The Washington Post broke the story last night that the Department of Justice is investigating Trump’s role in the failed coup of January 6 and presenting evidence and testimony to a grand jury.

The Justice Department is investigating President Donald Trump’s actions as part of its criminal probe of efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, according to four people familiar with the matter.

Prosecutors who are questioning witnesses before a grand jury — including two top aides to Vice President Mike Pence — have asked in recent days about conversations with Trump, his lawyers, and others in his inner circle who sought to substitute Trump allies for certified electors from some states Joe Biden won, according to two people familiar with the matter. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

The prosecutors have asked hours of detailed questions about meetings Trump led in December 2020 and January 2021; his pressure campaign on Pence to overturn the election; and what instructions Trump gave his lawyers and advisers about fake electors and sending electors back to the states, the people said. Some of the questions focused directly on the extent of Trump’s involvement in the fake-elector effort led by his outside lawyers, including John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani, these people said.

In addition, Justice Department investigators in April received phone records of key officials and aides in the Trump administration, including his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, according to two people familiar with the matter. That effort is another indicator of how expansive the Jan. 6 probe had become, well before the high-profile, televised House hearings in June and July on the subject….

The revelations raise the stakes of an already politically fraught probe involving a former president, still central to his party’s fortunes,who has survived previous investigations and two impeachments. Long before the Jan. 6 investigation, Trump spent years railing against the Justice Department and the FBI; the investigation moving closer to him will probably intensify that antagonism.

Many elements of the sprawling Jan. 6 criminal investigation have remained under wraps. But in recent weeks the public pace of the work has increased, with a fresh round of subpoenas, search warrants and interviews. Pence’s former chief of staff, Marc Short, and lawyer, Greg Jacob, appeared before the grand jury in downtown Washington in recent days, according to the people familiar with the investigation. Both men declined to comment.

The Justice Department efforts are separate from the inquiry underway by the House committee, which has sought to portray Trump as responsible for inciting the Capitol riot and for being derelict in his duty for refusing to stop it. Both Short and Jacob have testified before the committee, telling lawmakers that Pence resisted Trump’s attempts to enlist him in the cause…

No former president has ever been charged with a crime in the country’s history. In cases when investigators found evidence suggesting a president engaged in criminal conduct, as with Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton, investigators and successive administrations concluded it was better to grant immunity or forgo prosecution. One goal was to avoid appearing to use government power to punish political enemies and assure the tradition of a peaceful transfer of power.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has vowed that the Jan. 6 investigation will follow the facts wherever they lead and said that no one is exempt or above scrutiny, while refusing to divulge information outside of court filings.

Garland told NBC News in a Tuesday interview that the department pursues justice “without fear or favor. We intend to hold everyone, anyone, who was criminally responsible for the events surrounding January 6th, for any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another, accountable — that’s what we do. We don’t pay any attention to other issues with respect to that.”