The media reported on Monday that the FBI had put off opening an official investigation into ex-President Trump’s role in attempts to sway the election in 2020 for months out of concern that they would come across as partisan. However, the incident doesn’t seem to have heavily impeded prosecutors’ ability to notice Trump for offenses in the previous two years.
According to the media reports, which cited multiple reliable sources, top FBI officials and Justice Department initially delayed labeling Trump as a target and regarded it as an early proposal to look into Trump loyalists as a piece of its investigation shortly after the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
FBI Haults Further Investigation Into Trump’s Connection With Radicals
The media reports said that lawyer J.P. Cooney requested expanding the investigation to look into any ties between radicals and others close to Trump in 2021 February. According to the reports, top officers who first rejected that suggestion felt it was premature as well as wary of political dangers and deviating from accepted investigation practices. Instead, when they faced investigations against Trump allies who took part in the Capitol disturbance, top Department of Justice officials pushed prosecutors to develop cases by moving up the steps, including Attorney Merrick Garland. Investigative threads about collaborative efforts to help the riot were being pursued by the prosecutors, including by investigating political figures, around one year before counsel Smith had been appointed to investigate Trump, and on January 6, they had been given the go-ahead to take up the case to investigate Trump if pieces of evidence substantiate it, as per media reports.
Following his confirmation in March 2021, Attorney General Merrick Garland, together with Deputy General Attorney Lisa Monaco, along with Christopher Wray, FBI Director, stepped up their bottom-up strategy that prioritized charges against rioters first, according to the media.
Garland, Monaco, and Wray’s availability for interviews with the publication was reportedly refused by the FBI and DOJ.