Federal grand jury hears from Mike Pence’s former chief of staff

When it comes to prosecutions related to the Jan. 6 attack, there has clearly been some accountability for the rank-and-file rioters who participated in the assault on the Capitol. According to a new Washington Post count, as of last week, 842 suspects have been charged in the Justice Department’s probe of the Capitol insurrection.

What’s far less clear is when — and whether — there might be related charges brought against those higher up the proverbial food chain. After all, more than a few individuals were responsible for hatching and executing this plot against our democracy, and to date, none of them has been arrested.

But we’re occasionally reminded that the Justice Department’s investigation is ongoing. NBC News reported:

Former Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff appeared Friday before a federal grand jury investigating the Jan. 6 attack, a source familiar with his testimony told NBC News. Marc Short, who testified before the House committee back in January, was with Pence at the U.S. Capitol during the siege. He would be the highest-ranking former Trump administration official known to have testified before the federal grand jury.

ABC News was first to report on Short’s grand jury testimony. A Wall Street Journal report added that Greg Jacob, Pence’s former legal counsel, also appeared before a grand jury under subpoena, but this detail hasn’t been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News.

To be sure, we do not know, at least not yet, what it is Short testified about. But it’s no small thing that a prominent White House official was subpoenaed by the Justice Department and spoke to a grand jury.

Indeed, what this represents is the latest breadcrumb of sorts, letting us know that federal investigators may be working slowly and quietly, but they are in fact working. As NBC News’ report added, “Short’s grand jury appearance is an indication that the Justice Department’s investigation into the events of Jan. 6, 2021, has expanded beyond those who attacked the Capitol and those involved in the so-called fake elector schemes. “

What’s more, it’s not the only indication. It was just last month, for example, when we learned that federal investigators had descended on Jeffrey Clark’s home as part of the Justice Department’s investigation. Clark, of course, was a highly controversial Justice Department official whom Donald Trump wanted to appoint as attorney general in order to advance his anti-election scheme.

Around the same time, FBI agents executed a search warrant against Trump lawyer John Eastman and seized his phone.

Days later, we also learned that Ali Alexander, the founder of the “Stop the Steal” group that organized a Jan. 6 rally, also testified before a federal grand jury.

It was against this backdrop that Short also testified, signaling that the investigation has now reached inside the Trump White House.

It’s unlikely that anyone would characterize the Justice Department’s probe as swift or rushed, but it’s good to get periodic reminders that it exists.