Prosecutors are scrutinizing the plan by Mr. Trump’s allies to create alternate slates of pro-Trump electors to overturn Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in key swing states, with a federal grand jury issuing subpoenas to people involved. That investigation brings prosecutors closer to Mr. Trump’s inner circle than some other inquiry.
No sitting or former president has ever been placed on trial. Aaron Burr was charged with treason after leaving office as vice chairman in a highly politicized case directed from the White House by President Thomas Jefferson, but he was acquitted after a sensational trial. Ulysses S. Grant, while president, was arrested for speeding in his horse and buggy. Spiro T. Agnew resigned as vice chairman as a part of a plea bargain in a corruption case.
The closest a former president got here to indictment was after Richard M. Nixon resigned within the Watergate scandal in 1974, but his successor, Gerald R. Ford, short-circuited the investigation by preemptively pardoning him, reasoning that the country had to maneuver on. Mr. Clinton, to avoid perjury charges after leaving office, agreed on his last full day within the White House to a cope with Mr. Ray wherein he admitted giving false testimony under oath about his affair with Monica S. Lewinsky, temporarily surrendered his law license and paid a $25,000 fantastic.
Should the Justice Department indict Mr. Trump, a trial could be vastly different from House hearings in ways in which affect the scope and pace of any inquiry. Investigators would should scour 1000’s of hours of video footage and the total contents of devices and online accounts they’ve accessed for evidence bolstering their case, in addition to anything that a defense lawyer could use to knock it down. Federal prosecutors would probably also should persuade appeals court judges and a majority of Supreme Court justices of the validity of their case.
For the entire pressure that the House committee has placed on the Justice Department to act, it has resisted sharing information. In April, the department asked the committee for transcripts of witness interviews, however the panel has not agreed to show over the documents because its work is constant.
Although critics have faulted Mr. Garland, attorneys general don’t generally drive the day-to-day work of investigations. Mr. Garland is briefed nearly daily on the inquiry’s progress, but it surely is being led by Matthew M. Graves, the U.S. attorney in Washington, who’s working with national security and criminal division officials. Lisa O. Monaco, the deputy attorney general, broadly oversees the investigation.