DOJ transcript request shows criminal probe of Trump allies just moved into the open: legal expert
US Attorney General Merrick Garland (AFP)

The Department of Justice has asked for transcripts of interviews conducted by the House select committee, and a legal expert explained how that shows the criminal investigation of Jan. 6 has moved out into the open.

The pace of the DOJ probe of the insurrection has reportedly frustrated the White House, but MSNBC legal analyst Barbara McQuade told "Morning Joe" the request for evidence collected by congressional investigators shows federal authorities have widened the scope of their criminal investigation.

"I think this is a very significant development," said McQuade, a former U.S. Attorney. "It tells us that the Justice Department is looking at more than just the physical attack that occurred on Jan. 6 at the Capitol, but the full scope of all of the things that the Jan. 6 committee has been investigating that includes aides to Mike Pence, we've talked about the pressure that Donald Trump put on him to stop the certification. It includes DOJ high-level officials who were pressured by Trump to say that there was fraud in the election."

McQuade doesn't believe their ongoing investigation has expanded, but she said the request does signal a new phase to the criminal probe.

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"I don't think it means necessarily only now are they beginning that expansive investigation." she said. "I think they've just reached a point where they've decided it's okay to go overt. It's likely they've been doing covert investigations to get email, for example, is likely completed and now ready to proceed to this phase."

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