Exclusive: Trump lawyers in talks with Justice Department about January 6 criminal probe
(CNN) – Former President Donald Trump’s legal team is in direct communication with Justice Department officials, the first sign of talks between the two sides as the criminal probe into January 6, 2021, accelerates, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.
The talks revolve around whether Trump would be able to shield conversations he
had while he was president from federal investigators. In recent weeks, investigators have moved aggressively into Trump’s orbit, subpoenaing top former White House officials, focusing on efforts to overturn the 2020 election and executing searches of lawyers who sought to aid those efforts.
The Trump team’s discussions are with the US attorney’s office in Washington, DC, which is in charge of the investigation, and its top January 6 prosecutor Thomas Windom, the sources said. The conversations have not been previously reported.
At this stage, the conversations are focused mostly on whether any communications that witnesses from the Trump West Wing had with the former president can be kept from a federal criminal grand jury under Trump’s claims of executive privilege, the people said.
The Justice Department has been anticipating a court fight with Trump over executive privilege. The issue has arisen as grand jury subpoenas have been issued to two former White House counsel’s office officials and to former Vice President Mike Pence’s chief counsel and chief of staff. Trump’s legal defense team has warned him that indictments are possible, sources tell CNN.
Some members of Trump’s legal team have discussed his potential defense strategies on at least two occasions in recent months, according to two sources familiar with the matter, as they brace for new developments in the Justice Department probe and a separate investigation by Georgia officials into his potentially criminal meddling in the state’s 2020 election results. Rolling Stone previously reported that Trump had been briefed.
Trump has grilled his attorneys on whether they actually believe he will face formal charges, sources said. Yet the former President has expressed a heavy dose of skepticism that he will be indicted, one of the sources familiar with the matter said.
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