Justice Department probe into Trump won’t stop if he announces 2024 run: Deputy AG
The Justice Department’s investigation into various efforts by Donald Trump to undermine the 2020 election will continue regardless of whether the former president announces his intention to again seek office in 2024.
“We’re going to continue to do our job, to follow the facts wherever they go, no matter where they lead, no matter to what level,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said Tuesday in response to questions after speaking at a cybersecurity conference in New York.
“We’re going to continue to investigate what was fundamentally an attack on our democracy.”
DOJ traditionally avoids investigative action that might implicate a candidate in the 60 days preceding an election. But Monaco’s comments indicate the Justice Department may not stick to that norm, which is not an official DOJ policy.
“The mandate the team has remains, which is to follow the facts wherever they go, regardless of what level, regardless of whether the subject of those investigations were present on Jan. 6,” Monaco said.
The Justice Department has previously parted with that tradition on other matters, including then-FBI Director James Comey’s announcement about a development in the investigation of 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The comments come as DOJ has reportedly been expanding the scope of its investigation into Jan. 6 but has yet to directly investigate Trump as a target.
Last week, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chair of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, said he was in initial discussions with DOJ about allowing them to review depositions tied to Trump’s “alternate elector” scheme that would send faulty certificates to Washington in an attempt to reverse President Biden’s victory in key states.
DOJ has also brought charges against some 850 people that entered the Capitol or were otherwise connected to the events of the day, including seditious conspiracy charges against members of extremist groups like far-right militia the Oath Keepers, and the Proud Boys.
In recent weeks law enforcement officials also executed search warrants at the homes of Jeffrey Clark, a former DOJ assistant attorney general Trump considered installing as attorney general in order to forward investigations into his baseless claims of election fraud, and John Eastman, an attorney who encouraged former Vice President Mike Pence to forego his ceremonial duties to certify the election results.
Last week, Trump said he had already made a decision about whether to run for office for a third time.
“Well, in my own mind, I’ve already made that decision, so nothing factors in anymore. In my own mind, I’ve already made that decision,” he said in an interview in New York magazine.