In the weeks leading up to the midterm election, the Justice Department observed the traditional quiet period of not making any overt moves that may have political consequences.
But behind the scenes, investigators remained busy, using aggressive grand jury subpoenas and secret court battles to compel testimony from witnesses in both the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his alleged mishandling of national security documents kept at his Palm Beach home.
Federal investigators have been planning for a burst of post-election activity in Trump-related investigations. That includes the prospect of indictments of Trump’s associates – moves that could be made more complicated after Trump declared a run for the presidency on Tuesday.
“They can crank up charges on almost anybody if they wanted to,” said one defense attorney working on Jan. 6-related matters, who added defense lawyers have “have no idea” who ultimately will be charged.
“This is the scary thing,” the attorney said.
The Justice Department brought in a brain trust for high-level advice on the Trump investigations, according to people familiar with the moves.
Top Justice officials have looked to an old guard of former Southern District of New York prosecutors, bringing into the investigations Kansas City-based federal prosecutor and national security expert David Raskin, as well as David Rody, a prosecutor-turned-defense lawyer who previously specialized in gang and conspiracy cases and has worked extensively with government cooperators.
Rody, whose involvement has not been previously reported, left a lucrative partnership at the prestigious corporate defense firm Sidley Austin in recent weeks to become a senior counsel at DOJ in the criminal division in Washington, according to his LinkedIn profile and sources familiar with the move.
The team at the DC US Attorney’s Office handling the day-to-day work of the Jan. 6 investigations is also growing – even while the office’s sedition cases against right-wing extremists go to trial.
A handful of other prosecutors have joined the Jan. 6 investigations team, including a high-ranking fraud and public corruption prosecutor who has moved out of a supervisor position and onto the team, and a prosecutor with years of experience in criminal appellate work now involved in some of the grand jury activity.
Taken together, the reorganization of prosecutors indicates a serious and snowballing investigation into Trump and his closest circles.