Unique: Trump attorneys negotiate with Justice Division on Jan. 6



CNN

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team is in direct contact with Justice Department officials, the first sign of negotiations between the two sides. in 2021 January 6 is accelerating, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

The debate revolves around whether Trump will be able to shield from federal investigators the conversations he had while president.

In recent weeks, investigators have moved aggressively into Trump’s orbit, subpoenaing top former White House officials, with a focus on efforts to rule out the 2020 nomination. elections and raiding lawyers who sought to aid the effort.

Trump’s team is in discussions with the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, which is in charge of the investigation, and its chief prosecutor, Thomas Windom, the sources said. The talks have not been previously reported.

This phase focuses on conversations about whether Trump’s West Wing communications with the former president could be shielded from a federal criminal grand jury based on Trump’s claims of executive privilege, the people said.

The Justice Department has predicted a court battle with Trump over executive privilege. The issue came to light as grand jury subpoenas were issued against two former White House officials officers of the attorney’s office and former Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff to Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump’s legal defense team has warned him that charges are possible, sources tell CNN.

Some members of Trump’s legal team have discussed his potential defense strategies at least twice in recent months, according to two sources familiar with the matter, as they prepare for new developments in the Justice Department investigation and a separate investigation into Georgia officials. potentially criminal interference with the state’s 2020 election results. The rolling stone previously reported that Trump had been briefed.

Trump has worried his lawyers about whether they really believe he will be formally charged, the sources said. But the former president has expressed a strong dose of skepticism that he will face charges, one of the sources familiar with the matter said.

Another source close to the former president told CNN that Trump has also raised questions about a possible indictment to members of his inner circle, some of whom believe the president is concerned about the possibility of federal charges.

But one person close to Trump said he is much more engaged when he talks to friends and advisers about 2022. midterms and a potential presidential campaign in 2024 than during briefings on legal strategy.

This person described the former president as dismissive of conversations about his legal troubles, often repeating his “witch hunt” mantra as he claims the various investigations he faces are clearly fueled by political opponents.

A Trump spokesman told CNN in a statement, “It is clear that there is a concerted effort to undermine vital, constitutional executive and attorney-client privileges through partisan, political harassment.”

“Just as any incoming president can have private conversations with his lawyers, advisers and other senior advisers, if any such adviser is forced before a Select Committee or other entity during or after the presidency and is forced to disclose those matters.” privileged, confidential discussions? said the spokesperson. “President Trump will not be deterred by witch hunts or kangaroo courts from continuing to defend and fight for America, our Constitution and the Truth.”

The Justice Department declined to comment.

In recent months, the former president has ignored advice from some of his advisers to avoid speaking with former and current aides embroiled in the Select Committee’s Jan. 6 hearing. investigation and may become part of a criminal investigation. said CNN.

Trump was specifically advised to sever ties with his former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, whose actions before and on the day of the U.S. Capitol uprising were under close scrutiny by a House panel, the people said.

Two former Meadows aides, Cassidy Hutchinson and Alyssa Farah Griffin, has also been highly critical of Trump, and Hutchinson testified about damaging information about Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 when she gave public testimony to a House panel in June. Hutchinson is also cooperating with the DOJ probe.

Some of Trump’s lawyers believe Meadows may also be in the crosshairs of investigators and worry he could become a fact witness if forced to cooperate with a Justice Department probe, according to two people familiar with the matter.

In response, Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger, told CNN on Thursday, “This is all empty and uninformed speculation by people who apparently know little but talk a lot.”

Former White House counsel Ty Cobb said Meadows is “perfectly poised to be the John Dean of this mess,” referring to the former aide to Richard Nixon who gave key public testimony during the Watergate hearings.

“The reason [Meadows] is valuable and the reason he’s at risk: He’s basically been at Trump’s right hand throughout this exercise and in key meetings and phone calls,” Cobb said.

But Trump and Meadows have spoken on more than one occasion, according to a source familiar with the relationship. Another source close to Trump described their relationship as “not what it used to be” while they were in the White House, but insisted they were still in a relationship, even as Trump complained about Meadows in recent conversations with other allies.

Meadows is known to have attended fundraisers and events at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where he also helped organize a donor retreat last April for the Conservative Partnership Institute, a group he co-chairs with the former Republican senator. Jim DeMint.

Trump’s endorsement of a candidate for the US Senate Ted Budd “Meadows was really regular last time. Since then, he has never participated in a political operation or [Trump’s] thought process,” said a second person close to Trump.

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