The FBI resisted opening an investigation into former President Donald Trump’s role in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot for more than a year, according to The Washington Post.
The report details how Department of Justice officials shut down an early plan for a task force focused on the former president and those closest to him. Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig told MSNBC on Monday that those officials were finally spurred into action once the House Select Committee launched its own probe into the Jan 6 attacks.
Leonnig shared that much of the hesitance came as a result of Trump’s fear-mongering. The FBI was worried because numerous people had lost their jobs as a result of the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s connections to Russia in 2016 and the DOJ was concerned about appearing to be targeting the GOP directly, as many Republicans were involved with the events on Jan. 6.
“Merrick Garland and Lisa Monaco embraced the strategy of let’s do it like a mob case,” Leonnig said. “Build up from the riot. Figure out if there’s somebody higher and higher and higher and perhaps it will lead to those individuals around Donald Trump. Perhaps not. Let’s let the evidence lead us up that ladder.
“The problem is there is no ladder between militia members, the Oath Keepers, and the Proud Boys wearing flak jackets and bullet-proof vests and carrying bear spray and emails to Mark Meadows or Donald Trump or Rudy Giuliani about convincing state officials to help them create fake electors to swing the election for Trump and away from Biden.
“As it started to emerge in the summer and especially the fall of 2022, still, the DOJ sort of turned its eyes away from this until it became a drumbeat of criticism, news stories, some of them on this story and some of them in my paper. And a groundswell of concern that the Jan. 6th committee was really without the same kind of power as the Department of Justice uncovering stunning and worrisome and, likely criminal acts,” she continued.
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Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissman, who served on special counsel Bob Mueller’s team, told MSBC that “it is taking politics into account when you decide that you’re going to create a higher standard before you look at somebody who committed a crime.”
“But according to The Washington Post, over and over again, the department’s leadership was saying no to an investigation,” he continued. “That is inherently political. Obviously, it is not on the same plane. Not the same level as Barr did where you’re actively going arrest people because of politics, but not going after people is also a real wrong, and we’re suffering the consequences of it now because there has been a delay, and as Carol rightly said, there is a race with the clock in terms of what Jack Smith is doing.”
Former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks tweeted that “the most shocking revelation in this excellent reporting is the brazen refusal of the FBI to cooperate in investigating as requested by DOJ — though the DOJ higher ups were certainly not helping the line prosecutors.”
“When I was at DOJ, FBI worked collaboratively with us,” she added.
Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner argued that the DOJ “had… enough evidence to open a criminal probe of Donald Trump on January 7th, 2021.”
about Trump’s legal woes