Trump asked his lawyer if he could fight the DOJ subpoena for classified documents. That’s not proof he obstructed justice, but it could lend itself to a wider investigation, experts say.
Donald Trump asked his attorney if he could press for the DOJ’s subpoena for classified documents.
Sources told CNN that Trump was only seeking legal advice when he raised the issue.
Legal experts told Insider the statements could be troublesome if followed through.
Donald Trump asked his lawyer if there were any ways to push back against the Justice Department after he asked him to turn over classified documents through a subpoena, according to notes ‘too detailed ” of his lawyer relayed to CNN by several sources.
Trump’s attorney, Evan Corcoran, took the notes before the former president’s attorneys told the DOJ they had returned what they believed to be all documents in Trump’s possession, CNN reported.
Sources who spoke to CNN said Trump was only seeking legal advice when he inquired about the pushback. Legal experts who spoke to Insider said Trump’s lawyers would likely make that argument if the notes were ever to be presented in a case against the former president.
“Tossing around about impossible legal theories isn’t necessarily proof of wrongdoing, but I could definitely see where people would look at those notes and think he was just trying to obstruct the investigation,” Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Joshua Ritter, a partner with El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, told Insider.
Ambrosio Rodriguez, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney and former Riverside County prosecutor, told Insider that the revelation that Trump may have asked his attorney for ways to circumvent a subpoena was not too much. surprising, given Trump’s legal history.
“He’s Trump. He’ll fight anything at any time. He’ll make things up and stick with them forever,” Rodriguez told Insider.
More evidence would be needed to prove that the memo itself meant Trump and his attorney were taking intentional steps to follow up on Trump’s investigation, Ritter told Insider.
“If somehow it was revealed during the discussions through the notes that they were in fact going to obstruct justice or pursue arguments that they knew had no merit, that could be a problem,” Ritter said. “A very serious problem.”
A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The Corcoran notes are now in the hands of Jack Smith, the special counsel investigating whether Trump mishandled classified documents and intended to obstruct the investigation into the documents. This investigation comes after treasures of documents were discovered in his house in Mar-a-Lago after he left office.
According to reports from March, the notes were turned over by a federal judge after she decided they contained enough evidence to suggest Trump used his lawyer in the prosecution of a crime.
As the investigation into the classified documents intensifies and more and more details come to light, speculation on whether or not the former president will be charged is mounting. On Sunday, former White House attorney Ty Cobb predicted that Trump would “go to jail” over the case.
Legal experts who spoke to Insider, however, said it may still be too early to call.
“Jack Smith is a serious person, a career prosecutor, a prosecutor in The Hague,” Rodriguez told Insider. “He’s not an individual who’s going to be cavalier about his accusation. I think we should just let the end play out. If there’s one thing we know with Mr. Trump, it’s that there will always be a legal history.”
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