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‘We took key document copies home’: Watergate prosecutor explains ‘just in case’ preparations if president quashes probe

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Former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks explained to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell the multiple reasons why she is not overly concerned that President Donald Trump might fire investigators the day after the midterm elections.

“After election day, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein might never again announce any indictments or other developments in the Robert Mueller special counsel investigation, because Rod Rosenstein could be fired the day after the election, Robert Mueller could be fired the day after the election, Attorney General Jeff Session could surely be fired the day after the election,” O’Donnell noted. “And the Trump pardons could start flying around Washington the day after the election, four weeks from now.”

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“Jill, 29 days from now, Donald Trump is apparently free to fire whoever he feels like firing because the congressional elections will be behind him,” the host said.

“Yes, he can — and he might — although he did say he had no intention of firing anybody, but that usually is a sign that he’s about to do it,” she replied

“On the other hand, I do think that Mueller will have planned for all this, and that he will be ready for it, as will Rosenstein be ready for it,” she continued.

Wine-Banks, who was also the first female general counsel of the U.S. Army, said Mueller had lots of options.

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If there were to be a “Saturday Night Massacre” like there was during the Nixon administration, Wine-Banks said that Trump could be indicted and Mueller’s report sent to Congress as is — and maybe even be proved to the public. Or he could allow the grand jury to act “on their own inherent authority” to return an indictment absent his involvement.

“What do you imagine it’s like inside the Mueller office with the prosecutors?” O’Donnell asked. “They’ve got your old job there, working on the special prosecutor investigation of a president.”

“I think they’re planning their activities around that possibility, and they may be doing what we did, which was we took key documentary copies home — no originals — but we took copies home, just in case we got fired and were not allowed to have our documents ever again,” Wine-Banks revealed.

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“We wanted to take the chance that we might have to violate the law to save the country, so we took them home,” she explained.

“So I think they hopefully are planning for this horrible possibility, which I hope won’t happen, because it would be the ultimate obstruction of justice and would really be a threat to democracy,” Wine-Banks concluded.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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