Expanding Jan. 6 Probe Stretches DOJ Resources

Expanding Jan. 6 Probe Stretches DOJ Resources rioters clash with police and security forces at the u.s. capitol on jan. 6, 2021 Rioters clash with police and security forces at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 29 July 2022 09:22 AM EDT

Federal officials are raising concerns that the Justice Department's expanding investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol could bring the already stretched probe to a breaking point, according to NBC News.

Cases against Capitol rioters are making their way through the court systems as a federal grand jury is hearing testimony about the role then-President Donald Trump may have played that day.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the Justice Department is investigating Trump's actions in a criminal probe of the former president's attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

More than a dozen sources expressed concern to NBC News that the department's resources may be stretched too thin.

NBC News noted law enforcement agents have made about 850 arrests since the riot. It noted, however, that represents only a sliver of the more than 2,500 people who entered the Capitol.

In addition, the U.S. Attorney Office in Washington, which is directing the riot investigations, is also looking at a number of other related issues, including whether there was a conspiracy to obstruct the electoral vote certification on Jan. 6, according to NBC News.

In a budget request for 2023, the Justice Department has asked Congress for more than $34 million to fund 130 employees, including 80 federal prosecutors, to aid the "extraordinary" investigation.

Still, Attorney General Merrick Garland told NBC News he is "confident" that the Justice Department could handle the workload regardless of what Congress does.

"Of course, we'd like more resources, and if Congress wants to give that to us, that would be very nice," Garland said Tuesday. "But we have people — prosecutors and agents — from all over the country working on this matter, and I have every confidence in their ability, their professionalism, their dedication to this task."

Others are not as certain.

"We don't have the manpower," an official said.

Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance said: "People are concerned about the resources. It's an enormous amount of cases, and that puts pressure not just on DOJ, but on the courts and probation. It puts pressure on the entire system."

Without the extra funding from Congress, the Jan. 6 investigation will take away resources from other unrelated investigations.

"This will have a detrimental impact on the United States Attorneys' ability to backfill vacancies and prosecute important cases in other jurisdictions," the Justice Department said in its budget request to Congress.

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