An expose by the Washington Post suggests that the Department of Justice (DOJ) did not immediately pursue Donald Trump after the events of January 6, 2021, because it did not want to appear politically biased. The story purports that Attorney General Merrick Garland, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, and FBI Director Chris Wray actively wished to avoid filing charges against the former President and his key allies.
According to the Washington Post report, senior figures in the DOJ felt that an immediate investigation into Trump’s role in the riots was “premature” and officials decided to delay naming him as someone that would be held accountable for the incident. The approach taken instead, on the advice of Attorney General Merrick Garland, was for prosecutors to work their way up the ladder – starting with low-level rioters and eventually building up to the more prominent and powerful figures.
Garland’s fear of appearing politically biased reportedly alarmed some in his inner circle who believed that Trump was responsible and would effectively escape without punishment.
By 2022 however, Garland and the DOJ were ready to take the case to Donald Trump and his supporters. Jack Smith, who oversaw crimes against humanity prosecutions at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, was put in charge of the investigation. Smith continues to lead probes into the events of January 6 and Mr. Trump’s handling of classified documents.
The January 6 inquiry continues, but Smith decided to issue criminal charges against Donald Trump in the classified documents case and he pleaded not guilty on 37 counts at a Miami courthouse in June. Charges include obstruction of justice, unauthorized possession of classified material, and making false statements to law enforcement officers.
In April, the former President also entered a not guilty plea at a criminal court in Manhattan, where he faced charges including falsifying documents. These related to hush payments in exchange for silence on an alleged affair between Trump and adult actress Stormy Daniels.