Donald Trump Jan. 6 Criminal Investigation Launched by Department of Justice (Report)

The criminal probe is part of the investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, The Washington Post reported

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The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s actions during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The investigation is part of a “criminal probe of efforts to overturn the 2020 election results” four anonymous sources told The Post.

A Trump spokesman did not immediately respond to a request from the Post for comment. A Justice Department spokesman and a lawyer for Meadows declined to comment, according to the Post report.

News of the investigation follows last week’s Jan. 6 congressional hearing, which focused on Trump’s whereabouts and inaction after the assault on the U.S. Capitol started. Thursday’s hearing also revealed bizarre behind-the-scenes footage from that day during the taping of Trump’s speech to the nation, including a refusal to concede the election results and several outtakes in which he struggled for off-script words.

The Department of Justice’s investigation marks a distinct and separate effort from the Jan. 6 Special Committee, which aims to highlight Trump’s responsibility in the attack and his failure to stop it – something the committee tried to show last week that only he had the power to do.

A grand jury has heard from witnesses including two former top Mike Pence aides, who testified about conversations with Trump, his attorneys and the former president’s inner circle, according to the Post, which cited two unnamed sources. The congressional probe says Trump’s innermost ring drove an effort to have fake, alternative electors placed in Congress’ certification of the 2020 presidential election.

Those sessions have included hours of detailed questions from federal prosecutors, the Post reported. The queries included topics ranging from the pressure he applied on Pence to how directly involved he was in the effort to place fake electors. The investigation has also obtained phone records of Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and other top Trump administration officials and aides, the Post reported.

Two people familiar with the matter told the Post that there are two potential tracks that could result from the investigation: one that focuses on “seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct a government proceed,” and the other that centers around fraud regarding the false-electors scheme or pressure from Trump to claim the 2020 election was rigged.

Jeremy Bailey contributed to this report.