Information has only occasionally surfaced publicly about the DOJ’s progress in its probe into January 6th and the attempted overthrow of the 2020 election. But whenever information has surfaced, it’s always shown the DOJ to be far ahead of where most people thought it was at the time.
When the DOJ rounded up the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys leadership in January, there had been no public indication that the DOJ had even built criminal cases against them. When the DOJ carried out search and seizure warrants against Trump co-conspirators John Eastman and Jeffrey Clark last month, there had been no public indication that they were even targets.
And when the DOJ had Mike Pence’s aides testify about Trump and others to a grand jury last week, there had been no public indication that the grand jury process was anywhere close to being that far along. At any given point the DOJ may not be as far along as the public would like, but it always turns out to be well ahead of where the public thinks it is.
We saw that again yesterday when the news broke that not only is the DOJ investigating Donald Trump, it’s been investigating him for awhile. The DOJ has indeed been focusing on Trump’s criminal actions in the questions it’s posed to grand jury witnesses. And it’s deep enough into Trump world that, for instance, it’s already had Mark Meadows’ phone records since April.
Legal expert Laurence Tribe, who has at various times praised and criticized Merrick Garland, appeared on MSNBC last night and quipped that Garland is now basically saying, “See? I was ahead of the game all along.” Tribe is right. There’s a reason Garland has had that big grin on his face any time he’s been asked about Trump. He couldn’t just blurt out that the DOJ is investigating Trump, until the probe had reached a certain point where revealing its existence couldn’t put the probe at risk. But Garland sure has come across as a guy with a fun secret he wished he could tell us all.
Presuming that the DOJ itself was the source for the reporting that the DOJ is investigating Trump, it means that the Trump probe is now indeed far enough along that there’s no longer any harm in letting the public know that it exists. After all, the DOJ is deep enough into its Trump probe that it’s at the point where it has Pence’s staff testifying against Trump to a grand jury. We won’t see a Trump indictment tomorrow or next week. But the DOJ’s Trump probe is clearly closer to the end than the beginning – and Garland has indeed been ahead of the game all along.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report