Chance of Trump criminal charges 'rising' as former DOJ official recommends 'strike force': report

With the Department of Justice under Attorney General Merrick Garland being accused of dragging its feet investigating Donald Trump's part in the January 6 insurrection, a growing number of legal experts outside the department are saying they see plenty of evidence that should lead to criminal charges and are urging the DOJ to speed things up.

According to a report from the Guardian's Peter Stone, a bombshell filing on March 2 by the House panel investigating the Capitol riot made a strong case that implicated the former president in a “criminal conspiracy,” which has legal experts advocating for charges to be filed and even for a "strike force" of investigators to be convened.

"The likelihood of a criminal investigation and charges against Donald Trump are rising due to allegations by a House panel of a 'criminal conspiracy' involving his aggressive drive to overturn the 2020 election results," Stone wrote before adding, "Former federal prosecutors say evidence is mounting of criminal conduct by Trump that may yield charges against the ex-president for obstructing an official proceeding of Congress on 6 January or defrauding the US government, stemming from his weeks-long drive with top allies to thwart Biden’s election by pushing false claims of fraud."

Speaking with the Guardian, Paul Pelletier, who previously served as the acting chief of DOJ’s fraud section said he has seen enough to warrant criminal charges.

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“The compelling evidence of criminal activity by Trump revealed by the committee in its recent 61-page court filing should spur DoJ to act expeditiously,” he explained. "Given the gravity of the revelations, the department should consider a strike force or even a special counsel to coalesce sufficient resources to focus on these criminal attacks that strike at the heart of our democracy.”

“There is no time to waste now that the House committee has provided the clearest view yet into how Trump and his campaign apparently schemed to upend our democracy,” he added.

Former federal prosecutor Dennis Aftergut claims he sees evidence that the DOJ is getting closer to Trump and his inner circle.

“The justice department and the House select committee investigating the Capitol siege have turned up the heat on Trump’s inner circle that could ensnare Trump himself,” he explained. "The committee’s sworn, evidence-based allegation that former president Trump conspired to overturn the election sends an unmistakable message. The train heading toward a criminal referral to the DoJ is leaving the station.”

With Stone writing, "Other former prosecutors say the House panel’s 2 March evidence that Trump broke laws in a criminal conspiracy, coupled with the justice department investigations that are moving forward, could fuel criminal charges against Trump and his top allies," he quoted veteran prosecutor Paul Rosenzweig claiming, "The seditious conspiracy charges and the newly announced investigation of fake electors indicate that the government is increasingly investigating more serious and significant charges above and beyond the violent events of the day.”

“These developments, along with the ongoing investigation of Trump confidants like Rudy Giuliani, suggest that more charges are likely,” he elaborated. “I assume that as part of the ongoing investigation into January 6, the department already has a dedicated task force looking into potential criminal charges against Trump and his top loyalists. If they do not, they should.”

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