The Mueller probe of the FBI investigation of a possible obstruction of justice charge at Trump’s home in Florida: Comments on the case of the Mar-a-Lago
This development is troubling since it could indicate a pattern of deception that plays into a possible obstruction of justice charge. On the initial search warrant before the FBI showed up at Trump’s home in August, the bureau told a judge there could be “evidence of obstruction” at the resort.
Dearie has shown himself to be far less sympathetic to Trump’s claims than Cannon, who Trump had nominated in 2020 and was confirmed by the Senate after the November 2020 election.
It’s unclear what the delay and the other opportunities Trump will have to hamstring the review will mean for the larger Justice Department investigation, which is looking at whether crimes were committed in how documents from the Trump White House were handled.
Trump went to court to get an order that would require someone else to look at the materials. The documents were excluded from that review by the appellate court because they were marked as classified.
The Mar-a-Lago probe is about whether or not Trump mishandled classified records and national security documents when they were taken to his home in Florida.
Cannon rejected the part of the plan that would have forced the former President to back up his claims that the FBI planted evidence.
“Should any additional matters surface during the Special Master’s review process that require reconsideration of the Inventory or the need to object to its contents, the parties shall make those matters known to the Special Master for appropriate resolution and recommendation to this Court,” Cannon said.
Cannon said that Trump’s legal team did not have to provide some details about their privilege claims in the special master review.
The federal judge removed the special master’s proposed requirement that Trump, when asserting a document is covered by executive privilege, specify whether he believed that barred disclosure within the executive branch versus disclosure outside of it.
The Supreme Court looked negatively on former President Trump in cases that he brought with respect to documents and his personal property, as well as Congress who was seeking information from him according to a CNN legal analyst.
The Discovery of Trump’s Private Mail Account for the Campaign against the Critique of the DoJ: The Cannon-DoJ Appellate Action
Cannon pointed to the issues of securing a vendor for the digitalization of seized materials as the reason why the timelines had been enlarged.
“In conversations between Plaintiff’s counsel and the Government regarding a data vendor, the Government mentioned that the 11,000 documents contain closer to 200,000 pages. The estimated volume is the reason that so many of the Government’s selected vendors have declined the engagement, according to Trump’s team.
After a court-approved warrant was issued by the FBI to get in touch with hundreds of other classified pages that were in Trump’s possession, his team and the FBI discovered hundreds of other classified pages in his possession. At the time, Trump’s lawyers were fighting with the Justice Department over whether they had adequately searched his properties, and whether they had turned over all classified records still in his possession. The DOJ was unsatisfied, and their investigation has continued.
The National Archives and Records Administration wrote a letter to the chairwoman of the panel saying it was unable to get records from a number of former officials.
It’s normal for people to tell a grand jury what they found at the storage facility. The Ex-president is being investigated for both possible violation of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice related to the documents.
The DOJ said in a filing that he used a private mail account for presidential business, including the need for a ventilator and the use of chloroquine to treat COVID.
According to the lawsuit, the National Archives learned of Navarro’s private account from the House committee investigating the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Those documents were handed over to the FBI. The source said that there was no other classified documents found during the search of the properties.
The lawyer, Alex Cannon, had become a point of contact for officials with the National Archives, who had tried for months to get Mr. Trump to return presidential records that he failed to turn over upon leaving office. The people said that Mr. Cannon was not sure if Mr. Trump was telling the truth.
Even if it decides to hear the case, the court may move more swiftly than Trump hopes. Justice Clarence Thomas gave the Justice Department an additional day to respond to Trump’s appeal.
The application was filed Tuesday to step into Trump’s dispute with the Justice Department over documents he kept at his Florida resort.
Trump had asked the justices to reverse a federal appeals court and allow a special master to review about 100 documents marked classified, a move that could have opened the door for his legal team to review the records and argue that they should be off limits to prosecutors in a criminal case.
Nobody knows if the court will take up the case because it is already being dragged deep into politics.
And Trump could simply lose – even if he persuades the justices to take the case – since to get emergency relief he must prove that he’s suffered irreparable harm in the matter, a threshold many legal experts believe is a stretch.
The House select committee probing the US Capitol insurrection requested 700 documents from the National Archives, and the court was able to decline to block the handover. The Supreme Court several times rejected challenges to the 2020 election. The New York subpoena was not immune from being used in the criminal investigation seeking the President’s tax records.
Trump has long appeared to believe that judges he appointed owe him loyalty. He nominated three of the justices to the Supreme Court.
And he has typically reacted badly to his defeats before the top bench. In December 2020 he referred to the court as being “let down” and that they had shown little courage in dismissing the challenge to the election.
Donald Trump’s case against the Watergate investigation: an application to the High Court to challenge the DOJ’s decision to return classified documents
It keeps him in the news and fuels a sense among his supporters that he is being treated unfairly. As in this case, Trump uses a political or public relations strategy for his strong legal one. And it would be no surprise to see Trump fundraising off of his emergency request.
His latest move is consistent with his tendency to use every possible avenue in the legal system to slow down a case or fog it up. Steve Vladeck speculated that the application to the court partly came across as an attempt by his team to appease a litigious client.
“This is what good lawyers who are stuck do to appease bad clients: The jurisdictional argument is narrow, technical, and non-frivolous. It’s a way of filing something in the Supreme Court without going all the way to crazytown and/or acting unethically,” Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor, wrote on Twitter.
According to the Tuesday filing, the position of Trump’s team is that it cannot be reconciled with the DOJ’s position of showing the same documents to a grand jury or witnesses during interviews.
And the application opened with a highly political argument – claiming that the “unprecedented circumstances” of the case represented an “investigation of the Forty-Fifth President of the United States by the administration of his political rival and successor” – that took large liberties with the facts of the Mar-a-Lago case.
Dean, who was in charge of the Watergate investigation that led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon, told Anderson Cooper on Tuesday that he did not see an emergency at the time.
Given their current standing in public opinion, the Supreme Court would want to take a closer look at the arguments.
The Justice officials – including Jay Bratt, a top lawyer in the Department of Justice’s national security division – have communicated to Trump’s attorneys that he has an ongoing obligation to return the documents marked as classified.
Prosecutors also told an appeals court that the judge’s order was preventing the FBI from taking investigative steps that “could lead to identification of other records still missing.”
A Trump employee has told the FBI about being directed by the former President to move boxes out of a basement storage room to his residence at Mar-a-Lago after Donald Trump’s legal team received a subpoena for any classified documents at the Florida estate, according to a source familiar with the witness’ description.
In the subpoena, the committee demanded Trump turn over any communications sent or received during from Election Day on November 3, 2020, to Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021, with more than a dozen of his close allies who have emerged as key players in the broader plan to overturn the 2020 election.
Prosecutors said in August that that some documents were likely removed from a storage room before Trump’s lawyers examined the area, while they were trying to comply with the subpoena.
The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, released a statement Friday giving former President Donald Trump more time to turn over documents it subpoenaed but offering little explanation as to why the extension was granted.
Trump’s compliance with the grand jury subpoena potentially poses a distinct legal risk amid legal wrangling over whether the former President mishandled classified documents he retained after leaving the White House. In earlier court filings, prosecutors claimed that Trump’s team had not fully complied with a subpoena served in May and “efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.”
John King of CNN said that the committee was trying to make the case that Trump is Oz. He presents himself as powerful, but is actually a little guy trying to pull a machine.
It is possible to betempt. It is possible that the full House, which has democrats, could vote to hold him in contempt of Congress, something they have done with several other uncooperative witnesses.
Prosecution. If found guilty, he could face a minimum of 30 days in jail. The House subpoena will be imposed upon Bannon later this month.
The Oversight Committee on the Trump-Trump Deposition and the First Day of a Civil Lawsuit: Why Do We Need to Disturb the White House?
“None of that is going to happen,” said George Conway, who is a lawyer and a critic of Trump. “This is about laying a marker. This is about getting a response from Trump.
Conway did point out the Supreme Court has already made clear where it stands on Trump’s status as a former president when it ignored his attempt to block the National Archives from sharing information with the committee.
The Department of Justice and Fulton County District Attorney are now able to get access to witness testimony that has been unavailable to the Committee, such as testimony from President Trump’s chief of staff MarkMeadows and others who invoked their Fifth Amendment rights.
Most recently, in 1974, Gerald Ford testified voluntarily as president before a House subcommittee about his decision to pardon former President Richard Nixon.
Despite being subpoenaed by the Chief Justice, Thomas Jefferson refused to testify at the trial of the Vice President for treason. Jefferson did ultimately provide some documents. Burr was eventually acquitted.
Back when he was president, the Supreme Court punted in 2020 when it sent a dispute over House subpoenas for Trump’s financial records back to lower courts. Justices told lower courts to consider separation of powers even in cases involving the president’s private information. The Oversight Committee reached an agreement with the president to get access to the documents.
A judge forced him to comply with subpoenas from New York Attorney General Letitia James as part of her civil inquiry into his business practices. He invoked the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination during that deposition.
On Thursday morning, New York Attorney General Letitia James asked a state court to block the Trump Organization from moving assets and continuing to perpetrate what she has alleged in a civil lawsuit is a decades-long fraud.
The 2018 January 6 Subpoena: Trump’s Legal Perils in the Light of an Almost-Three-Year White House Term
That means the January 6 committee must plan to wrap up all of its work by January 3, 2023, when the next Congress begins and the January 6 committee may be no more.
The House January 6 committee voted to subpoena him after laying bare his depraved efforts to overthrow the 2020 election and his dereliction of duty as his mob invaded the US Capitol.
Controversies that are coming to a head underscore that the nation and its political and legal systems are still far from dealing with and moving on from the shock and awe fallout of Trump’s turbulent single White House term. GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, alluded to that reality when she said on Sunday that the panel wants to avoid Trump turning his potential testimony into a “circus.”
The ex-president has not yet been charged in either probe and there is so far no indication that he will be. But the sense that Trump is approaching a moment of maximum legal peril is being driven both by signs of an increasingly aggressive investigation by special counsel Jack Smith and the realities of a calendar that offers limited time for any potential prosecutions before the 2024 campaign is in full swing. The final report from the January 6 committee, with its possible criminal referrals to the department of justice, could make Trump rethink his hopes of winning the election.
The consequences for the wider 2024 campaign could be very serious, if Trump is re-elected under an extraordinary legal cloud. Some of his potential Republican rivals, wary of trying to take him down, might hope that his legal troubles will do the job for them. It is estimated that Trump has contributed to several Republican losses in elections in recent years, as well as tarnishing his political brand, due to the perception that he is being investigated.
The court turned down his emergency request to intervene, which could have delayed the case, without explaining why. Conservative justices on the Supreme Court who had been appointed to the bench by Donald Trump did not dissent.
Investigating Trump’s Interference with the FBI and State Department of the Mar-a-Lago High-Tensor Investigation During an Impeachment
The revelation raises more questions about how open the White House and Biden’s legal team were about the government’s investigation into the president’s handling of classified documents.
The former President asked why the panel waited so long to call him. But his obstruction of the investigation and attempts to prevent former aides from testifying means he is on thin ice in criticizing its conduct. It’s not unusual for investigators to build a case before they approach the most notable target of a probe.
The two individuals, who were hired to search four of Trump’s properties last fall months after the FBI executed a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago resort over the summer, were each interviewed for about three hours in separate appearances last week. One of the sources familiar with the investigation said that they didn’t decline to answer questions, though it was not clear how much information they gave the grand jury.
Still, David Schoen, who was Trump’s defense lawyer in his second impeachment, told CNN’s “New Day” that though the details of what happened at Mar-a-Lago raised troubling questions, they did not necessarily amount to a case of obstructing justice.
But he added: “If President Trump or someone acting on behalf knew … that they didn’t have the right to have these documents in their possession, the documents belonged to the government or the American people, et cetera, and knowingly disobeyed the subpoena, knowingly hid the documents or kept the documents from being found, then that could theoretically constitute obstruction.”
It would be highly unusual for the Justice Department to observe searches that aren’t conducted by law enforcement. The department did not say anything. The former president and his counsel continue to be transparent and cooperative, according to Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Trump.
There are other probes connected to Trump. There is a new investigation happening in Georgia about attempts by the former President and his allies to overturn the election in a crucial 2020 swing state.
The Unselect Committee is a Bad Thing: What Happens When the Ex-President Comes Out Fighting on January 6
As always, Trump came out fighting on Thursday, one of those days when the seriousness of a crisis he is facing can often be gauged by the vehemence of the rhetoric he uses to respond.
First Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich was amused that the committee voted to subpoena the former President.
“Pres Trump will not be intimidate(d) by their meritless rhetoric or un-American actions. Budowich stated that the candidates for the Midterms will sweep, and that America First solutions will be restored.
Then the former President weighed in on his Truth Social network with another post that failed to answer the accusations against him, but that was clearly designed to stir a political reaction from his supporters.
I was not asked to testify months ago by the Unselect Committee. They waited until the last moment of their last meeting to answer the question. The Committee is a bad thing. Trump wrote.
This could all become academic anyway. Since a new Republican House majority would likely sweep the January 6 committee away, there is a chance that the issue could drag on for months and become irrelevant.
If Trump doesn’t testify it will take months to follow a similar path. Given the state of its January 6 probe, it was not clear whether the Justice Department would consider this a good investment. And there’s a good chance the committee will be swept into history anyway, with Republicans favored to take over the House majority following the midterm elections.
Given the slim chance of Trump complying with a congressional subpoena then, many observers will see the dramatic vote to target the ex-President as yet another theatrical flourish in a set of slickly produced hearings that often resembled a television courtroom drama.
But the committee’s Republican vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, said the investigation was no longer just about what happened on January 6, but about the future.
“With every effort to excuse or justify the conduct of the former President, we chip away at the foundation of our Republic,” said the Wyoming lawmaker, who won’t be returning to Congress after losing her primary this summer to a Trump-backed challenger.
Where is the beef in the case of a judge appointed as special master in the supreme court of Appeals for the seizure of documents from the Florida estate
The records were called extraordinarily sensitive by the Justice Department, so they asked the court to stay out of the dispute.
The DOJ is accusing Cannon of abusing her discretion and intrusion on the authority of the Executive Branch in regards to the distribution of sensitive government records.
The Justice Department requested that the judges on the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals freeze portions of the orders, which they did.
The Supreme Court was told that the Eleventh Circuit had no jurisdiction to review the stay, and that the Special Master had been given an order by the District Court.
The appeals court order that will make the senior US judge appointed as special master impaired, and that it will slow work, is said to have been made by Trump’s team.
Public confidence in the system is at risk if there is any limit on the comprehensive and transparent review of materials seized in the President’s home.
While the former President’s team initially got the special master they had pushed for, an appellate court brought an abrupt end to the role. It was decided that the DOJ would appoint a special counsel.
Where is the beef? I need some beef,” Judge Raymond Dearie, acting as the third-party reviewer of the seized documents, said during a half-hour conference call with the attorneys from both sides.
On Tuesday, Dearie pointed, for instance, to a letter that’s already in dispute as potentially private in the collection of documents taken from Trump’s Florida estate. The letter was apparently addressed to the Justice Department but the copy found in Mar-a-Lago was unsigned. The agency hadn’t been told if it had received it.
Dearie asked why the two sides can’t determine among themselves if the letter was sent, which would be a crucial fact to help the judge decide if it should be kept confidential.
When I have a month to deal with who knows how many assertions, I don’t want to be dealing with nonsense objections.
“Unless I’m wrong, and I’ve been wrong before, there’s a certain incongruity there. Perhaps the plaintiffs’ counsel will address that in a submission,” Dearie said.
The Trump World: Resolving the Records Problem after the Justice Department’s Response to the Trump-Trump-Courts Subpoena Search
A special master will need to make a call after the parties have not yet indicated how many of the seized materials are in dispute.
Attorneys for Trump offered to let federal investigators look at the Bedminster property, but they were not willing to do so. Trump lawyers didn’t make a similar offer for the other properties after the Justice Department’s response. It would be very rare for the Justice Department to observe searches that are not conducted by law enforcement.
According to people, President Donald Trump recently signaled to aides and allies that he is open to a less aggressive approach to the Justice Department, one that might resolve the records issue after weeks of court proceedings.
“The general belief in Trump World is that this is much ado about nothing and the sooner we get past it the better,” said a person close to Trump, adding that the former President has told allies he “wants to move on.”
The court proceeding that is under seal has been playing out in the background, according to people familiar with the situation. The Justice Department could ask a judge to issue an order compelling the Trump team to work with DOJ to arrange another search.
Sources close to Trump said that the former President has become more amenable to the cooperative approach being advocated by some of his more experienced lawyers, including former Florida Solicitor General Chris Kise, who joined his legal team following the FBI search in August. Kise faced challenges from some of his more aggressive advisers.
Trump has favored a more pugilistic approach, even accusing federal investigators at one point of planting evidence during their search at Mar-a-Lago – a claim he has never substantiated in court.
Trump lawyer Christina Bobb had to hire her own lawyer after she signed an attestation saying the Trump team had complied with the Justice Departments subpoena and returned all documents with classified markings. Bobb, who was Trump’s custodian of records at the time, recently told federal investigators in a voluntary interview that the attestation had been drafted by another Trump lawyer, Evan Corcoran, for her to sign. Bobb was rushed to Mar a-Lago to sign the attestation, but she first insisted that her knowledge was based on the information that had been given to her.
Trump’s 2020 campaign in the midst of legal and political instability: The case for a new collision course with the Biden administration, the courts and facts
Corcoran has insisted to colleagues that he does not believe he faces any legal risk and has not hired a lawyer, according to sources familiar with his situation.
Boris Epshteyn, a third Trump lawyer, testified before a Georgia grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Former President Donald Trump and his movement are posing new challenges to accountability, free elections and the rule of law, ushering in a fresh period of political turmoil.
Trump dropped his clearest hint yet Saturday of a new White House run at a moment when he’s on a new collision course with the Biden administration, the courts and facts.
Trump never really went away after losing reelection in 2020, but a dizzying catalog of confrontations is vaulting him back into the center of US politics. It is likely to lead to further divisions in a deeply divided nation. Next month, the upcoming congressional elections, and the early stages of the next presidential race, are likely to be affected by Trump.
Those controversies also show that given the open legal and political loops involving the ex-President, a potential 2024 presidential campaign rooted in his claims of political persecution could create even more upheaval than his four years in office.
And while fierce differences are emerging between Democrats and Republicans over policy on the economy, abortion, foreign policy and crime in the 2022 midterms – while concerns about democracy often rank lower for voters – there is every chance the coming political period revolves mostly around the ex-President’s past and future.
Trump’s men and women are also stepping up their activity. His political guru Steve Bannon, whose own grassroots movement is seeking to infiltrate school boards and local election machinery, is vowing to expose the Biden “regime” in an appeal against a prison sentence handed down last week for defying a congressional subpoena. Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is calling on the Supreme Court to block an attempt to force him to testify in an investigation in Georgia over Trump’s election stealing effort.
The Trial of the New York Organization, an Ex-President’s Favorite Candidate of Voter Fraud and the Future of Democracy
In Arizona, one of the ex-President’s favorite candidates, GOP gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake – a serial spreader of voter fraud falsehoods – is again raising doubts about the election system. Lake told AZTV7 that he was afraid that it was not going to be fair.
One of the most powerful pro-Trump Republicans, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the party’s number three leader in the House, told the New York Post last week that impeachment of Biden was “on the table.” Nancy Mace told CNN on Sunday she didn’t want impeachment proceedings to start again after Trump was impeached twice. She was against the procedure being weaponized. But when asked whether Biden had committed impeachable offenses, she said: “That is something that would have to be investigated.”
Republicans in Washington are likely to support Trump after the elections. Many Trump-endorsed candidates are running on a platform of election fraud, raising doubts over whether they will accept the results should they lose their races in less than two weeks.
On Monday, the trial of the Trump Organization will be held in New York. The trial could have an impact on his business empire because of its political nature and also cause him to make fresh allegations that he is being retaliated against for political reasons. The New York Attorney General, a Democrat, has filed a $250 million lawsuit against the Trump Organization and the three children, saying they engaged in tax and insurance fraud schemes to enrich themselves for years.
Democrats have made their own attempts to return Trump to the political spotlight. Some campaigns tried to scare suburban voters by warning of pro-Trump candidates danger to democracy, after President Joe Biden said that supporters of the alt-right were a danger to democracy.
Investigating the case of an ex-President running for the White House and the investigation of Joe Biden’s actions on January 6, 2016
Election day is just around the corner, and voters may be more concerned with inflation and gasoline prices, which could have a negative effect on the party in power in Washington.
The ex-President told supporters at a rally in Texas on Saturday regarding the possibility of a new White House bid, “I will probably have to do it again.”
“It may take multiple days, and it will be done with a level of rigor and discipline and seriousness that it deserves,” Cheney told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
This is not going to be his first debate against Joe Biden, the circus, and the food fight. This is a very serious set of issues.
In the past the committee took most depositions in closed doors and utilized testimony throughout its presentations. Most of its witnesses have shown up in person. While this has helped create a powerful narrative that has painted a picture of shocking derelictions of duty by Trump on January 6, it has also deprived viewers of seeing witnesses under cross examination. It is not easy to judge whether the committee’s case would meet the requirements of a court of law.
The prospect of video testimony over an intense period of days or hours is likely to be unappealing to the former President because it would be harder for him to dictate the terms of the exchanges and control how his testimony might be used.
The same can be said of Garland and the DOJ as a moment of truth is approaching for Trump. Any decision to charge the former president in either case is bound to trigger a furious political chain reaction. Given that the ex-president’s movement has already shown it sees violence as a legitimate tool to express a political grievance, things could get especially dangerous.
Indicting an active candidate for the White House would surely spark a political firestorm. And while no decision has been made about whether a special counsel might be needed in the future, DOJ officials have debated whether doing so could insulate the Justice Department from accusations that Joe Biden’s administration is targeting his chief political rival, people familiar with the matter tell CNN.
The need for a special counsel to oversee two federal investigations related to the former president may become necessary if Donald Trump were to run for president again, sources tell CNN.
The months leading up to the election have not alleviated the political and legal activity surrounding the investigations. The DC US Attorney’s Office–which is still shouldering the bulk of the January 6 investigations–has dealt with burnout in its ranks, as prosecutors are taking to trial or securing guilty pleas from more than 800 rioters who were on the grounds of the Capitol and still look to charge hundreds more.
A defense attorney working on January 6 related matters said that they will be able to charge anyone if they so choose, but they have no idea who will be charged.
Special Counsels and the Investigations of the 2016 U.S. Attorney General’s Office Investigating Right-Wrong Activists
Special counsels, of course, are hardly immune from political attacks. Both former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and special counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe came under withering criticism from their opponents.
Top Justice officials have looked to an old guard of former Southern District of New York prosecutors, bringing into the investigations Kansas City-based federal prosecutor and national security expert David Raskin, as well as David Rody, a prosecutor-turned-defense lawyer who previously specialized in gang and conspiracy cases and has worked extensively with government cooperators.
Rody, whose involvement has not been previously reported, left a lucrative partnership at the prestigious corporate defense firm Sidley Austin in recent weeks to become a senior counsel at DOJ in the criminal division in Washington, according to his LinkedIn profile and sources familiar with the move.
The January 6 investigations by the DC US Attorney’s Office are growing in number, even as the sedition cases against right-wing extremists go to trial.
A handful of other prosecutors have joined the January 6 investigations team, including a high-ranking fraud and public corruption prosecutor who has moved out of a supervisor position and onto the team, and a prosecutor with years of experience in criminal appellate work now involved in some of the grand jury activity.
The decision of whether to charge Trump or his associates will ultimately fall to Attorney General Merrick Garland, whom President Joe Biden picked for the job because his tenure as a judge provided some distance from partisan politics, after Senate Republicans blocked his Supreme Court nomination in 2016.
Garland was evasive when asked about the possibility of a special counsel for the Trump-related investigations, but he did say the Justice Department doesn’t shy away from controversial cases.
Garland said they should avoid any partisan elements of their decision making about cases. “That is what I want to ensure that the Department decisions are made on the merits, and not based on any kind of partisan considerations.”
Garland’s tough decisions go beyond Trump. The long-running investigation of Hunter Biden, son of the president, is nearing conclusion, people briefed on the matter say. Also waiting in the wings: a final decision on the investigation of Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, after prosecutors recommended against charges.
“They’re not going to charge before they’re ready to charge,” one former Justice Department official with some insight into the thinking around the investigations said. “But there will be added pressure to get through the review” of cases earlier than the typical five-year window DOJ has to bring charges.
She is trying to get witnesses to testify before the grand jury in the coming weeks and has observed her own version of a quiet period around the election. Sources previously told CNN indictments could come as soon as December.
South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham and a former White House chief of staff are some of the witnesses that have tried to fight off subpoenas.
How those disputes resolve in Georgia – including whether courts force testimony – could improve DOJ’s ability to gather information, just as the House Select Committee’s January 6 investigation added to DOJ’s investigative leads from inside the Trump White House.
Trump has also foiled the DOJ’s efforts to keep things quiet in the weeks leading up to the election, leading to a steady barrage of headlines related to the investigation.
The outcome of the intelligence review of the documents may affect the filing of criminal charges according to one source.
On Tuesday a federal judge ordered Trump adviser Kash Patel to testify before a grand jury investigating the handling of federal records at Mar-a-Lago, according to two people familiar with the investigation.
Judge Beryl Howell of the DC District Court granted Patel immunity from prosecution on any information he provides to the investigation— another significant step that moves the Justice Department closer to potentially charging the case.
“We have informed the former President’s counsel that he must begin producing records no later than next week and he remains under subpoena for deposition testimony starting on November 14th,” the committee said in the statement.
As the vice chairwoman of the committee, Liz Cheney said that the committee was in discussions with the lawyers of President Donald Trump about his testimony under oath. It’s not clear whether those discussions will lead to a deposition.
The broad document request even asked for all documents and communications relating or referring “in any way” to members of the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, or other extremist groups from September 1, 2020, to the present. The panel’s document request spans 19 different categories.
Sources familiar with the investigation say that two people who found classified documents for Donald Trump in a Florida storage facility testified before a federal grand jury in Washington about the former president’s dealings with national security records.
The team of two searched Trump Tower in New York, the Bedminster golf club, an office location in Florida, and the storage unit where the two documents were found and where the General Services Administration had shipped Trump’s belongings after he left the White House.
The FBI’s nearly 13-hour search of Biden’s home earlier this month was also done with the consent of the president’s attorneys, people briefed on the matter previously said. During that search, “six items consisting of documents with classification markings and surrounding materials.”
A special counsel is a lawyer appointed to lead an independent investigation and, if necessary, to prosecute anyone suspected of crimes. He or she must come from outside the government. A special counsel is typically appointed when the usual investigative bodies under the Justice Department, such as the FBI, have a conflict of interest in carrying out a probe.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to oversee the criminal investigations into the retention of national defense information at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and parts of the January 6, 2021, insurrection.
Jack Smith, the former chief prosecutor for the special court in The Hague, investigated war crimes in Kosovo.
The Effect of Trump’s Insurrection Campaign on Washington Politics: A View from Mar-a-Lago with a Circuit Court Judgement
At the America Firstgala at Mar-a-Lago on Friday night the former president called the special counsel appointment an appalling announcement and an abuse of power.
The former president on Friday indicated that he had believed federal investigations into him were slowing down or over until the announcement from Garland. He told the crowd at Mara-Lago that there would be no fair investigation and they would have to say enough is enough.
“The law is clear,” the appeals court wrote. The subject of a search warrant can block a government investigation after the warrant is executed. We cannot write a rule that lets only former presidents do it.
The 11th Circuit said that either approach would be a “radical reordering of our caselaw limiting the federal courts’ involvement in criminal investigations” and that “both would violate bedrock separation-of-powers limitations.”
Prosecutors are looking into whether there was obstruction of justice, misuse of government records, and violations of the Espionage Act.
The future threat to truth and democracy remains acute though each sign that once slow burns efforts to work through the trauma of the post election period are heating up brings a parallel warning. Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, for instance – a key force in the incoming GOP House majority that is likely to try to shut down or obstruct investigations into Trump – is embroiled in yet another controversy over the insurrection.
The Georgia Republican said that if she had her way, the mob that smashed into the Capitol would have been armed. She then rebuffed White House condemnations of her comments by insisting she was joking. This came days after the ex-president stepped up his voter fraud falsehoods by demanding the termination of the Constitution in a sign of how his potential second term might unfold if he wins the 2024 election and returns to the White House.
It is remarkable how tight a hold Trump’s unprecedented attempt to overturn a presidential election still has on Washington politics – even if many Americans are more concerned with feeding their families and paying rent amid raging inflation. And Trump’s campaign of lies is having a damaging impact. Even after Republicans won the House last month, a new CNN/SSRS poll published Monday found that only 34% of Republican-aligned adults are even somewhat confident that elections reflect the will of the people – down from 43% in October.
Smith himself sent subpoenas to election officials in seven battleground states and received a trove of material. Included in the response from Michigan’s secretary of state is an email from a county official who was reporting two voicemails they received in December 2020 from individuals seeking access to voting equipment. One call came from someone claiming to work for Trump’s post-election legal team, the clerk wrote.
700 days has passed since the Washington Post published an hour long audio of the phone call and the DOJ was not able to subpoena him. What time does it happen? Under Jack Smith.”
If Trump’s legal team believed Smith would be less influenced by the January 6 attack and that a fresh mind would lean against the indictments, they should be guilty of wishful thinking.
On Sunday, Bharara said on NBC that the appointment and assembling of high-powered team of experienced prosecutors would be bad news for Trump.
“I don’t think they would’ve left their former positions, both in government and private practice, unless there was a serious possibility that the Justice Department was on a path to charge. He said that he thinks it will happen in a month.
Of the two investigations, legal experts say the one regarding classified documents may move ahead the fastest after several failed attempts by Trump in court to delay it. A judge on Monday formally dismissed Trump’s case challenging the Mar-a-Lago evidence collection and in which she had appointed a special master. That makes the Justice Department able to get all the records that were found in Trump’s private office and beach club.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has vowed that no one is above the law and that investigations will go where the evidence leads. The legal process makes it take a lot of time to prepare and conduct trials. If there is a prosecution of a former president and current president during the White House race, it would make sense for it to happen well before the finale of the race.
“We are now coming up against a timeframe in which it is a challenge to finish either case, if it is brought, to finish it before the election,” said CNN legal analyst Jennifer Rodgers.
“So, I think they will bring a case on the documents side, if they can, as soon as they can,” Rodgers said, adding that any case on January 6 would probably take more time.
While Smith is following legal procedures, the political context makes it even more incumbent on the DOJ to demonstrate to Americans that it had no choice, for instance, to mount an unprecedented search at an ex-president’s home.
That’s yet another reason why the turn of the year and the early months of 2023 are beginning to look like a moment of reckoning for both Trump and those who are investigating him.
The referral is worthless, said Trump lawyer Tim Parlatore. The Department of Justice does not have to follow it. We have been dealing with an existing investigation for quite some time. Really what this does, If anything, it just politicizes the process.”
Parlatore was responding to the unprecedented criminal referrals that the bipartisan select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol sent to the Justice Department earlier this week. Committee members said they believed Trump was guilty of at least four federal crimes, including conspiracy and obstructing a joint session of Congress.
The January 6 committee reached those conclusions after unearthing evidence from witnesses indicating that Trump was warned that some of his post-election schemes to overturn the results were illegal – but he tried them anyway. This included Trump’s relentless pressure campaign against Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump hoped would interfere with the electoral vote count during the joint session on January 6, 2021.
“It’s political noise, but it doesn’t have any effect, as of right now, on our defense,” said Parlatore, who represents Trump in the Justice Department probes into January 6 and the potential mishandling of government documents at Mar-a-Lago.
Parlatore told CNN on Saturday that he was sure there weren’t any more records with classification markings still at Mar-a-Lago, saying, “Everything that was found has been turned over.”
The DOJ Investigation of the Mar-A-Lago Conspiracies involving Donald Trump and the Office of Special Counsel for the Public Integrity Section
The DOJ had sought to hold Trump and his office in contempt for not fully complying with a subpoena following the search of his Mar-a-Lago resort in August.
The investigative moves underscore that there is still grand jury activity underway in the Mar-a-Lago documents case, at a time when the Justice Department is considering investigations into national security records of both Vice President Mike Biden and President Joe Biden.
He is adding two associates who specialize in public corruption cases, one of which is a former chief of the DOJ’s public integrity section.
Smith brought an expansion to the office that made it able to examine broad conspiracy cases and determine the avenues of the investigation, a source said. They join a team of more than 20 prosecutors from DOJ, as well as senior advisers brought into the department in recent months, who were already investigating Trump and his allies.
Despite Attorney General Merrick Garland’s assurances that Smith’s appointment won’t slow down the dual Trump-related probes, setting his office up does take time. Smith is still working to find a permanent location for the office, but has begun changing over the email addresses of some staffers who had previously used their Justice Department accounts.
Harbach was seen by CNN getting his bearings in the federal courthouse in DC on Thursday, speaking to another special counsel prosecutor about extremist group cases and briefly sitting in on an ongoing Oath Keepers seditious conspiracy trial.
Jan. 6, 2020 Capitol Police Raids: Justice Dept. Jack Smith’s Investigation of the Associated Electors: A View from the House Select Committee
According to the Justice Department, more than 950 defendants have been arrested for their alleged participation in the January 6, 2021, riot, with more than 500 being found guilty. Four people died in the attack, including rioter Ashli Babbitt who was shot by a Capitol police officer, two members of the crowd who suffered heart attacks, and one who died of an overdose. DOJ says 140 officers were injured that day and five officers died in the months after the riot – one of strokes and four by suicide.
The DOJ prosecutors working under Smith will have certain tools to break the brick walls of the House Select committee’s investigation. They include ongoing legal proceedings about piercing the shield of confidentially that normally surrounds a president.
“POTUS expectations are to have something intimate at the ellipse, and call on everyone to march to the capitol,” rally organizer Katrina Pierson wrote in an email days before the Capitol attack.
Donald Trump Jr. told congressional investigators that his father did not use email or text messaging. As for other messaging apps, “I’m not sure he’d even know what they were,” Trump Jr. said.
As he pressed state officials to upend the election results, Trump showed his penchant for making ambiguous asks rather than direct demands. The former Senate Majority Leader from Michigan said that he remembered that he never made a specific request. “It was always just general topics.”
Trump was behind the plan to carry out the maneuver and campaign staff testified that he was aware of it.
According to the evidence collected by the committee, many of the state-based operatives and fraudulent electors themselves were largely in the dark about what the endgame of the gambit was. Several testified that they believed alternate electors were being prepared as a contingency plan if Trump were to win the court case.
The last major election challenge ended on December 11, 2020 and top Trump campaign officials distanced themselves from the effort.
Mark Meadows, Jack Smith, and the January 6 Committee on Investigating Fake Splatters of Electors: Summary of the Report by Goodman
For those who continued working on the scheme with Congress’ certification in mind, “DOJ would have a much easier case to prove,” said Ryan Goodman, a New York University School of Law professor and former Department of Defense general counsel.
If a court rules in favor of the Trump campaign, alternate electors were crucial to the plan because they would have to cast their votes in congress or a state legislature.
While the committee made the historic move of referring Trump to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution, it also named several Trump allies as potential co-conspirators in its final report. One of them was former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Meadows repeatedly comes up in the committee’s investigation, with evidence showing his involvement on some level in every gambit to overturn the election. Some of the most revelatory evidence came from Meadows himself – in the thousands of text messages he turned over to the committee before ceasing his cooperation with the investigation.
The texts show that beginning on Election Day, Meadows was connecting activists pushing conspiracy theories and strategizing with GOP lawmakers and rally organizers preparing for January 6. Two days after the election, Trump Jr. was texting Meadows with ideas for keeping his father in power that he thought were “the most sophisticated” and “sounded plausible.”
Meadows and Giuliani, Trump’s one-time attorney, were involved in early conversations about putting forward fake slates of electors, according to testimony that former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson gave to the committee.
Transcripts released by the committee also reveal that Hutchinson testified before the committee how Meadows regularly burned documents in his fireplace around a dozen times – about once or twice a week – between December 2020 and mid-January 2021.
After producing the texts to congressional investigators, it was decided that he wouldn’t testify before the House. A lawsuit he filed challenging the subpoena was unsuccessful, but the Justice Department opted not to bring criminal charges for his lack of cooperation.
Criminal prosecutors may have access to materials that lawmakers did’t have, as noted in the summary of the report by the committee.
The Dilemma against Biden: The Trump/Pence Correspondence at the Capitol, Revisited (with a commentary on CNN)
Parlatore insisted Trump and his team “were not looking to overturn the will of the people, only to ensure that the will of the people was accurately counted,” adding that Trump was “absolutely opposed” to the violence that took place at the US Capitol.
Editor’s Note: Julian Zelizer, a CNN political analyst, is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author and editor of 25 books, including the New York Times best-seller, “Myth America: Historians Take on the Biggest Lies and Legends About Our Past” (Basic Books). Follow him on Twitter @julianzelizer. The views in this commentary are of his own. You can give your opinion on CNN.
This remains the case, despite the political gift handed to Trump with the discovery of classified documents at Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, home and at a Washington office he once used that should have been handed back when he left the vice presidency. The home of the Vice President was also visited by some classified material.
The latest revelations show that this isn’t simply an inside Washington story. Nor is it one that it will go away anytime soon. While Pence’s disclosure certainly takes the heat off Biden, this scandal is bad news for Biden’s brand name.
This is clear from new polling. More than eight out of 10 Americans approve of the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the handling of classified documents found at Biden’s home and office. It appears that Americans understand the differences between Biden and Trump, according to a CNN poll. While a majority of Americans are against the way Biden has handled the situation, it is telling that only 34% of Americans believe he has broken the law. 52% of Americans think that Trump did something that was not legal.
Biden, who was one of the foils to Trump in 2020 has now lost the political high ground on this issue. The latest developments in this case could help support the argument of Trump that this should be treated as an administrative issue, rather than a criminal one.
Biden might have a stronger reputation than Clinton, which will help. He will certainly be attacked in the next two years.
We’re now seeing the first major blow to that image, with more attacks sure to come now that the Republicans who have gained control of the House are vowing to investigate everything from Hunter Biden to the president’s border policies.
The turmoil will also renew talks within the Democratic Party about whether Biden should run for reelection or who might challenge him in the primaries — two conversations that had largely abated after the party’s stunning performance in the midterms.
Biden would rather focus on the issues of slowed inflation or military support for Ukraine than on the controversies that can distract from them.
There are plenty of ways that this could happen to Biden, particularly if there’s new information about his mishandled classified documents.
But all of this is surmountable. While there are constraints on what Biden can say in the midst of an ongoing investigation, he should be as direct with the public as possible and make every effort to turn over whatever material he has. He must also be proactive in pushing forward conversations about his domestic agenda and keeping the public eye focused on the chaos and division House Republicans are sowing.
But he and his supporters shouldn’t discount the significant political impact this story can have. It gave the Trump campaign something to crow about and opened the door to questions about his prospects in a few years.
The State of the State: Stop the Weaponization of our Justice System During Trump’s First Two-State Campaign Swing and Take the Heat
The two individuals who were hired to search four of Trump’s properties last fall were each interviewed for about three hours in separate appearances last week.
They were hired to search Trump’s Bedminster golf club, Trump Tower in New York, an office location in Florida and a storage unit in Florida last October, months after the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. They did not decline toanswer any questions but the amount of information they gave the grand jury is unclear.
The investigators are trying to determine if there is an electronic paper trail regarding the classified documents because they want to push for access to computers.
Special counsel Jack Smith and prosecutors who are now working for him have been using a federal grand jury to question witnesses weekly in the Mar-a-Lago investigation.
The twice-impeached former president, who tried to steal an election and is accused of fomenting an insurrection, launched his first two-state campaign swing on Saturday as he seeks a stunning political comeback.
We are going to stop the weaponization of our justice system. There has never been a justice system like this before. It’s all investigation, investigation,” the ex-president said on the trail over the weekend.
This is a message that may be attractive to some of Trump’s base voters who themselves feel alienated from the federal government and previously bought into his claims about a “deep state” conspiracy against him. It’s also a technique, in which a strongman leader argues that he is taking the heat so his followers don’t have to, that is a familiar page in the authority playbooks of demagogues throughout history.
The grand jury report on Donald Trump’s stash of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago is not the same for a double standard: When the DOJ is more concerned about his prosecution, the public will know
Ryan Goodman, a former special counsel at the Department of Defense, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Monday that the latest development was a sign of an advanced special counsel investigation and could indicate that Smith was leaning toward indictments.
The way they testify at a trial may be influenced by evidence against Trump or exonerating evidence, so he is trying to make them aware of how the prosecution will try to use it.
On a more granular level, the report about the grand jury underscores that for all the political noise, the investigation into Trump’s haul of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago is taking place inside its own legal bubble.
The Kentucky Republican said that they would expand their investigation if someone showed them evidence of influence peddling with the classified documents. He went on to accuse Biden and his family of being “very cozy” with people from the Chinese Communist party but offered no evidence of such links or that they had anything to do with classified documents. His remarks left the impression that his committee is seeking to find evidence to condemn Biden but is treating Trump differently – exactly the kind of double standard the GOP has claimed the DOJ is employing toward Trump.
House Oversight Chairman James Comer was, for example, asked by CNN’s Pamela Brown this weekend why he had no interest in the more than 325 documents found at Trump’s home but was fixated upon the approximately 20 classified documents uncovered in Biden’s premises by lawyers and an unknown number also found during an FBI search of the president’s home this month.
The two special counsel investigations probing Trump and Biden’s retention of secret documents are unfolding independently. In a legal sense, there is no overlap between them. But they will both be subject to the same political inferno if findings are made public.
The Penn Biden Center: An Investigation of a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, Joseph Biden, during the February 2 election campaign
The country got a reminder of the treatment that can happen when secret material is brought home when the political controversy deepened on Monday.
CNN’s Holmes Lybrand reported that court documents show that a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, who stored files with classified information at his Florida home, will plead guilty in February to one count of unlawful retention of national defense information.
There haven’t been any known subpoenas or search warrants in the Biden inquiry, though the FBI has conducted voluntary interviews with some of the people on Biden’s team who handled documents.
The FBI first examined the classified documents, and the other materials from the Penn Biden Center, at the National Archives during the week of November 21, one of the sources told CNN. That was the only time the FBI examined the documents, according to the source.
The purpose of the visit was likely to be to make sure that nothing was left in the office and to make sure the papers were not messed with.
The Archives then informed the FBI on November 4 about the discovery of classified materials after examining the four boxes of documents, according to the source familiar with the matter.
The FBI also examined binders that were held at the president’s campaign attorney’s office in Boston that were also handed over to the Archives. Those binders contained no classified materials, the source said.
Biden’s papers were marked as “top secret”, the highest level of classification. Some of the documents had the designation of aSCI, which stands for sensitive compartmented information, and refers to extremely sensitive material obtained from US intelligence sources.
Short said that he would give the FBI access to look at all of his home, as President Joe Biden did last week during a search of his home.
Short said he did not think he heard concern about the documents when he traveled across the country. “I think he hears encouragement from people as he travels.”
“I think the trajectory of most candidates who get in early to Republican primaries doesn’t really fare too well, so I think there is a benefit to him waiting until the end of this process,” he said.
Timothy Parlatore, The Former President’s Manilla Folder, and a Classification “Summary”
A lawyer for Donald Trump said Sunday that they had finished their searches for classified material at the former leader’s properties and handed it over to the Justice Department.
Parlatore told CNN in an exclusive interview that whenever they found a clue in the criminal probe, they immediately turned it over.
He was able to confirm that a folder marked “Classified Evening Summary” was located in the former president’s bedroom after he received a subpoena.
According to Parlatore, Trump had been using an empty folder as a lamp shade to block the light on his phone that was keeping him up at night.
One of the things he has next to his bed is a blue light that keeps him up at night. Parlatore said that he put the manilla folder over so the light wouldn’t go off at night. “It’s just this folder. It has a summary on it. it isn’t a classification marking It’s not anything that is controlled in any way. There is nothing illegal about it.”
DOJ, DOJ and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence: What should DOJ do when DOJ goes into all these things?
“When you have DOJ go into these things, they are automatically going in with all the criminal processes and trying to threaten people to go to jail over something that is a procedural failure and an institutional procedural failure that has nothing to do with Mike Pence, Donald Trump or, quite frankly, Joe Biden,” he said.
The DOJ should be benched and the White House’s procedures for handling classified information should be left to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.