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Justice Department investigating Trump’s actions as a part of Jan. 6 probe

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Former U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks on the America First Policy Institute America First Agenda Summit in Washington, July 26, 2022.

Sarah Silbiger | Reuters

The Department of Justice is investigating former President Donald Trump’s actions leading as much as the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol as a part of its criminal probe of efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, an administration official acquainted with the investigation said.

The inquiry is said to the department’s broader probe of efforts overturn the 2020 election results and never a criminal investigation of Trump himself, the official said.

The Washington Post first reported that the Justice Department was investigating Trump’s actions leading as much as Jan. 6, citing 4 people acquainted with the matter, whom it didn’t name. The department declined to comment on the investigation. 

NBC News has reached out to a spokesperson for Trump for comment.

The Post, citing two people acquainted with the matter, reported that prosecutors have asked witnesses before a grand jury about conversations with Trump. A number of the questions focused on substituting Trump allies for electors in states President Joe Biden won and on a pressure campaign on then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election, the newspaper reported.

The Post also reported that the Justice Department has gotten phone records of aides that include former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows. The Department of Justice, a spokesperson for Trump, and a lawyer for Meadows didn’t reply to the Post’s requests for comment. NBC News has not confirmed the main points of the Post’s report in regards to the DOJ’s line of questioning or the phone records.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said an interview that aired on NBC Nightly News Tuesday that “anyone” could be held accountable.

“We’ll hold accountable anyone who was criminally liable for attempting to interfere with the transfer, legitimate, lawful transfer of power from one administration to the following,” Garland told NBC Nightly News’ Lester Holt.

Greater than 850 people across all 50 states have been arrested in reference to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress was formally counting the electoral votes that showed Biden had won, in response to officials.

The House Jan. 6 committee has been airing hearings and interviews in regards to the actions that led as much as that day and the actions Trump took, or didn’t take, because it unfolded.

Last month it was revealed that members of Trump’s team challenged the 2020 election by organizing slates of other “fake electors” in seven pivotal states.

Fake electors submitted false certifications of Trump victories to the National Archives in hopes of getting then-Vice President Mike Pence substitute them for the actual electoral votes that made Biden president, in response to testimony and documents presented at a June hearing of the committee.

Garland said within the NBC News interview that aired Tuesday that the Justice Department is conducting “probably the most wide ranging investigation in its history.”

Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, appeared Friday before a federal grand jury investigating the Jan. 6 attack, a source acquainted with his testimony told NBC News on Monday.

Short was with Pence on the U.S. Capitol in the course of the Jan. 6 attack. He could be the highest-ranking former Trump administration official known to have testified before the federal grand jury.

Garland said within the NBC News interview that Trump’s possible candidacy for president in 2024 wouldn’t impact the Justice Department investigation. Trump has not said whether he’ll run again.

No former president in U.S. history has ever been charged with a criminal offense. Richard Nixon, the one president to resign from office, was pardoned by then-President Gerald Ford. Nixon was never charged with any crime.

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