Report: The DOJ Is Investigating Trump as Part of Its January 6 Criminal Probe, and Yes, That’s a Big F–king Deal

One of the uniquely enraged things about Donald Trump is his lifelong ability to evade responsibility for every underhanded, unethical, likely criminal thing he’s ever done. Whether it’s refusing to pay his bills, paying hush money to a porn star in the midst of a presidential campaign, dodging taxes, or any other of the hundreds—nay, thousands—of things normal people would face consequences for, Trump basically never has . And while he might continue to get away with it all, like an organized crime boss eluding the feds or a cockroach surviving a nuclear blast, his chances of doing so are significantly worse today than they were yesterday.

The Washington Post reports that as part of its criminal probe of the plot to overturn the 2020 election, the Department of Justice has been investigating Trump. According to two people familiar with the matter, in recent days, prosecutors interviewing witnesses before a grand jury have asked “hours of detailed questions about Trump led in December 2020 and January 2021; his pressure campaign on [Mike] pence to overturn the election; and what instructions Trump gave his lawyers and advisers about fake electors and sending electors back to the states.” Among the witnesses answering questions has been Pence’s former chief of staff, Marc Short, and his chief legal counsel, Greg Jacob.

As noted earlier this week, when it was revealed that Short and Jacob had been interviewed by a grand jury, these particular individuals have significant insight into Trump’s plot to overturn the election—and their cooperation should, arguably, scare the crap out of the ex. -president. In addition to being able to speak to the threat to Pence’s life on January 6—Short was at the Capitol with the VP at the time—the former chief of staff was present in the Oval Office for a critical January 4, 2021, meeting, during which right-wing attorney John Eastman pressured Pence to either suspend the Electoral College vote count and ask willing state legislatures to reexamine their results or simply reject Biden’s win outright. It was during that meeting that Eastman reportedly admitted that he knew his proposed ideas were illegal but urged Pence, in the presence of the president, to go along with them anyway.

Jacob was also present at that meeting, and told the January 6 committee of it: “During that meeting on the fourth, I think I raised the problem that both of Mr. Eastman’s proposals would violate several provisions of the Electoral Count Act. Mr. Eastman acknowledged that even that was the case, that even what he viewed as the more politically palatable option would violate several provisions.” Jacob can also tell the grand jury how Eastman, advising Trump at the time, sent the Pence attorney an email while the Capitol was being attacked in which he blamed the VP for causing the violence. (In March, a federal judge wrote that Eastman and Trump “likely” committed a crime while attempting to overturn the results of the election, saying that “the illegality of the plan was obvious.”) For his part, Short can additionally speak to the fact that Trump reportedly banned him from the West Wing following the riot, as well as the news, recently revealed by The New York Times, that prior to the attack on the Capitol, Short placed a call to Jared Kushner in hopes that the then first son-in-law could get his father-in-law to back down, asking, “Look, can you help us with this?” To which Kushner reportedly replied: “I’m too busy working on Middle East peace right now, Marc.”

As well as grand jury interviews, the Justice Department, according to the post, has also obtained the phone records of key Trump officials, including former chief of staff Mark Meadows—who, among other things, reportedly told aides on January 6 that the president was of the opinion that his vice president “deserve[d]” calls for him to be hung. A Trump spokesman did not respond to the post‘s request for comment; a DOJ spokesman and an attorney for Meadows both declined to comment. On Wednesday, ABC News reported that Cassidy Hutchinson, the former White House aide who told the January 6 committee a whole bunch of incredibly damning things about Trump and Meadows, is cooperating with the DOJ’s probe.

per the post, there are “two main tracks of the investigation that could ultimately lead to additional scrutiny of Trump.” The first one focuses on charges of seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct a government proceeding, which people who stormed the Capitol and two far-right leaders who did not fail the Capitol but allegedly helped plan the attack have already been charged with. The second centers on “potential fraud associated with the false-electors scheme or with pressure Trump and his allies allegedly put on the Justice Department and others to falsely claim that the election was rigged and votes were fraudulently cast.”

As we have long known, Trump wanted to fire the acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, and replace him with Jeffrey Clark, as Clark was the only one at the agency willing to help him overturn the election. During a phone call on December 27, 2020, witnesses have testified, Trump told Rosen that he wanted the DOJ to say there had been major election fraud, and that if he would n’t, the president would get rid of him and install Clark in his place. As acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue said during his appearance at a January 6 committee hearing last month, Rosen told the president that the Justice Department could not and would not “snap its fingers” and change the outcome of the election. “He responded very quickly, and said, essentially, ‘That’s not what I’m asking you to do, what I’m asking you to do is just say it was corrupt and leave the rest up to me and the Republican congressmen,’ ” Donoghue testified Trump told them, adding that Trump urged Rosen to hold a press conference to lie to the public. (As the former DOJ officials testified last month, Trump was only convinced not to fire Rosen replace him with Clark after being informed there would be mass resignations. “Mr. President,” Donoghue told Trump, “you’re talking about putting a man in that seat who has never tried a criminal case, who’s never conducted a criminal investigation. He’s telling you that he’s going to take charge of the department—115,000 employees, including the entire FBI—and turn the place on a dime and conduct nationwide criminal investigations that will produce results in a matter of days. It’s impossible. It’s absurd. It’s not going to happen and it’s going to fail.”)

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