The Justice Department is investigating former President Donald Trump’s actions in the run-up to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in the United States as part of its criminal investigation into attempts to reverse the 2020 election results, a government official said. is with the investigation.
The investigation is related to the department’s broader investigation into attempts to nullify the 2020 election results and not a criminal investigation into Trump himself, the official said.
The Washington Post first reported that the Justice Department was investigating Trump’s actions leading up to Jan. 6, citing four people familiar with the case, none of whom it named. The department declined to comment on the investigation.
NBC News has reached out to a Trump spokesperson for comment.
The Post, citing two people familiar with the case, reported that prosecutors have asked witnesses before a grand jury about talks with Trump. Some of the questions focused on replacing Trump allies voters in the states President Joe Biden won and a pressure campaign on then-Vice President Mike Pence to undo the election, the paper reported.
The Post also reported that the Justice Department has received phone records from aides, including former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows. The Justice Department, a Trump spokesperson and a Meadows attorney did not respond to the Post’s requests for comment. NBC News has not confirmed the details of the Post’s message about the DOJ’s interrogation line or phone records.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland said in an interview aired Tuesday on NBC Nightly News that “everyone” would be held accountable.
“We will hold accountable anyone criminally responsible for trying to interfere with the transfer, legitimate, lawful transfer of power from one government to another,” Garland told NBC Nightly News’ Lester Holt.
More than 850 people in all 50 states have been arrested in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress formally counted the electoral votes proving Biden had won, officials said.
The Jan. 6 House Committee has aired hearings and interviews about the actions leading up to that day and the actions Trump took, or did not take, as it unfolded.
Last month, it was revealed that members of Trump’s team challenged the 2020 election by organizing slates of alternative “fake voters” in seven crucial states.
False voters have filed false certifications of Trump victories with the National Archives in hopes that then-Vice President Mike Pence would replace them for the actual electoral votes that made Biden president, according to testimony and documents presented at a committee hearing in June.
Garland said in the NBC News interview that aired Tuesday that the Justice Department is conducting “the most comprehensive investigation in its history.”
Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, appeared Friday before a federal grand jury investigating the Jan. 6 attack, a source familiar with his testimony told NBC News Monday.
Short was in the US Capitol with Pence during the January 6 attack. He is said to be the top former Trump administration official known to testify before the federal grand jury.
Garland said in the NBC News interview that Trump’s possible candidacy for president in 2024 would not affect the Justice Department’s investigation. Trump has not said whether he will run again.
No former president in US history has ever been charged with a crime. Richard Nixon, the only president to resign, was pardoned by then-President Gerald Ford. Nixon was never charged with any crime.
Michael Kosnar contributed.