The looming executive privilege showdown in court between Trump and the Department of Justice has been expected for months. According to anonymous sources cited by CNN on Thursday, Trump’s legal team has been put on notice that indictments are possible, and not just for other administration officials, underlings, or hangers-on.
Indictments are possible for Trump, too.
A Trump spokesperson told CNN there was “clearly a concerted effort to undermine the vital, Constitutionally-rooted Executive and Attorney-Client Privileges through partisan, political persecution.”
A request for comment from Daily Kos regarding how Trump’s legal team views crime fraud exceptions to executive privilege was not immediately returned Friday.
Trump has been warned to cut contact with his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, but that legal advice is reportedly going unheeded.
Meadows spent the better part of a year battling with the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack and only narrowly avoided prosecution for criminal contempt of Congress. He courted the contempt referral after abruptly ending his cooperation with the committee and skipping a deposition hearing.
Though that relationship fell apart, Meadows gave the committee a wealth of records from his time at the White House, including thousands of text messages and other records like a copy of the PowerPoint presentation retired U.S. Army Col. Phil Waldron made recommending Trump declare a national emergency to seize all paper ballots and stop certification.
Meadows was a major fixture around Trump before, during, and after the insurrection and was present for some of the most significant moments in Trump’s attempt to overturn of the 2020 election. Meadows’ former aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, described publicly how Meadows warned her Jan. 6 would get “real bad” just minutes after Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told Meadows: “We’re going to the Capitol, it’s going to be great, the president is going to be there, he’s going to look powerful.”
Hutchinson also revealed that she heard Meadows tell Cipollone Trump didn’t think the mob was “doing anything wrong” when they were chanting “Hang Mike Pence” as a gallows was erected on the Capitol’s front lawn.
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Meadows pursued a pardon from Trump on Jan. 7, along with Giuliani. Hutchinson told investigators that when Trump wanted to offer pardons to everyone who stormed the Capitol in a speech to be delivered on Jan. 7, 2021, it was Meadows who talked up the idea. Other White House counsel, however, nixed it as a bad idea.
As such, keeping Meadows and Trump separated now is necessary because of the overlap between the Department of Justice’s probe and the committee’s probe.
An attorney for Meadows dismissed reports that the former chief of staff might also be a fact witness for the department. His attorney George Terwilliger told CNN all of this was “idle talk” and “uninformed speculation.”
Hutchinson has been cooperating with the Justice Department.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder opined Thursday that Trump will “probably” face criminal charges along with other White House officials for crimes connected to Jan. 6. Holder also speculated that what is likely to happen before that will be possible criminal charges from Fani Willis, the Georgia state prosecutor investigating Trump’s bid to overturn the election results in that state.
″My guess is that by the end of this process, you’re going to see indictments involving high-level people in the White House, you’re going to see indictments against people outside the White House who were advising them with regard to the attempt to steal the election,” Holder told CNBC.
The Justice Department’s probe into Jan. 6 is split into many subcategories, and prosecutors’ activity has become increasingly evident. It has not been confirmed officially by the department, but it has been widely reported that the agency is pursuing possible criminal charges for Trump by focusing on two subjects: seditious conspiracy and obstruction of a congressional proceeding and fraud. The fraud review stems from the former president’s bid to advance bogus electors.
Meanwhile, the select committee is still pursuing interviews and amassing evidence. Some of that evidence is on its way now to committee from none other than Alex Jones, the right-wing blowhard and conspiracy theory-monger who told a crowd in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5: “I don’t know how this is all going to end, but if they want to fight, they better believe they’ve got one.”
Jones’ lawyer mistakenly sent two years’ worth of Jones’ text messages to Mark Bankston, the lawyer representing parents of a victim of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting who sued Jones for defamation.
Bankston said a number of law enforcement agencies had already reached out to him seeking access to the texts.
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The committee met with Jones previously and he pleaded the Fifth Amendment throughout, failing to answer more than 100 questions.
Some of the texts on Jones’ phone contain “intimate messages” with GOP operative and ratfucker Roger Stone. These text messages could potentially prove enlightening for numerous reasons, chief among them that both Stone and Jones have close ties to leaders and members of the extremist Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.
Oath Keeper ringleader Elmer Rhodes and Proud Boy leader Henry Tarrio are facing seditious conspiracy charges alongside a rack of their foot soldiers and division leaders. In court exhibits entered onto the public record this April, the Justice Department revealed that it obtained text messages from Rhodes where he and other Oath Keepers like Kelly Meggs discussed plans for providing security to Jones and other Trump-world officials, like former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and “Stop the Steal” movement founder Ali Alexander.
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