According to CNN, DOJ is staffing up its investigations with experienced prosecutors so it is ready for any decisions after the midterms, including the potential unprecedented move of indicting a former president.
In the weeks leading up to the election, the DOJ has observed the traditional quiet period of not making any overt moves that may have political consequences.
But behind the scenes, investigators have remained busy, using aggressive grand jury subpoenas and secret court battles to compel testimony from witnesses in both the investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his alleged mishandling of national security documents kept at his Palm Beach home.
Now federal investigators are planning for a burst of post-election activity in Trump-related investigations. That includes the prospect of indictments of Trump’s associates – moves that could be made more complicated if Trump declares a run for the presidency.
“They can crank up charges on almost anybody if they wanted to,” said one defense attorney working on January 6-related matters, who added defense lawyers have “have no idea” who ultimately will be charged.
Trump and his associates also face legal exposure in Georgia, where Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election in the Peach State and expects to wrap her probe by the end of the year.
The decision of whether to charge Trump or his associates will ultimately fall to Attorney General Merrick Garland, whom President Joe Biden picked for the job because his tenure as a judge provided some distance from partisan politics, after Senate Republicans blocked his Supreme Court nomination in 2016.
Indicting an active candidate for the White House would surely spark a political firestorm. And while no decision has been made about whether a special counsel might be needed in the future, DOJ officials have debated whether doing so could insulate the Justice Department from accusations that Joe Biden’s administration is targeting his chief political rival, people familiar with the matter tell CNN.
In the view of conservative strategists, an indictment of Trump during the Biden administration would further polarize the nation and strengthen support for the former president in the GOP base, as the GOP would frame the DOJ indictment as a political witch hunt.