Jan. 6 investigation reportedly stretching the Department of Justice to its limitsJuly 29, 2022
As NBC News reports, the concerns expressed by “more than a dozen” sources familiar with the investigation center not on whether the DOJ has enough bodies overall — with 113,000 employees, the DOJ is not exactly short of bodies. The question whether enough of the department’s resources have been allocated to what is being called “the most wide-ranging investigation in Justice Department history.”
With over 840 arrests associated with the events of Jan. 6 so far, and the agency still working its way up the chain toward Trump, the investigation is eating up a significant portion of the agency’s overall resources. That’s especially true in the time local FBI and U.S. attorneys are spending tracking down information across the country on everything from violent insurgents, to false electors, to state and local officials who were threatened as part of the attempt to overturn election results.
In its budget for the coming year, the Justice Department has asked for an additional $34 million to fund 80 federal prosecutors and 50 more employees that would be dedicated to completing the investigation into Trump’s attempted coup. However, these funds were not included in the omnibus spending bill that passed in March.
As has become clear from some of the questions asked, the DOJ is definitely looking into the violence on Jan. 6 and what steps Trump and his co-conspirators took to deliver the assault on the Capitol. But that’s far from all they’re investigating.
Trump’s efforts to overturn the election started well before the election. As Steve Bannon revealed weeks before the vote, Trump always intended to “just declare victory” using claims about mail-in-ballots as a pretext for disputing the outcome of the election. The Justice Department seems to be looking into the steps Trump took to set up his supporters for the Big Lie, as well as schemes like the effort to overwhelm courts with false information and to interfere with the submission of electors in December. The Jan. 6 plot was just the last in a series of schemes, and the DOJ may be looking into how all of them fit together.
There’s no doubt it’s a large amount of work, but despite the reported concerns, Merrick Garland insisted that he’s confident the DOJ can handle the massive investigation. Still … if some more funds would get things moving faster, it would be a great investment.