The Justice Department has twice refused to investigate Donald Trump and his advisers for plotting a coup against the United States. It wasn’t until Rachel Maddow embarrassed them that the DOJ leadership decided to investigate the fake election plot.
DOJ Won’t Investigate Trump for 1/6
The Department of Justice is notoriously risk averse. The Department of Justice has such a high conviction rate because it only brings in the tightest cases.
The DOJ had refused to investigate Trump and the coup co-conspirators because they didn’t want to appear political and the leaders didn’t think they had enough evidence. The National Archives wanted an investigation into the forged voter documents but were refused.
Politico had reported that week that the House committee had requested and received documents from several states about fake voters as well as other efforts by Trump advisers to pressure state officials before January 6th. A flurry of reporting and commentary followed, including from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who devoted several nights of her show to reporting on hints that Trump’s allies were carrying out a coordinated plan to try to nullify the election.
In the latest of those episodes, on January 13, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) announced that she had referred the bogus voter issue to federal prosecutors — that day. She called the scheme “tampering with a public record” under Michigan law, but said the Justice Department would be in the best position to pursue a multi-state effort.
A person directly familiar with the department’s new interest in the case said he felt the department was reacting to the work of the House committee as well as increased media coverage and commentary. “It was only after being embarrassed that they started looking,” the person said.
Rachel Maddow assembled the pieces of the fake voters program
Committee 1/6 was investigating but had yet to say anything publicly, so the DOJ could have ignored the committee. What couldn’t be ignored was the growing media attention generated by Maddow’s nightly segments on the fake election plot.
The list of fake voters illegally submitted was at the heart of Trump’s coup plot. Trump and his allies conspired to have Mike Pence block election certification and then have the election returned to swing states with bogus claims of fraud state legislatures were supposed to declare Trump the winner and bogus slates pro-Trump voters would replace legitimate Biden voters and give Trump a second term.
Rachel Maddow gathered evidence, including the fact that the fake voter documents all came from the central source.
In Georgia, fake Trump voters met and voted for Trump while declaring the election was in progress.
The fake documents were signed by fake voters and submitted to the federal government, which is a crime.
After a series of programs on the false electoral conspiracy, Maddow interviewed Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel who said: ‘We believe this is a case that is best investigated and potentially prosecuted by federal authorities and as such just today we referred this case to the Western District, the US Attorney’s office, for them to assess it and we hope that the main justice – the Department of Justice will get involved and use the information they already have to better understand exactly what happened that day so that the federal charges can be assessed.
The DOJ was prepared to let Trump march on a coup attempt
If Committee 1/6 didn’t investigate. If Rachel Maddow didn’t put the pieces back together. Had state and local law enforcement officials not exposed the fake election plot, Trump might have gotten away with a coup attempt. Public pressure matters. Journalism is important, and it is important to have people at all levels of government who are prepared to do the right thing.
If Donald Trump were to face criminal charges over the fake election conspiracy, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow would be one of the reasons.
Jason is the editor. He is also a member of the White House press pool and a congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason holds a bachelor’s degree in political science. His graduate studies focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Political Science Association