Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco indicated this week that any announcement by former President Donald Trump that he’s running for the presidency again wouldn’t impact the course of the Justice Department’s investigation into January 6 and related matters.
“We’re going to continue to do our job, to follow the facts wherever they go, no matter where they lead, no matter to what level… We’re going to continue to investigate what was fundamentally an attack on our democracy,” as Monaco explained it. Bloomberg notes there’s been recent reporting that Trump may imminently formally declare his candidacy for president in 2024, partly in hopes of evading potential criminal prosecution. Political candidates, however, don’t get any formal protections from prosecution because of their campaign status. There would no doubt — as Bloomberg notes — be scrutiny placed on the Department of Justice in the event they were investigating and potentially prosecuting a presidential contender from the major party that’s not the one leading the administration, but they’re obviously going to get political push-back in any scenario, so that’s not exactly a reason to not follow the facts.
“The mandate the team has remains, which is to follow the facts wherever they go, regardless of what level, regardless of whether the subject of those investigations were present on January 6,” Monaco added. At this point, there’s been no apparent public indication that Trump is personally a target of the Justice Department probe, meaning it’s unclear whether they’re directly investigating him — with a metaphorical eye towards potential criminal charges — or just individuals around him, though either way he’s clearly closely connected to the investigation.
In Georgia, the team of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis recently informed those who signed on as fake Trump electors from the state despite Biden’s win there that they were now targets of her ongoing criminal investigation into pro-Trump election meddling, meaning indictments are possible. That group includes the current chairperson of the Georgia GOP and one GOP state Senator who’s now the party’s nominee for lieutenant governor in Georgia. Willis has left open the possibility of subpoenaing Trump himself.
Defenses for the fake electoral votes have hinged in part on the notion those involved were just keeping Trump’s legal options open in case litigation turned out in his favor, meaning he’d have needed a slate of electoral votes — but there was never any legitimate indication that litigation might turn out in such a way. No evidence of widespread election irregularities sufficient to alter the election outcome ever emerged anywhere. Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who was recently subpoenaed for testimony in the Willis probe, agreed — after initial antagonism — to accept service of the subpoena. Graham also agreed to end court challenges to the subpoena that he brought in his home state of South Carolina and instead pursue any such challenges in Georgia’s court system.
Meanwhile, Trump’s ongoing obsession with trying to seemingly convince observers of the presence of imaginary systematic fraud in the last presidential election certainly appears at least partly based in anxiety about his potential legal vulnerability in connection to efforts to overturn the duly documented presidential election outcome — efforts including January 6. He’s likely trying to get out of it by attempting to prove he was right all along… but he wasn’t.