Prosecutors in Trump Criminal Investigation Have Instructed at Least One Witness to Prepare to Testify: Report
Prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office have instructed at least one witness to prepare to testify before a grand jury. The Manhattan DA recently empaneled a special grand jury that is slated to serve six months, hear evidence, and determine if Donald Trump, the Trump Organization, or any Trump Organization employees, including family members, should be charged with crimes.
Calling it “a signal that the lengthy investigation is moving into an advanced stage,” CNN reports the “development suggests that the Manhattan district attorney’s office is poised to transition from collecting evidence to presenting what is likely a complex case to a grand jury, one that could result in the jury considering criminal charges.”
Vance’s investigation began in 2018, so his office has had the better part of three years to compile evidence, especially amid a very active (now former) president who reportedly is facing at least 14 civil and criminal cases, according to Just Security.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
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Feds Have Trump on Tape Admitting He Kept Classified Pentagon Document of Possible Iran Attack: Report
Federal prosecutors have an audio recording of Donald Trump admitting in 2021 that he had kept a classified Pentagon document about a possible attack against Iran.
CNN, which published the exclusive report, notes the recording undercuts Trump’s “argument that he declassified everything.”
“The recording indicates Trump understood he retained classified material after leaving the White House, according to multiple sources familiar with the investigation. On the recording, Trump’s comments suggest he would like to share the information but he’s aware of limitations on his ability post-presidency to declassify records, two of the sources said,” CNN adds.
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“Prosecutors have asked witnesses about the recording and the document before a federal grand jury,” CNN also reports. “The episode has generated enough interest for investigators to have questioned Gen. Mark Milley, one of the highest-ranking Trump-era national security officials, about the incident.”
The recording was apparently made in July of 2021 at a Trump golf course. People without security clearances were part of the meeting during which it was discussed.
The damning revelation gives credence to political analysts who pointed to Trump’s recent remarks at the highly-controversial CNN town hall, when he was asked if he had shown classified documents to anyone.
“Not really,” Trump said. “I would have the right to,” he claimed, falsely.
“By the way, they were declassified after,” he also claimed, falsely.
Watch CNN’s report below or at this link.
Tapper: Sources saying federal prosecutors obtained an audio recording of a summer 2021 meeting where the former president acknowledges he held on to a classified Pentagon document about a potential attack against Iran… pic.twitter.com/pF4u88f2mW
— Acyn (@Acyn) May 31, 2023
‘Likely to Be Indicted Soon’: Trump Might Face Seven Different Felonies, Government Watchdog Says
It’s no secret the U.S. Dept. of Justice is investigating Donald Trump for his role in attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and for his likely unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return hundreds of documents with classified and top secret markings.
Earlier this week Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal reported, “Special counsel Jack Smith has all but finished obtaining testimony and other evidence in his criminal investigation into whether former President Donald Trump mishandled classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort.”
And while it’s unknown if or when Trump will be indicted, a government watchdog says the ex-president who is once again staging a White House run is “likely to be indicted soon.” The organization is offering details on what it claims could be seven felony charges he might face.
“The next criminal charges former President Donald Trump may face could well come from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump’s possession of nearly 300 classified documents — including some marked as top secret — at his Mar-a-Lago residence and business in the year and a half after he left office,” Betsy Schick and Debra Perlin of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) state in a lengthy report published Friday.
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“While Fani Willis’ Fulton County, Georgia investigation into election interference continues, as does a federal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and Alvin Bragg has already indicted Trump in New York for his role in false statements connected to hush money payments to Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) during the 2016 presidential campaign, an indictment by Smith in the Mar-a-Lago investigation would yield the first federal charges against the former president,” CREW notes.
“Trump may face charges ranging from obstruction of justice and criminal contempt to conversion of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material.”
Here is a list of “possible crimes” Trump might be charged with, according to CREW:
Obstruction of justice (18 U.S.C. § 1519)
Criminal contempt (18 U.S.C. § 402)
False statements to federal authorities (18 U.S.C. § 1001)
Conversion of government property (18 U.S.C. § 641)
Unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material (18 U.S.C. § 1924)
Removing and concealing government records (18 U.S.C. § 2071)
Gathering national defense information (18 U.S.C. § 793(e))
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CREW also offers that Trump’s attorneys may try to argue several different defenses, including:
No “knowing” removal
Deference to the intelligence community
Challenging the constitutionality of the Special Counsel regulations
Additionally, several reports this week also appear to suggest an indictment might be coming, and soon.
Citing a Washington Post report published Thursday, several top legal experts are predicting DOJ will charge Donald Trump, and those charges will include obstruction and violations of the Espionage Act.
Earlier this week NYU School of Law professor of law Ryan Goodman said Dept. of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith had struck “gold” after obtaining the contemporaneous notes of a Trump attorney who counseled the ex-president on his possibly unlawful handling of classified documents.
‘Obstruction & Espionage Act’: Top Legal Expert Says Trump Attorney’s Notes Show ‘Evidence of Willfulness’
Dept. of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith has struck “gold” after obtaining the contemporaneous notes of a Trump attorney who counseled the ex-president on his possibly unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return hundreds of classified documents from the White House, says a top legal expert and former Special Counsel.
“Special Counsel Smith strikes gold,” tweeted NYU School of Law professor of law Ryan Goodman, the founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security, an NYU website on U.S. national security law and policy.
Goodman pointed to a CNN article titled, “Trump’s attorney took notes that say the former president wanted to fight subpoena for classified docs.”
“Donald Trump asked whether he could push back against Justice Department efforts last year to recover any classified documents still in his possession during conversations with his lawyer over compliance with a federal subpoena, according to multiple sources familiar with notes taken by his lawyer and turned over to investigators,” CNN reported.
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“Special counsel Jack Smith has obtained dozens of pages of notes that Trump’s attorney Evan Corcoran took last spring, memorializing conversations with his client after the former president received the subpoena last May and before a key meeting with the Justice Department a few weeks later when Trump’s legal team said they had turned over all classified records they could find, the sources told CNN.”
Goodman highlights aspects of the reporting. He writes: “Trump’s team ‘surprised about the level of detail,'” and “Obtains ‘dozens of pages of notes’ of Trump attorney ‘memorializing conversations with his client.'”
“My take,” he summarizes, “Contains evidence of obstruction & Espionage Act.”
Goodman continues, citing CNN, and says, “the notes show over the course of conversations with Trump, ‘the attorney explained that the subpoena meant Trump would need to return all records.'”
“As [former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade] explained with The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell’s “scoop, that is evidence of willfulness,” Goodman says.
He then points to this sentence from CNN: “Trump, when informed by his lawyer about the subpoena and how he should respond, asked if there was any way to fight it.”
Goodman says that “is evidence of Espionage Act ‘willful retention,’ 18 USC 793(e), and Obstruction, 18 USC 1519.”
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