Hope Hicks was reportedly with the Manhattan DA today. The New York Times says it doesn’t know whether Hicks testified to the grand jury today, or whether she was merely interviewed by the DA’s office ahead of such testimony. But either way, it’s an important milestone.
The DA had Kellyanne Conway testify to the grand jury the other day, and now Hicks has either testified today or was prepped today to testify. These are the kinds of witnesses closest to Trump, who testify last
Hicks and Conway were each working right alongside Trump during his 2016 campaign when he committed the campaign finance fraud he’s being indicted for. They have first hand testimony to provide about his guilt. And while they may still feel some personal loyalty to him, they’re unlikely to be willing to go to prison for perjury just to protect him.
Also, having them testify now isn’t just about securing the indictment. Trump is going to be indicted with or without the help of people like Hicks or Conway. What matters is that the DA is locking in the testimony of Trump’s allies now, under penalty of perjury. This means that when Trump is put on trial, and they have to take the stand in front of the trial jury, they can’t just suddenly decide that they never witnessed anything. At that point they’d be nailed for obstruction.
Remember, all these steps taken during the indictment process are about ensuring that the indictment results in a conviction and not an acquittal. Assembling an indictment that can land a conviction is not just some instant flick of a switch.
But these endgame witnesses make clear just how close to the end of the indictment process the Manhattan DA is. These are the kinds of witnesses you have testify to the grand jury last. And then it’s over, and the grand jury indicts.
Another sign the Manhattan DA is about to indict: star witness Michael Cohen, who has met with the DA’s office too many times to count, is now reportedly about to testify to the grand jury as well. He’ll probably be the final grand jury witness. So if you’re watching for a sign that the Manhattan DA’s criminal case is complete and that we’re just a few days away from the indictment dropping, watch for news that Cohen has indeed testified to the grand jury.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report