“Justice Dept. Investigation of Jan. 6 Confronts Sprawling Cast of Characters”


Among the challenges facing the federal grand jury recently empaneled to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is the sheer number of people who might have information relevant to its inquiry.

According to a subpoena issued by the grand jury, prosecutors are asking for records about people who organized or spoke at several pro-Trump rallies after the election. They presumably include two events in Washington in November and December 2020 that preceded the gathering on the Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, where President Donald J. Trump told the crowd to descend on the Capitol.

The subpoena is also seeking records about anyone who provided security at those events and about those who were deemed to be “V.I.P. attendees.”

Moreover, it requests information about any members of the executive and legislative branches who may have taken part in planning or executing the rallies, or tried to “obstruct, influence, impede or delay” the certification of the presidential election.

Each of these broad categories could involve dozens of individuals. Taken together, the total number of potential witnesses — or at some point, targets — sought after by the grand jury could easily reach into the hundreds.

The investigation appears to be in its early stages and there is no way of knowing at this point where it may go, what crimes it might identify or who it may ultimately focus on. Many people of interest to investigators might be called only as witnesses.

One possible road map — at least in terms of who the grand jury may still want to hear from — is the parallel probe by the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack, which has already interviewed hundreds of witnesses, including, on Tuesday, Ivanka Trump, the former president’s daughter and adviser.

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