Former President Donald Trump.
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Trump’s lawyers are worried the DOJ’s Capitol riot probe is closing in on his inner circle, CNN reported.
They’re reportedly in talks with the DOJ about whether Trump can invoke executive privilege over some conversations.
They’ve also advised Trump not to communicate with former aides, but he’s ignored their warnings and concerns.
Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers are worried that the Justice Department’s sprawling investigation into the deadly Capitol siege is closing in on his inner circle and that indictments may be on the horizon. But Trump has dismissed their concerns so far.
That’s according to CNN, which also reported that Trump’s defense lawyers are in talks with the department about whether Trump could assert executive privilege with respect to conversations he had with aides and advisors when he was president.
The DOJ is girding for a court battle with Trump over the issue of executive privilege, the report said, particularly since several former high-ranking White House officials — former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Cipollone’s deputy Pat Philbin, former Vice President Mike Pence’s ex-chief of staff Marc Short, and ex-chief counsel Greg Jacobs — were subpoenaed by grand juries investigating events related to the Capitol siege.
Cipollone previously invoked executive privilege when testifying before the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack. But as Insider’s C. Ryan Barber reported, Cipollone and other White House officials could have a tougher time shielding information from the feds, given that the Justice Department falls within the executive branch.
The former president has been asking his lawyers if they think he will be criminally charged in connection to the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack, CNN said, but he’s also been skeptical that he’ll be indicted. Instead, the report said, he’s been more preoccupied with the upcoming 2022 midterm elections and a possible 2024 presidential run.
According to CNN, Trump’s lawyers have also cautioned him against communicating with former aides and advisors ensnared in Congress’ Capitol riot investigation and could become involved in the Justice Department’s criminal probe. They’ve expressed particular concern about former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who they believe could be a crucial fact witness in the department’s investigation, CNN said.
Meadows’ lawyer, George Terwilliger, dismissed that notion, calling it “idle and uninformed speculation.” A spokesperson for Trump also leveled accusations of “partisan, political persecution,” adding in a statement to CNN, “How can any future President ever have private conversations with his attorneys, counselors, and other senior advisors if any such advisor is forced, either during or after the Presidency, in front of an Unselect Committee or other entity, and be forced to reveal those privileged, confidential discussions?”
This story is developing. Check back for updates.