August 17, 2022

CLOSING IN: DOJ criminal investigation has Trump lawyers scrambling to prep defense

CLOSING IN: DOJ criminal investigation has Trump lawyers scrambling to prep defense

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The legal walls are closing in on Trump, and his attorneys know it. Trump’s lawyers are anxious over the Justice Department’s expanded criminal investigation into the former president’s and his allies’ attempts to overturn the 2020 election results.

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People familiar with the matter — and written communications reviewed by Rolling Stone — back up the claim that Trump’s legal team has begun strategizing possible defenses and that the ex-President was briefed at least twice over the summer.

According to a source:

“Members of the Trump legal team are quietly preparing, in the event charges are brought. It would be career malpractice not to. Do the [former] president’s attorneys believe everything Cassidy said? No. … Do they think the Department of Justice would be wise to charge him? No. but we’ve gotten to a point where if you don’t think criminal charges are at least somewhat likely, you are not serving the [former] president’s best interests.”

Anything and everything is on the defense table — from shifting blame to Trump’s advisers to claiming First Amendment and executive privilege protections.

The scheme to get then-Vice President Mike Pence to violate his oath of office and illegally overturn or delay the electoral count vote is front and center of the investigation.

The fake elector scheme has also been front and center during the televised Select Committee hearings, highlighting the Trump pressure campaign on election officials in battleground states and the Vice President.

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Testimony from those in Trump’s inner circle, as well as those on the receiving end of the disgraced ex-President’s desperate attempts, tightened the accountability noose around those involved in the attempted coup.

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Former Trump White House lawyer Ty Cobb told Rolling Stone:

“I do think criminal prosecutions are possible. Whether they are advisable is a more difficult consideration for the country. Possible for Trump and [Mark] Meadows certainly. And for others, including lawyers, who engaged fraudulently in formal proceedings or investigations.”

The blowback isn’t lost on Trump. Forever seeking ratings, the twice impeached narcissist has encouraged his supporters to protest in cities in which he feels he’s being prosecuted, boasting that “it would make the crowd size at [Jan. 6] look small by comparison.”

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Trump’s legal team has acknowledged that if the DOJ does formally bring criminal charges, “You’d need to have a real heavyweight at the top [of the legal team] for something like that.”

The wagons are circling, and Trump, his allies, and attorneys know that he has little to no defense against testimony and evidence of his role in inciting an insurrection and attempted coup.

His lawyers can prepare all they want, but it won’t change the facts – or evidence.

Original reporting by By Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley at Rolling Stone.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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