Last night the Washington Post reported that Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice has secretly had a federal grand jury probing Trump world about its involvement in January 6th for at least two months. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone, given the numerous signs that had been emerging of late which suggested that the DOJ was indeed probing Trump world. Now new details are emerging.
On Thursday the New York Times reported that the DOJ grand jury in question has been probing “members of the executive and legislative branches who had been involved in the ‘planning or execution of any rally or any attempt to obstruct, influence, impede or delay’ the certification of the 2020 election.”
Why is this a big deal? We already knew from the WaPo report that this grand jury has been targeting unnamed members of the Trump administration – so the fact that it’s probing members of the executive branch isn’t news. But the New York Times is now saying that the grand jury is also probing members of the legislative branch. That means Congress.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the grand jury is probing members of Congress. It could instead merely be referring to people who work for Congress, such as staffers for members of Congress. But either way, this is still a major breakthrough. We now know that this secret grand jury hasn’t just been targeting Trump world people, it’s begun targeting people who work in Congress as well.
Here is the timeline of the DOJ probe as we now understand it. Once the DOJ finished building criminal cases against the Oath Keepers leadership, it arrested them all on January 13th, 2022. Almost immediately after this, the DOJ had a grand jury begin targeting members of Trump world, and members of the legislative branch, for their involvement in January 6th.
From the timeline it’s fairly clear that the DOJ felt compelled to complete the criminal cases against the leaders of the Capitol attack who physically participated in it, before moving on to targeting the ringleaders of the Capitol attack who didn’t physically participate in it. This suggests that the arrests of the Oath Keepers resulted in sufficient cooperation to allow the DOJ to begin targeting Trump world. One of the Oath Keepers leaders, Roger Stone’s driver, is known to have cut a cooperating plea deal for seditious conspiracy. This means he’s already given the DOJ everything he knows about Stone and everyone else he dealt with in Trump world.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report