But while the GOP has been tearing itself apart in speaker vote after speaker vote, there has been a small Trump World update that has flown under the radar.
The Department of Justice special counsel, currently investigating Trump for efforts to overturn the 2020 election, has a new cache of emails, letters, and documents from election officials in battleground states – all of which will be sifted through in determining whether to bring criminal charges against the former president.
“Special Counsel Jack Smith and his team of Justice Department prosecutors are combing through new testimony and evidence,” Bloomberg reported. “He’s set to make critical decisions about whether to bring charges, possibly in a matter of weeks.”
The Donald Trump investigation continues
The DOJ special counsel sent grand jury subpoenas to several states. Officials from the states have confirmed that they complied with the subpoenas. One example of the type of material turned over to the DOJ includes material from Nevada, which suggests Trump’s 2020 campaign representatives making accusations of fraud and mismanagement at local officials in the days just after the election.
Obviously, Trump campaign officials badgering local election proctors in Elko, Nevada is not – on its face – going to get a former President of the United States prosecuted – but it does fit the narrative of an effort to overturn an election that Trump lost (by seven million votes).
In addition to Nevada, officials from Arizona, Georgia, and New Mexico have confirmed that they’ve complied with the subpoenas. Other officials – from Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – have not yet confirmed whether they complied.
DOJ attorneys are also sifting through interview transcripts from Congress’s January 6th committee (which just disbanded after concluding an eighteen-month investigation).
The testimony apparently includes White House aides saying that Trump knew he lost the election and that he was involved in efforts to seat alternate slates of electors in some of the states he lost.
“You can tell that [the investigation is] moving quickly,” said former DOJ prosecutor Brian Kidd, adding that concerns over the DOJ slowing down or losing steam have not come to fruition. The DOJ still seems to be pursuing Trump vigorously.
What happens next?
The DOJ, headed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, will need to decide about charging Trump criminally. Such a decision “could be made within weeks, especially if Smith moves to pressure individuals into cooperating.”
No sitting or former President of the United States has ever been charged criminally; if the DOJ does opt to bring criminal charges against Trump, it would represent the first time in US history a president has faced criminal charges.
“The special counsel’s office and Justice Department leaders realize that the historic investigations and the potential for politically explosive indictments and trials will collide with the 2024 presidential election calendar as the year goes on,” which harkens the 2016 election, in which the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails climaxed in sync with the campaign itself, causing indignation and controversy.
The House’s January 6th committee has already recommended that the DOJ charge Trump – but the House referrals have no legal weight. While the DOJ will likely take the referrals under advisement, the decision – whether to charge Trump criminally – lies solely with the DOJ.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.