Even as the angry public continues to use social media to yell things like “Just arrest Trump already” and “What’s the holdup,” the reality is that putting together the kind of indictment that’ll actually result in a conviction against a crime boss is complex and time consuming. Since crime bosses usually try to keep their own hands clean, prosecutors need inside witnesses who can confirm that the boss instructed them to commit crimes.
Sure enough, the Washington Post is now reporting today that the DOJ has lined up a “Trump employee” as a cooperating witness who has testified to moving boxes of classified documents “at Trump’s request.” The DOJ would never leak this kind of thing about a witness, and WaPo’s phrasing suggests that the witness is not the source of the story. This suggests that someone else within Trump’s orbit has tipped off WaPo to the fact that this witness exists – and it’s not clear why that would happen.
Once Trump is indicted and has to start saying serious things to a trial judge instead of just mouthing off at rallies, he’ll surely try to mount a reasonable doubt defense claiming that he personally wasn’t involved with the stolen documents, and that perhaps his underlings stole them instead. That’s why it’s so crucial to have witnesses testifying that Trump not only knew about the boxes of classified documents, but was personally involved in relocating or hiding them.
In any case, presuming this WaPo story is actually correct, it means the DOJ has at least one inside witness in place to nail Donald Trump. Given that even Trump’s inept lawyers will do everything they can at trial to discredit this witness, the DOJ will typically try to line up multiple inside witnesses. The jury might not be inclined to believe any one particular witness, but is far more likely to believe it if the same story comes from several witnesses. This is how the Feds have traditionally gotten convictions against crime bosses, and it’ll be the same with Trump.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report