The special counsel continues to schedule witness interviews even as potential indictment of Trump looms

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The special counsel continues to schedule witness interviews even as potential indictment of Trump looms



CNN

With the growing expectation that former President Donald Trump will be indicted for a third time this year, investigators in the special counsel’s investigation into election interference are expected to speak with additional witnesses in the next few weeks, including at least one former Trump lawyer.

Trump has been told by special counsel Jack Smith that he is a target in the investigation into attempts by the former president and his allies to overturn the 2020 election — giving Trump an opportunity to testify or present evidence before possible indictment. Such targeted letters are usually sent shortly before prosecutors file charges.

At the same time, prosecutors have held talks with at least two witnesses to schedule interviews with investigators, which won’t conclude for at least another month. Former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Carrick, a Trump ally, is still in the process of scheduling his upcoming interview, and a former Trump lawyer plans to speak with investigators next month, sources familiar with the planned meetings told CNN.

It is unclear whether prosecutors will wait until their interviews are completed before filing charges against Trump. It is also not clear how a possible case would be structured. For example, Smith could file a more discreet case first and then add what are known as superseding charges, or he could separate multiple defendants into separate cases.

On Thursday, Trump aide Will Russell testified before a grand jury investigating the fallout from the 2020 election, including the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. A dispute over executive privilege during his testimony in the secret grand jury proceedings came to light when Russell’s attorney, Stan Woodward, was late for a sentencing hearing for another client charged in the Jan. 6 riot.

The grand jury hearing evidence in Smith’s investigation met for more than 6 hours Thursday before adjourning for the day shortly before 5 p.m. CNN spotted grand jury members leaving the courthouse Thursday afternoon, and prosecutors from Smith’s office returned to their office in a separate building.

According to media reports, Woodward told the judge he was slowed by the argument, which sparked a scuffle when Judge Trevor McFadden ordered special prosecutors brought into the courtroom to give an explanation. A lively discussion ensued on the McFadden bench.

In the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case, Smith filed charges against Trump and his close aide, Walt Nauta, last month. But Smith’s office continued to investigate the handling of classified material after Trump’s presidency ended, with witness investigations and grand jury activity.

In a sign that Smith’s team may press additional charges in the classified documents case, a Trump Organization employee who works at Mar-a-Lago recently received a directed letter in connection with the ongoing investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter. The letter, first reported by ABC News, indicates that prosecutors are investigating possible perjury charges related to the officer’s testimony before the grand jury.

Trump was also indicted in late March by a Manhattan grand jury in connection with an alleged hush money scheme.

In the election meddling probe, investigators also appear to still be gathering evidence. The special counsel’s office is looking into Carrick’s communications surrounding the 2020 election, a source familiar with the matter told CNN. Carrick worked alongside former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani in the weeks after the 2020 election to find evidence of voter fraud that would swing the race for Trump.

When the congressional committee subpoenaed Carrick for documents on Jan. 6, he provided a log of his communications, which he said he was withholding because of attorney-client privilege. These communications have never been made public because the commission did not challenge Carrick’s claims of privilege in court.

Timothy Parlator, Carrick’s attorney, told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on “The Source” earlier this week that his client “has done nothing wrong.”

“He was an investigator and everything he did was legal and appropriate,” said Parlator, a former Trump lawyer, adding, “We expect to sit down and explain that to the special counsel as well.”

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