(DCWatchdog.com) – A new report reveals the US Justice Department’s investigations into former President Donald Trump seem to be picking up pace, with special counsel Jack Smith seeking evidence from Trump’s key allies.
Smith is in charge of both probes of Biden’s DOJ into Trump – for allegedly trying to overturn the results from the 2020 presidential election on January 6, 2021, and for mishandling classified documents found by the FBI at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
In the past few weeks, Smith has subpoenaed two top-ranking figures from the former administration – Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, and his then-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, The Hill reported.
The DOJ has also tried to get a judge to force Trump’s lawyer in the classified documents probe, Evan Corcoran, to testify, arguing his client-attorney privilege shouldn’t stand because he helped further a crime.
“Approaching high-level targets is often a late-stage move for prosecutors, a sign the investigative stage of Smith’s Jan. 6 work could be winding down,” the report pointed out.
It also emphasizes the special counsel’s aggressive approach towards Corcoran regardless of his status as a lawyer.
“We can draw a few conclusions from it that are fairly apparent. One is that Jack Smith is conducting a very aggressive investigation. Issuing a subpoena to an attorney is itself an aggressive step that requires high levels of supervisory approval of the United States Department of Justice,” commented Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor.
“I don’t think a prosecutor subpoenas Mike Pence unless they are far along in speaking to a number of other witnesses,” he added.
It is noted that Jack Smith’s push may be frustrated as Pence said he would challenge the DOJ subpoena, while Corcoran’s testimony would have to be “compelled” by a federal judge.
The report stresses that the classified documents case against Trump is deemed “more straightforward” because it would involve showing he deliberately kept national defense information.
However, Trump’s culpability in the January 6, 2021, storming of the US Capitol would be much harder to prove as it would necessitate “the demonstration of Trump’s intent.”
“A lot of people believed that because the Mar-a-Lago case would be an easier case to prove that [Smith would] focus attention there and put the January 6 investigation on the back burner or put that second in line, and that has not been the case,” Mariotti said.
“I think it’s evidence that his investigation — at least to this Jan. 6 piece — is fairly far along,” he added.
Another former federal prosecutor, Danya Perry, said the finding of classified documents in possession of President Joe Biden had not influenced the DOJ’s probe into Trump on the same matter.
“Obviously, the special counsel has not decided to hang it up, which I think some people thought [he might] when news came out about a number of other former White House officials having classified documents,” Perry said.
“That side of the ledger, the classified documents side, it does seem to be focused on the potential obstruction issues given that he’s been trying to get testimony out of Corcoran,” she stated.