters. as the teams also points out, while early subpoenas in the fake-elector probe were mostly sent to people who nearly took part in the scam but didn’t, the new round “appears to be the first time that Trump campaign officials were brought into the investigation, marking a small but potentially significant step closer to Mr. Trump himself.”
As for Trump, who spends most of his time in an alternate universe, it appears even he understands he could conceivably be in some kind of legal peril. earlier this week, rolling stone reported that he and his inner circle want to make right-wing attorney John Eastman—who authored the six-step plan for Mike Pence to block the certification of Biden’s win, and who federal judge David Carter said in March “likely” conspired to defraud the United States with Trump—their fall guy. While carefully avoiding mention of his name in public, Trump has reportedly taken to asking people “Is [John] going to jail?”