Jan. 6: Grand jury testimony of Pence aides brings the Justice Department investigation to the Trump White House

This indicates that the department’s investigation has reached inside the White House under former President Donald Trump and that investigators are looking into behavior directly related to the efforts of Trump and his closest allies to annul his election defeat.

CNN confirmed Pence’s former chief of staff, Mark Short, to a grand jury in D.C. on Friday. Pence’s colleague Greg Jacob has helped testify in recent weeks as well, CNN has learned from a source close to the investigation.

The source said that questions directed to Jacob and Short included a focus on the fraudulent voter scheme and the role of Trump attorney John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani.

Short and Jacob were both present at key meetings in the run-up to the January 6 uprising that was part of a lobbying campaign to persuade Pence to block congressional approval of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

Jacob, Pence’s former legal counsel, was involved in a House select committee investigation Jan. 6, even testifying publicly at a hearing last month. (He did not respond to CNN inquiries about reports of his testimony to the grand jury.)

Short confirmed to CNN reporter Erin Burnett Monday night that he complied with a grand jury subpoena, but declined to discuss any details about his appearance. Previously short sat for deposit in the House of Representatives investigation.

Short and Jacob’s accounts were among the evidence cited by a California federal judge in concluding that Trump and his allies may have been plotting to commit a crime in their plot to disrupt the presidential transfer.

How Trump was handled in the January 6 investigation was a sensitive question for the Justice Department. The department has faced tremendous pressure from lawmakers, former attorneys general and others to focus on gang leaders in its maneuvers to reverse the 2020 election. But any investigation of a former president raises a set of highly sensitive and potentially explosive political and legal questions.

Pence’s inner circle is now forced to cooperate in the investigation, suggesting that at least some of these obstacles have been removed.

Last week, Attorney General Merrick Garland was visibly frustrated when questioned by a reporter about the possibility of indicting the former president, with the former judge repeating vague assurances that “no one is above the law in this country.”
Kinzinger encouraged the latest news of the Department of Justice investigation on January 6

In an interview with Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News on Tuesday, Garland said the Department of Justice would consider any interference with the “legal transfer of power.”

“I will say again that we will hold anyone criminally responsible for attempting to interfere with the legitimate and lawful transfer of power from one administration to another,” Garland said.

re \ come back. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican on the House Select Committee, said the testimony of Pence’s aid is a “positive” development.

“The Department of Justice needs to look into any potential criminal offense,” Kinzinger said Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day.” “I ask, what have they been doing for the past year and a half. However, if they’re going to go ahead and look at these things, that’s positive for the country.”

Kinzinger added that the acronym is a good resource.

“He certainly knows a lot of what happened, and I think under oath you can pretty much abide that he’ll tell the truth,” the congressman said.

Witnessing inflection points in the campaign to pressure the penny

The Justice Department declined to comment on Short and Jacob’s jury subpoenas. But scrutiny elsewhere on Trump’s electoral sabotage maneuvers highlights related events the two aides witnessed.

According to the House Select Committee’s public presentations, Jacob was present at the January 4, 2021 Oval Office meeting with Trump and his attorney Eastman, at which Eastman discussed a plan to have Pence not count the Biden voters to be rolled out in January. 6 Certification Ceremony.

Short attended that meeting as well, and another meeting with Eastman and Jacob on January 5, in which Eastman’s push to persuade Pence to hold off testimony for another two and a half hours was discussed.

Trump remains a potent threat to democracy on his return to DC

“What struck me the most at that meeting was that when Mr. Eastman came in he said, ‘I’m here to ask you to reject the electors,’” Jacob said at a House committee hearing in June, while referring to a proposal more aggressive than Eastman recommended. At the Jan. 4 meeting, Jacob also took notes memorializing Eastman’s assertion, according to the committee.

Jacob stated that Eastman admitted at one of those meetings that such a maneuver would violate the electoral counting law, with Jacob testifying that Eastman believed the law to be unconstitutional. Jacob also described a conversation with Eastman in which Eastman acknowledged that no Supreme Court justice supported his position.

Jacob’s account of meetings and emails he exchanged with Eastman earlier this year was also submitted to a federal judge who was considering whether to ask Eastman to send certain emails to the committee.
In agreeing to release the documents, US District Judge David Carter noted that he believed Trump’s behavior might have been criminal, concluding that “it is likely that President Trump has corruptly attempted to obstruct the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.”

“The illegality of the plan was clear,” Carter wrote. “Our nation was founded on a peaceful transition of power, exemplified by George Washington laying down his sword to make way for democratic elections. Ignoring this history, President Trump actively campaigned for the Vice President to single-handedly determine the results of the 2020 election.”

Other indications of the escalation of the Ministry of Justice investigation

While Jacob and Short’s appearance before the grand jury was the most significant public development in the Justice Department’s investigation, there were other key indications that the Department was skipping the bad fruit of prosecuting the rioters who physically violated the Capitol on Testimony Day. .

Federal investigators isolated Eastman’s electronic devices in late June, and also raided the home of former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, another prominent player in Trump’s plots.

As part of the investigation, federal investigators also interviewed Georgia Republicans about interactions with people in Trump’s orbit and his 2020 re-election campaign.

In one case, FBI agents asked a prominent Georgia Republican if he had had direct talks with Trump.

“They just asked who spoke to me. If anyone from the Trump campaign has been in touch with me. Has Giuliani spoken to me? Has Trump spoken to me?” Patrick Gartland, who was due to be an elector but has left office, said previously. He recounted how two FBI agents visited his home in Marietta, Georgia, this spring.

The department has issued several subpoenas in recent weeks seeking information in all seven states that have seen a battlefield where the Trump campaign collected fake voters as part of an effort to sabotage the Electoral College. CNN reported earlier that among those summoned were officials from the Republican Party in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

A grand jury subpoena to Arizona Monday. Obtained by CNN by requesting public records, Karen Fan emphasizes how investigators cast a wide net, focusing their efforts on a Trump administration and state-level voter-fake conspiracy.

The subpoena for Van, who led the partisan review of ballot papers in Maricopa County, indicates that prosecutors are seeking contacts on any topics between any individuals associated with the Trump administration, Congress and Trump’s reelection efforts.

January.  6 committees on a collision course with Trump and the midterms

The House committee described a bogus electoral scheme, in which Trump supporters will be fraudulently cast as an alternative to Biden’s legitimate electors, as part of a broader campaign to persuade Pence to boycott Biden’s victory. Select committee chair Penny Thompson also indicated that he is working to share information with the Department of Justice on this aspect of the lawmakers’ investigation.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice has also upped the ante in the trials of those who violently assaulted the Capitol, with seditious conspiracy charges being brought against prominent members of fringe groups accused of plotting to “oppose the legal transfer of presidential power by force.”

The Justice Department’s latest move to help Pence comes as Pence has broken with Trump by backing Republican politicians competing in the GOP primaries against Trump’s favorites, including races in Georgia and Arizona where Trump’s lies about the 2020 election have come to prominence.

This story has been updated with additional details.

CNN’s Kara Scannell, Catelyn Polantz, Andrew Millman, and Annie Grayer contributed to this report.

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