Department of Justice (DOJ) officials have reportedly engaged in discussions over whether two investigations involving former President Donald Trump would require the use of a special counsel should he decide to run for president.
According to reporting from CNN, which cited numerous sources familiar with the talks, the special counsel would oversee the investigations into the January 6 Capitol attack and Trump’s improper transfer of thousands of government documents from the White House to his Mar-a-Lago estate following his departure from office.
The report is the clearest indication yet that the DOJ is moving forward with its inquiries and will likely present Trump with related indictments — the first time in U.S. history that a former president would be indicted by the Justice Department.
The DOJ has also increased its staff for the two inquiries, hiring experienced prosecutors to help move the indictments forward if they choose to issue them.
The DOJ likely won’t issue indictments until after the midterms, possibly closer to the end of the year, some GOP insiders are predicting. Others are mulling the possibility that the DOJ, perhaps hoping to avoid controversy, will indict Trump sooner, leading some to question which will happen first: Trump’s 2024 announcement or the Justice Department’s charges.
Trump has repeatedly suggested that he’s planning on running for president again. New reporting from Axios, citing sources in Trump’s inner circle, predicts that the former president will make an announcement on his candidacy sometime in mid-November.
At a campaign rally in Iowa on Thursday, Trump told supporters that he “very, very, very probably” will run for president. “Get ready, that’s all I’m telling you — very soon,” he added.
The majority of Americans don’t want the former president to run for a third consecutive election cycle. A USA Today/Suffolk University poll from October found that 68 percent of voters don’t want Trump to run again, with barely over a quarter of the electorate (27 percent) saying they do want him to run.