The Justice Department reportedly obtained phone records for key individuals in the Trump administration including the former president’s past chief of staff Mark Meadows, according to The Washington Post.
The context in which the department did so is evidently their sprawling investigation into circumstances related to the Capitol riot and post-election attempts to subvert the outcome. Per the Post, the Justice Department obtained phone records including those for Meadows in April. The Post based its reporting on that particular point on revelations from two sources, who the publication didn’t publicly identify. Other individuals whose phone records might’ve been obtained by the Justice Department around that time also apparently weren’t specified, although seizures of electronic devices from John Eastman and Jeffrey Clark — two Trump allies, the latter of whom worked at the Justice Department in the final portions of Trump’s time in office — were already publicly known.
Meanwhile, it’s clear that records for Meadows could potentially provide substantial and relevant info. He was actively involved in aggressive attempts inside the then-president’s circles to help secure him another term in office despite his duly documented election loss. As outlined in another recent report from The New York Times, he was also more specifically connected to the push to assemble faked electoral votes for Trump from states Biden won — a push in which the Justice Department already demonstrated particular interest. Emails obtained by the Times indicate at least one instance when details on discussions about the fake electoral votes scheme would be relayed to Meadows. Federal grand jury subpoenas went out relatively recently to key individuals who signed on as fake electors for Trump, including the chairpersons of the Arizona and Georgia GOPs.
It’s also emerged that the Justice Department is examining actions Trump himself took after the last election. Available details indicate there’s not necessarily a formal criminal investigation into Trump, but he’s been the subject of hours of questioning related to broader matters such as the fake electoral votes scheme. Prosecutors questioning witnesses before a federal grand jury “have asked hours of detailed questions about meetings Trump led in December 2020 and January 2021; his pressure campaign on Pence to overturn the election; and what instructions Trump gave his lawyers and advisers about fake electors and sending electors back to the states,” per the Post’s summary of revelations from sources.
That extent of Justice Department interest in Trump on a personal level wasn’t previously clear, at least publicly. Attorney General Merrick Garland has relatively consistently maintained that the department will be unhindered by political considerations in its pursuit of justice related to what happened after the last election. Meadows is engaged in litigation targeting the riot panel over its push for him to testify and provide relevant materials. After a request for input in Meadows’s case from federal Judge Carl Nichols, the Justice Department said in a court filing that former advisers to former presidents still held some level of immunity from Congressional subpoenas — a level of immunity the department outlined wasn’t absolute — but the department concluded the committee sufficiently made its case. The department’s conclusion wasn’t the final word on the matter.