Amid criticism of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s narrow scope in the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 investigation, the DOJ has hired a career federal prosecutor to help decide whether to investigate MAGAland’s election steal schemes.
It’s all part of the DOJ’s broader probe into the Capitol attack, signaling officials may be becoming increasingly interested in post-election events beyond just the violence itself, according to the New York Times.
Thomas Windom, a prosecutor from Maryland, was reportedly brought aboard several months ago and has been working with the DOJ’s criminal and national security divisions on the matter.
The Times reports that Windom has been tasked with determining if ex-President Donald Trump and his cronies’ efforts to undo the 2020 election ought to be investigated as part of the DOJ’s Jan. 6 probe, which has largely focused on just the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol. The DOJ’s Windom addition signals a nod at the theory that legal scholars and the Jan. 6 select committee have been poking for more than a year — that Jan. 6 was about much more than the day of the attack.
However, Windom’s reported involvement seems to be in a preliminary stage; he doesn’t have a team of prosecutors working for him yet, the Times reports.
Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, who spoke to TPM last month about Garland’s slow pace in the Jan. 6 probe, tweeted on Wednesday that Windom’s appointment shows that the attorney general is “NOT asleep at the switch.”
The latest development adds to recent reports of the DOJ expanding the scope of its investigation to include looking at the infamous pro-Trump rally at the Ellipse that preceded the Capitol insurrection. The department has subpoenaed several Trump allies who were involved in planning and financing the rally, according to the Washington Post, and one of those subpoenas indicated that investigators were also looking at Trump’s fake elector scheme, according to the Times.
But Garland remains under pressure to ramp up the investigation given how much time has passed since the attack.
Members of the House Jan. 6 Committee are particularly frustrated with the attorney general’s delay in acting on the House’s criminal referral of ex-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for contempt of Congress. The House voted to refer Meadows to the DOJ in December after the Trump official refused to comply with the committee’s subpoena.
“The Department of Justice has a duty to act on this referral and others that we have sent,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a member of the Jan. 6 panel, said last month. “Without enforcement of congressional subpoenas, there is no oversight, and without oversight, no accountability — for the former president, or any other president, past, present, or future.