Analysis: DOJ talks with Trump lawyers mark a grave moment for the ex-President

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The Wyoming representative, who serves as the deputy chairman of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021, effectively issued a challenge to the Justice Department, as CNN exclusively reported Thursday, Lawyers are in talks with their prosecutors – in the most concrete step yet towards the former commander-in-chief.

The news was the latest sign that the department, criticized for months for moving too slowly to investigate Trump’s election plagiarism and inciting mobs that invaded the US Capitol, is moving fast and its is broadening the scope – although there is no indication whether the former president will be implicated in the Justice Department’s investigation.

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Cheney, one of two Republicans on the panel, said, “Understanding what it means if there are facts and evidence, and they decide not to prosecute — then how do we call ourselves a land of laws?”.

CNN senior legal analyst Preet Bharara said the fact that Trump’s lawyers are already in contact with the investigation suggests he may be at some significant risk down the line.

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Bharara, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “Being actively engaged tells me that lawyers think there’s some danger here and they should engage as soon as possible.” Bharara cautioned that the investigation could go on for a long time and a decision “about whether or not to accuse Donald Trump” could be several months from now.

Knowing what Trump was saying and thinking as his crowd broke their way into the US Capitol and during his earlier plans designed to reverse his election defeat may help establish that Whether the former president acted with corrupt intentions and could be at risk of criminal charges.

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More immediately, dialogue with Trump’s attorneys may also reveal the extent to which Trump – as a former president in what could be a significant legal battle – can claim executive privilege over negotiations and advice, while he Received. The Office. Such a case can go up to the Supreme Court and in itself break new legal ground as there is very little litigation on the issue involving out-of-office presidents. Executive privilege is the practice whereby private conversations and advice given to the President may remain private, especially from Congress, under the principle of separation of powers.

a long legal duel

The potential legal battle that could spark Trump’s often risky privilege claims could push the Justice Department’s investigation into the middle of the former president’s potential 2024 campaign. It would risk another national political conflict on top of many ignited by the 45th president.

But more broadly, the latest news about the Justice Department investigation reveals an aggressive criminal investigation that is narrowing down a former president of the United States — a historic watershed — following an administration that still The democratic system is tearing down the railing even outside the power.

That doesn’t mean Trump will be charged. A criminal investigation requires a far higher level of evidence than a House select committee, which painted a damning picture of Trump’s actions prior to the Capitol uprising. And Trump has done the work of a lifetime in his efforts to avoid legal scraps and enforce accountability. While in his presidency alone, he was freed from the scrutiny of Russia. He was the first president to be impeached twice by the House, although he was not convicted in Senate trials or barred from future federal office.

Still, according to a new report from CNN, Trump’s team has warned him that a grand jury investigation could result in indictments. And sources say the former president has asked his advisers if he is in personal legal danger.

New visibility into aggressive DOJ investigation

University of Baltimore School of Law professor Kimberly Wehle told CNN’s Erin Burnett that liaison between Trump’s lawyers and prosecutors pointed to legal removal within the realm of executive privilege.

“I think Donald Trump is going to lose that fight, but the fact that his lawyers are involved and telling him he better be careful, there could be prosecutions, I think a lot for the former president. There is serious news but very good news is democracy, rule of law and constitution,” Wehle said.

The latest revelations about the grand jury investigation indicate that the Justice Department is working swiftly and with a wide scope to investigate the rebellion – even from members of the House Select Committee – that it is actively pursuing. Doesn’t seem to.

This in turn raises the possibility that another significant period of national trauma could be ahead because of Trump. The former president has already claimed that the Biden administration is weaponizing the Justice Department to pursue its political enemies – a charge many critics leveled against him while he was still president. Trump will be sure to respond to any indication that he is the target of investigations or potential indictments of those around him by claiming that he is being victimized by political scrutiny. Given his grip on his supporters and his record of inciting violence, political tensions could intensify.

All of this will intensify the dilemma that Attorney General Merrick Garland will face if evidence from the criminal investigation shows that the prosecution is worthy. A former president—especially one running for the White House again—would stir up a political storm. This should raise the question of whether targeting Trump out of a criminal context would be in the broader national interest. At the same time, failing to chase down a former president accused of helping fuel a coup attempt could set an equally dangerous precedent and send signals to future distracted presidents.

Trump team discusses possible defense strategies

The most important news yet about the Justice Department’s criminal investigation follows unmistakable signs of a comprehensive and speedy investigation. For example, the department has summoned former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and former deputy attorney Patrick Philbin.

Last week, it emerged that two of former Vice President Mike Pence’s most senior aides, former Chief of Staff Mark Short and former lawyer Greg Jacobs, have already spoken to the grand jury. Investigators recently obtained a second warrant to search the cellphone of conservative lawyer John Eastman, one of the key figures in pushing Pence to reverse the 2020 election by dismissing voters from crucial swing states. Federal investigators conducted a pre-dawn search in June of the home of former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, who invoked his Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination more than 100 times in a House Select Committee statement.

In the latest reporting from CNN’s Caitlin Polantz, Kara Scannell, Gabby Orr and Kristen Holmes, sources revealed that some members of Trump’s legal team discussed possible defense strategies on at least two occasions in recent months. It comes as they await developments not only in the Justice Department’s investigation, but in a separate investigation by officials in Georgia into Trump’s efforts to reverse Biden’s election victory in the crucial state in 2020.

Trump has questioned his lawyers about whether he really believes he will face formal charges, but has expressed doubts that he will be charged, one of the sources familiar with the matter said.

The CNN team also revealed that Trump has ignored advisers’ advice to avoid talking to former and current aides who have become embroiled in a House Select Committee investigation and may be involved in a criminal investigation.

When it comes to the issue of executive privilege, historical precedent may work against the former president. During the Watergate scandal, then-President Richard Nixon claimed executive privilege to try to stop the transfer of offensive audio tapes. But in a ruling that could be significant in Trump’s case, the Supreme Court held that executive privilege cannot be used to thwart the administration of criminal justice.

The House Jan. 6 committee did not prosecute the question of Cipollone’s reluctance to talk about certain talks with Trump on grounds of executive privilege. It is running against a ticking clock as it is likely to be dissolved by pro-Trump Republicans in the House if control of the chamber changes after the midterm election in November. But the Justice Department has more time to do the legal battle.

And the prospect of a lengthy investigation is one reason why many observers believe Trump is leaning toward an early 2024 presidential campaign announcement, which would enable him to incriminate his supporters by arguing that the investigation should be sustained. There is a political effort by the Biden administration to keep. him from reclaiming the White House.


Credit : www.cnn.com

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