Jack Smith is looking into two big issues involving Donald Trump – and it could make some serious history: We learned earlier this week that Jack Smith, the Special Counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to look into both President Donald Trump’s classified document retention and his role in the January 6 insurrection, has sought testimony from Evan Corcoran, an attorney for Donald Trump, indicating that may have been a crime that was committed that is not shielded by attorney/client privilege.
Now, we’ve learned more about what Smith’s office is up to.
CNN reported Thursday that Smith is “locked in at least eight secret court battles,” aimed at getting more information into both the documents and January 6 sides of the case.
Those cases, per the report, are sealed, but “could lead courts to shape the law around the presidency, separation of powers and attorney-client confidentiality in ways they’ve never done before.”
This has been a continuing theme in legal proceedings related to Trump in the last several years, as the former president and different associates have fought subpoenas, from courts, the Robert Mueller-era Special Counsel’s office, and later from the first impeachment inquiry and the January 6 Committee.
Such battles have taken place in former investigations, in everything from Whitewater to the Mueller investigation, but the current case involves more simultaneous court battles than have typically taken place in such situations.
“About half a dozen cases are still ongoing in court, either before Chief Judge Beryl Howell or in the appeals court above her, the DC Circuit. Most appear to follow the typical arc of miscellaneous cases that arise during grand jury investigations, where prosecutors sometimes use the court to enforce their subpoenas,” CNN said of the cases.
Pence’s case in particular, the report said, “may raise novel questions about the protections around the vice presidency.” Testifying, if he runs for president, may place Pence in the extraordinary position of running against the same person he’s testifying against.
“I think we are in extraordinary times. Part of it is I think President Trump continues to assert these theories long after they’ve been batted away by the court,” former White House Counsel Neil Eggleston told CNN.
Donald Trump, for his part, ripped Smith in a Truth Social post this week.
“Radical Left (Trump hating!) Special “Prosecutor” Jack Smith is leaking to the Fake News Media like a sieve,” Trump said in the post Wednesday.
“He is going absolutely crazy trying to nab the political candidate who is way ahead of his ‘boss’ in the polls, and won the 2020 Presidential Election, except for the fact that it was RIGGED. He’s got a job to do, and is working hard to scare & intimidate witnesses, even lawyers who have never seen such antics before. He should be looking at Election Fraud, & who SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN!!!”
The news also broke on Wednesday that Smith’s office had subpoenaed Mark Meadows, who was White House Chief of Staff at the end of the Trump Administration, including on January 6. Meadows received the subpoena in January, the report said.
The Meadows subpoena, CNN said, “marks the latest significant step in the special counsel’s investigation into Trump’s role in seeking to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election.” The report also said that the Meadows move could set off another legal battle over whether he can be compelled to testify.
And while the Meadows subpoena concerns the January 6 side of the probe, the analysis added that Meadows “also may be of interest in the documents investigation,” since he was among Trump’s designees to the National Archives.
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Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.