When the DOJ arrested the entire Oath Keepers leadership at once back in mid-January, it was clear the DOJ’s January 6th criminal probe had reached a turning point. After rounding up the highest ranking people who physically participated in the Capitol attack, the DOJ was about to move on to criminally targeting the Trump world people who organized, planned, or incited the attack – if the probe was going to keep moving forward at all.
Sure enough, over the past two months we’ve seen numerous breadcrumbs emerge which suggested that the DOJ had indeed moved on to criminally targeting Trump world. We cited the cooperating plea deal with Roger Stone’s Oath Keeper driver as the strongest such breadcrumb, but there were numerous others. Unfortunately, even though these breadcrumbs were all in plain view, they went severely underreported, leading most observers to conclude that the DOJ was doing “nothing.” Now it turns out the DOJ has been doing a whole lot of something.
For the past two months the DOJ has had a federal grand jury subpoenaing various Donald Trump associates and Trump administration officials who “assisted in planning, funding and executing” the events of January 6th, according to a Washington Post bombshell tonight. In other words, the DOJ has secretly spent the past two months criminally targeting Trump world, and no one has known about it – until now.
All along, numerous media pundits have insisted that there was no way the DOJ could possibly be criminally probing Trump world, or else the details would be leaking out about it. In contrast, Palmer Report has repeatedly documented the various ways in which the Garland DOJ has managed to operate in complete secrecy, to the point that things like the arrests of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys leadership came out of nowhere, with not a word having leaked out in advance.
Now it turns out the DOJ managed to get two full months into the grand jury process against Trump world before anything finally leaked. Things like this don’t leak by accident, or for no reason. There are three possibilities here.
The first would be that the Garland DOJ has decided to leak the existence of this grand jury, in order to take the heat off itself from the media and the public – but this would be fully out of character with everything that the secretive Garland DOJ has done up to this point.
The second would be that the Garland DOJ has strategically leaked the existence of this grand jury in order to rattle everyone in Trump world with a connection to January 6th, get them panicking, and see who might end up deciding to cut a plea deal before any indictments can drop. This would also be out of character with how the Garland DOJ has operated up to this point. But given that subpoenaing unfriendly witnesses is generally the stage at which a criminal case can’t be kept secret anymore anyway, the DOJ may have decided to forgo its usual secrecy.
The third possibility, and perhaps the most straightforward one, would be that one or more of the Trump world people who received such subpoenas has decided to leak it to the media, so that the rest of Trump world knows what’s coming. However, the WaPo source declined to provide the names of anyone who has been subpoenaed or anyone who is being targeted, which calls into question what the point of such a leak would even be.
In any case, regardless of who leaked this or why, the reality is that the media now knows that the DOJ has a grand jury running into Trump world. This will cause the media to start digging into all possible angles of this, in the hope of uncovering more of what’s going on. Someone somewhere will give the media at least some of what it’s asking about, and we’ll now end up learning much more about this grand jury probe in the coming days and weeks.
By the way, this also explains why Trump world is suddenly attempting to massively ramp up the noise it’s making about the phony Hunter Biden laptop scandal. This imaginary scandal was always intended as a distraction from Trump world’s very real criminal scandals. The fact that Trump world has been pushing the laptop scandal so heavily over the past week has suggested that a big shoe was about to drop. Now we know what’s had them so rattled: a DOJ grand jury is going after several of them.
In the meantime, here’s what stands out. The DOJ rounded up the Oath Keepers leadership in mid January. Now we know that almost immediately thereafter – no longer than two weeks later – the DOJ had a grand jury begin subpoenaing Trump world people. So now we know that not only has the DOJ shifted into targeting Trump world, it’s made that shift very quickly.
Typically the DOJ likes to line up at least one key cooperating witness before commencing with anything. This suggests that one or more of the Oath Keepers leaders may have cut a deal immediately after being arrested. To date the only major DOJ cooperation deal we know about is with Roger Stone’s Oath Keeper driver, which was announced earlier this month. But as we’ve been fond of pointing out, cooperating plea deals are often kept secret until the most crucial part of the cooperation plays out, so that the cooperator still retains the trust of the people he just flipped on. Does this mean that Stone’s driver cut a deal back in January?
The big question on everyone’s mind is whether this means the DOJ will indeed end up criminally charging Donald Trump. All along we’ve pointed out that for the DOJ to be assured of getting a conviction against Trump, it would likely need to flip at least one of his own key people against him – and that would require indicting Trump’s key people. Now we know that the DOJ is two months into the grand jury process against Trump’s key people. It certainly appears the DOJ is looking to forcibly flip Trump’s people against him, so that it can use them in a criminal case against Trump himself.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report