Yesterday the remarkable news broke that DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith had Donald Trump’s own attorney Evan Corcoran testify to the grand jury last month. In the grand jury process there is no defense, and all witnesses are for the prosecution. Corcoran reportedly invoked attorney client privilege in response to some questions. But he testified for several hours, meaning he gave substantive answers to a large percentage of the questions. In other words, Smith got Corcoran to testify against Trump, to the grand jury that’s in the process of criminal indicting Trump. Now there’s more.
Now the WSJ is reporting that Jack Smith also had another Trump attorney, Christina Bobb, testify to the grand jury. Moreover, this didn’t merely take place “last month,” which could mean as little as two weeks ago. It actually took place at the start of January, meaning it was closer to six weeks ago. It’s the latest reminder that what little news does leak out about the federal grand jury indictment process tends to come well after the fact, meaning the DOJ is always well ahead of wherever we think it is.
Not only does this mean that the DOJ had Trump’s attorney testify against him six weeks ago, it also means that the DOJ managed to get the major battles over attorney client privilege squared away before that. Think it through. Trump and whatever is left of his team would have fought tooth and nail in court to try to prevent this testimony from happening. But the DOJ clearly won (or mostly won) that battle prior to the start of January, or else the testimony would have been stalled.
So now this gives you more sense of what all the DOJ has been doing behind the scenes over the past couple months, even as idiots on the internet have been yelling “DOJ is doing nothing!” Shortly after the DOJ had the FBI search Trump’s home, Palmer Report pointed out that the DOJ would likely need inside witnesses in order to secure a conviction against Trump, because it would need to be proven that Trump had malicious intent and didn’t take the classified documents by accident. Since most of Trump’s political advisers had already moved on from him by then, the only people he had helping him with the classified documents crime spree were his own lawyers. And so it was only logical that the DOJ would seek to flip Trump’s attorneys against him.
Corcoran and Bobb were the two Trump attorneys who appeared to be in the most legal trouble from the very start, so it’s not surprising at all that the DOJ has since gotten them to testify against Trump to the grand jury. Corcoran and Bobb may be idiots, but they’re not eager to go to prison for Trump. If they’d still refused to testify even after the courts presumably ruled that they had to, a judge would have busted them for contempt. So of course they’re testifying against Trump, and hoping it’s enough to keep them from getting indicted alongside with him.
As I’ve been saying from the start, a lack of recent media headlines about the DOJ’s criminal case against Donald Trump is not in any way an indicator of a lack of progress in the case. It just means that the work the DOJ has been doing, and the legal processes it’s been working through, have managed not to leak to the media.
Sure enough, now we know that over the past couple months the DOJ has gotten the courts to order Trump’s attorneys to testify against him to a grand jury, and gotten those attorneys to give that testimony – even as there were no headlines about any of it at the time. Now it’s coming out after the fact, only because somebody finally decided to give it to the media. The DOJ wasn’t doing “nothing” during that period of time when the headlines were quiet. The media and pundit class simply told us nothing was happening, because it couldn’t uncover what was happening. And now we’re starting to see a fraction of what has been going on.
I say a “fraction” because yesterday day we learned that one Trump lawyer testified against him last month, and today we learned another Trump lawyer testified against him last month. We only had a fraction of the story yesterday, so we probably still only have a fraction of the story today. Whatever leaks tomorrow, it’ll still probably only be a fraction of what’s really going on with the case.
Another thing to keep in mind – and another thing that the media is still glossing over – is that this federal grand jury isn’t hearing this testimony just for kicks. This grand jury process is clearly already past the subpoena stage, and past the warrant stage. It’s pretty clearly in the indictment stage. This testimony is being given to a grand jury that’s in the process of indicting Trump. This isn’t some “potential legal peril” or however the media is downplaying it on any given day. Trump is being indicted, and will be put on criminal trial, and if he’s convicted he’ll be put in prison. That’s the real story here. Anything else is a dramatic underplaying of what’s happening, in an effort at creating hype and suspense about how Trump is going to somehow magically get away with it all. But as these stories make increasingly clear, that’s just not reality. Legally speaking, Trump is more screwed than any political figure has ever been screwed. And this is before getting to the fact that he’s also being indicted in Georgia and New York.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report