According to The Washington Post, “The criminal investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has expanded to examine the preparations for the rally that preceded the riot, as the Justice Department aims to determine the full extent of any conspiracy to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election victory.” That development means that federal officials are putting prosecutorial weight behind investigations examining pro-Trump activities that surrounded but didn’t necessarily directly involve the storming of the Capitol last year. The House committee investigating the Capitol riot has been looking into a whole host of efforts involved in the scheme to stop Biden from taking his duly decided place as president — but that panel can’t issue criminal charges. It can only recommend them to the Justice Department.
According to the Post, across the previous couple of months, “a federal grand jury in Washington has issued subpoena requests to some officials in former president Donald Trump’s orbit who assisted in planning, funding and executing the Jan. 6 rally.” Unfortunately for those hoping for more information, the individuals “familiar with the subpoena demands declined to identify the individuals who had received them or provide additional details,” the Post explains. It is clear, however, that prosecutors are sticking with the expansive investigation into the violence that enveloped the Capitol last year. Around the time of the first anniversary of the Capitol riot back in January, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that the Justice Department “remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy. We will follow the facts wherever they lead.”
More recently, Garland added the following:
‘We are not avoiding cases that are political or cases that are controversial or sensitive… What we are avoiding is making decisions on a political basis, on a partisan basis… We begin with the cases that are right in front of us with the overt actions and then we build from there… And that is a process that we will continue to build until we hold everyone accountable who committed criminal acts with respect to January 6.’
As noted by the Post, prosecutors have already examined issues including how those who participated in the attack on the Capitol paid for their travel to D.C. Throughout the more than a year of federal investigations into the attack, there have also been numerous details emerging about preparations for violence. An arrest affidavit for a Virginia resident who participated in the attack said he got a so-called packing list from an organizer through an individual who “coordinated convoys, communication plans, maps and packing lists.” The list wasn’t innocuous — it included items such as a metal police baton and body armor. The organizer who was apparently the source for the list claimed demonstrators “were not looking for a fight but needed to be ready for one.” And in addition to all of these troubling details, there are also the criminal cases against members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, two far-right groups that participated in the Capitol attack. Members of the Oath Keepers have been charged with seditious conspiracy — an offense to which one pleaded guilty, while Proud Boys members are facing criminal conspiracy charges (not of the seditious variety). Read more at this link.