Why Hasn’t the DOJ Launched an Investigation into Trump’s Efforts to Overturn the Election? 

Social Justice Policy Brief #34 | By: Maureen Darby-Serson | May 16, 2022

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Trump Wanted DOJ To Overturn Election ‘By Any Means Necessary,’ Senate Report Details.

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Policy Summary

While the January 6th committee filed in federal court claiming that former President Donald Trump corruptly obstructed an official proceeding and conspired to defraud the United Stated on the day of the Capital riot, the US Department of Justice has yet to file charges or do a thorough investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 Presidential Election. Why is that?

It appears that Attorney General Merrick Garland is waiting for the Committee to do their investigation and call their witnesses before the DOJ starts an investigation, if there will even be one. 

He also may be waiting for this to wrap up to avoid the appearance of the investigation being politically motivated. In addition, there are several potential legal questions that need to be answered before proceeding with charges against Donald Trump. One major question is related to the concept that a sitting President cannot be criminally charged. The US Constitution does not, and US Supreme Court have not said anything on this matter. This is why the answer to the question is so unclear.

Policy Analysis

Something like this has never happened before. A sitting President has never tried to question the results of an election and tried to get the Vice President to not certify the election results. That is what makes the questions of criminal charges for Trump so difficult to answer in this situation.

The closest example we have to a sitting President being charged is former President Richard Nixon. Nixon was threatened with impeachment, not a DOJ criminal investigation. 

When Watergate happened, the DOJ adopted a policy of not indicting a sitting president. This policy has stood since that time, even with the DOJ stating that Special Counsel Ken Starr could indict former President Bill Clinton during the investigation into his relationship with then Intern Monica Lewinsky.

nixon trump photos
Trump’s obstruction of justice is far more extensive than Nixon’s.

Photo taken from: The Denver Post

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We will most likely have to wait for the January 6th Committee to complete their process before we have a definite answer to the question of criminal charges against former President Donald Trump.

Engagement Resources​

Click or tap on resource URL to visit links where available 

United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack Logo Blue

January 6th Committee Brief:


Reuters Logo

US President and criminal charges: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-indictment-explainer/can-a-sitting-u-s-president-face-criminal-charges-idUSKCN1QF1D3

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