We all watched pro-Trump witness Robert Costello emerge from his Manhattan grand jury testimony this afternoon and then complain to the television cameras in unhinged fashion about how none of the grand jury members wanted copies of the “evidence” he’d brought with him. That alone made it clear that the stunt didn’t help Donald Trump’s legal prospects. But it may be even worse than that.
Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman is now calling Trump’s Costello stunt a “dumb, stupid move” that won’t help Trump, and instead opens the door for the Manhattan DA to potentially tack on obstruction of justice charges against Trump.
Our view is that there’s no point in the DA tacking on an obstruction charge unless it’s something he can get a conviction on, and that’ll come down to the particulars of what Costello did or didn’t say to the grand jury, along with whether coordination between Trump and Costello can be proven. So we have to leave it to the DA to assess whether obstruction charges can stick.
But the point is that Trump gained nothing from this stunt – it won’t keep him from being indicted, it didn’t delay anything – and may have hurt himself in the process. At the least, Trump has now lost the ability to put Costello on the stand at trial with any story other than the one that Costello staked himself to under oath today.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report