Jan. 6 Grand Jury Witnesses Are Being Asked What ‘National Security Levers’ Trump Was Trying to Pull
CBS News revealed a smidgen of news nested in a shocking episode of “Face the Nation,” in which Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) blamed Democrats for Donald Trump celebrating Jan. 6 attackers at his Waco, Texas rally over the weekend.
After, however, reporter Robert Costa noted that special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Donald Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attacks had taken a turn.
“Based on our reporting, the special counsel is tightening his investigation around former President Trump when it comes to January 6, now compelling some of his top aides and allies to testify under oath about their private conversations with Trump,” he explained. “That means there’s no privilege, no executive privilege they can cite to try to block any kind of testimony on those issues.”
This has been a losing battle for a number of officials that attempted to assert executive privilege during the House Select Committee’s investigation into the insurrection and the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election. Ultimately, Congress voted to hold a few of those subpoenaed in contempt of Congress and those proceedings are moving forward despite the House changing hands to the GOP.
“We know the special counsel is looking into a possible conspiracy case against Trump and people around him about trying to block the congressional proceedings on January 6,” Costa continued. “We’re going to potentially hear now from Mark Meadows. Robert O’Brien, the former national security adviser, John Ratcliffe, the former director of national intelligence.”
Costa went on to say that witnesses brought to the grand jury are being asked about the kind of “national security levers Trump was asking about in those final days.”
Some of the militia members had said over chats that it was important that they riot so that it would give Trump what he needed to declare the Insurrection Act of 1807 or declare martial law. That would then allow him to deploy the military, seize voting machines, and ultimately allow him to stay in office. Trump had toyed with the idea during the summer of 2020 during the protests of the slaying of George Floyd.
Costa also brought up the document theft case, which is also being investigated by the special counsel. He noted that it’s extremely rarefor a judge to call in a defendant’s lawyer to testify. As legal analysts explained this week, it only happens if there is enough evidence that a crime was committed. It means that a judge believes that’s exactly what happened.
“Evan Corcoran, Trump’s lawyer in this case, [is] now being told to come in, and he did come in for hours on Friday,” Costa said. “And he didn’t just talk about his broad view. He had to share audio files, notes, details about all of his conversations with Trump about how Trump handled those federal requests about classified documents. Think back to the Mar-a-Lago FBI search last summer. Corcoran was pressed about what was Trump doing at that intense time. And that really gives the prosecutors a prism into what really happened.”
Costa later added more details on Twitter about the information he’s gathered.
“Sources directly familiar with witnesses and questions tell me it’s clear Special Counsel is now ‘tightening’ the Jan. 6 probe around Trump and his inner circle, with focus on infamous 12/18/20 Oval [Office meeting], and efforts to push national security, DOJ official,” he tweeted. “Witnesses have been pressed in recent weeks about [Rudy] Giuliani, [Sidney] Powell and others who sought to use levers of government to stop the certification of the election… and sources directly involved believe a case on conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding could be in the works.”
See the segment in the video below or at the link here.
CBS News’ @CostaReports has the latest on a “highly significant” development in the federal investigation of fmr. President Trump and Jan. 6, as Special Counsel Jack Smith begins “tightening his investigation” around Trump and building a “possible conspiracy case.” pic.twitter.com/EJoDhFisdt
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) March 26, 2023
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
‘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.
READ MORE: DeSantis Slammed by Former High-Level FBI Official After Declaring How He Would Treat Bureau’s Independence
“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))
READ MORE: Republican Complaining It’s ‘Almost Impossible’ for Straight ‘White Guys’ to Get Appointed by Biden Has History of Bigotry
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.
READ MORE: Special Counsel Subpoena Orders Trump Organization to Hand Over Records From Seven Different Foreign Countries
“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.”
While Employed and Running for Congress George Santos Allegedly Received Thousands in Unemployment Benefits: Nassau D.A.
Republican Congressman George Santos, now in federal custody and facing 13 charges including money laundering, wire fraud, and lying to the U.S. House of Representatives, allegedly applied for and received tens of thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits. Allegedly, one year later, in a recorded video (below), he denounced “the goddamn unemployment benefits,” claiming they prevented businesses from finding workers, and called for a system to root out those who wrongly use them.
“At the height of the pandemic in 2020, George Santos allegedly applied for and received unemployment benefits while he was employed and running for Congress,” Nassau County, New York District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly said in a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “As charged in the indictment, the defendant’s alleged behavior continued during his second run for Congress when he pocketed campaign contributions and used that money to pay down personal debts and buy designer clothing.”
According to that statement, starting around February 2020, “Santos was employed as a Regional Director of a Florida-based investment firm (Investment Firm #1), where he earned an annual salary of approximately $120,000. By late-March 2020, in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, new legislation was signed into law that provided additional federal funding to assist out-of-work Americans during the pandemic.”
READ MORE: Clarence Thomas’ Billionaire Benefactor to Democratic Senators Asking for Receipts: No
“In mid-June 2020, although he was employed and was not eligible for unemployment benefits, Santos applied for government assistance through the New York State Department of Labor, allegedly claiming falsely to have been unemployed since March 2020. From that point until April 2021—when Santos was working and receiving a salary on a near-continuous basis and during his unsuccessful run for Congress—he falsely affirmed each week that he was eligible for unemployment benefits when he was not. As a result, Santos allegedly fraudulently received more than $24,000 in unemployment insurance benefits.”
Just last month Santos filed an amendment to House Republican legislation that would require certain recipients of Medicaid to have to work 20 hours a week to continue to receive those benefits. As Insider reported, Santos’ amendment increases that requirement from 20 hours to 30 hours.
In a 2021 video (NCRM has not validated the video or its date), a man who appears to be Santos angrily criticizes President Joe Biden, and denounces unemployment and pandemic-related benefits.
READ MORE: Watch: Kevin McCarthy Refuses to Say if He’ll Force George Santos Out After Prosecutors File Charges
“We need you to be the President, Joe,” Santos disrespectdfiully declares. “You wanted the gig. You wanted it so bad. You got it. Now do the job. Honor us, be the president. Protect us. This is a bunch of garbage. For an entire hour you were asked great questions. You all but mocked the restaurant owner who can’t get people to work for him. Obviously because you keep extending the goddamn unemployment benefits. Yes, there are people who need it. Create a system where they can be verified so they can keep it. Don’t do this nonsense no more of blanket giveaways.”
Watch below or at this link.
In 2021, George Santos blamed unemployment benefits for a business owner having difficulty finding employees. pic.twitter.com/7nBaadt0Mi
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) January 31, 2023
Image: Lev Radin/Shutterstock
- News2 days ago
‘Start the Kevin McCarthy Death-Clock’ After Biden Wins Debt Ceiling Battle: Rick Wilson
- News3 days ago
Debt Ceiling: McCarthy Faces ‘Lingering Anger’ and a Possible Revolt as Far-Right House Members Start Issuing Threats
- News21 hours ago
Reporters Reveal Some Republicans Don’t Understand What a Default Means – and Don’t Believe the Debt Ceiling Is Real