US President Donald Trump gestures during a rally to contest the certification of the results of the 2020 US presidential election by the US Congress on January 6, 2021 in Washington, USA.
Jim Bourg | Reuters
President Donald Trump is not expected to face criminal charges – at least for the time being – for instigating the uprising in the U.S. Capitol, a Justice Department official said Friday.
The official’s comments came just a day after the District of Columbia chief attorney did not rule out charges against Trump.
“We are not expecting any charges of this kind,” the official said on a conference call with reporters on Friday when asked if the DOJ would consider indicting spokesmen at a rally for Trump shortly before the uprising on Wednesday.
Trump, his attorney Rudy Giuliani, and the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., all spoke at the rally, which focused on their false claims that Joe Biden won the presidential election through election fraud in multiple states.
Another DOJ official said the federal investigation is currently focused solely on criminal activity in the Capitol.
A few hours after the press conference, a Justice Department spokesman issued a new statement leaving the door open for charges against the president.
“Our focus is on the events in the Capitol,” said the spokesman.
“So far we have not charged anyone with incitement or insurrection. This is an extremely complex and ongoing investigation and we will continue to obey the facts and the law.”
Thousands of Trump supporters broke into the convention halls after the rally, where Trump asked fans to help him thwart Biden’s confirmation as the next President of the United States.
On Thursday, acting DCUS attorney Michael Sherwin, whose office is part of the Justice Department, explicitly did not rule out indicting Trump of incitement to mob.
Sherwin had said he would consider prosecuting anyone involved in the riot.
When asked directly if he had Trump’s role in starting the mayhem in mind, Sherwin said, “I don’t want to sound like a broken record. We’ll see all the actors here.”