According to an analysis by the Guardian's Peter Stone, Donald Trump's lawyers' losing streak in the courts is slowly grinding down any defenses they can put forward as they now face the prospect that his loyalists will be forced to testify.
As Stone notes, members of Trump's inner circle have run out of reasons to avoid talking about the 2020 presidential campaign and the aftermath of a lost election -- including attempts to overturn the election results -- and that has put investigators in the driver's seat.
"Due to a number of court decisions, [Mark] Meadows, [attorney John] Eastman, Senator Lindsey Graham and others must testify before a special Georgia grand jury working with the Fulton county district attorney focused on the intense drive by Trump and top loyalists to pressure the Georgia secretary of state and other officials to thwart Biden’s victory there," Stone wrote. "Similarly, court rulings have meant that top Trump lawyers such as former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who opposed Trump’s zealous drive to overturn the 2020 election, had to testify without invoking executive privilege before a DC grand jury investigating Trump’s efforts to block Congress from certifying Biden’s election victory."
As the Guardian report points out, the timing of the court losses could not come at a worse time for the former president and his loyalists as special counsel Jack Smith steps into the fray and takes over two DOJ investigations including the one taking a look at stolen government documents hidden away at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.
According to attorney Michael Zeldin, Trump and his close aides are now finding themselves cornered.
“Trump’s multipronged efforts to keep former advisers from testifying or providing documents to federal and state grand juries, as well as the January 6 committee, has met with repeated failure as judge after judge has rejected his legal arguments, the former prosecutor explained. “Obtaining this testimony is a critical step, perhaps the last step, before state and federal prosecutors determine whether the former president should be indicted … It allows prosecutors for the first time to question these witnesses about their direct conversations with the former president.”
Ex-U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade concurred.
“Favorable rulings by judges on issues like executive privilege and the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege bode well for agencies investigating Trump,” she claimed. "Legal challenges may create delay, but on the merits, with rare exception, judges are consistently ruling against him.”
The Guardian's Stone added, "Ex-justice lawyers say that a number of the recent court rulings should prove helpful to the special counsel Jack Smith, who attorney general Merrick Garland recently tapped to oversee both DoJ’s investigation into Trump’s retention of sensitive documents post presidency and the inquiry into his efforts to stop Biden from taking office."
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