DOJ plots strategy to force former Trump confidants to testify about most secret moments of Jan. 6: report

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The Justice Department wants Trump White House officials to testify about the former president’s conversations on and around January 6, 2021 and they are prepared to go to court to make that happen, according to CNN.

The outlet reported on Thursday that people briefed on the matter said federal prosecutors are bracing for a legal battle to force former Trump administration officials to testify in its sweeping Jan. 6 investigation. The agency’s apparent preparedness is the latest sign that the DOJ investigation is focusing on Trump’s conduct related to efforts to nullify the 2020 election.

The Justice Department anticipates that Trump will claim executive privilege in order to conceal evidence from the federal grand jury, CNN reported, and prosecutors are preparing to fight in court.

A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

News of the DOJ’s planning comes two days after multiple outlets reported that the agency’s investigation had increasingly focused on Trump’s actions following his loss to President Joe Biden.

Two people familiar with the matter told the Washington Post that investigators before a grand jury interviewed recent witnesses about conversations with Trump, his lawyers and allies. Prosecutors investigated meetings the former president held in December 2020 and January 2021; his attempts to convince Vice President Mike Pence not to certify the election results; and the level at which Trump is involved in his lawyers’ fake voter scheme.

The Justice Department investigation, which is separate from the House Select Committee investigation into Jan. 6, has been closing in on Trump for months, according to The Post, which reported that federal investigators in April obtained tapes phones belonging to senior Trump administration officials and aides, including former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

A court battle over executive privilege, however, would quickly and publicly escalate the investigation.

The Justice Department has come under increasing criticism for the slow pace of its investigation, especially as televised congressional committee hearings have sparked renewed public interest in the insurgency in recent weeks. But the agency’s alleged preparedness indicates the caution prosecutors are taking to navigate the predicament of investigating a former president for his behavior while in office, CNN noted.

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