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Justice ministry talks with Trump's lawyer mark a crucial moment for the former president

(CNN)Liz Cheney raised the question: If there is evidence that ex-President Donald Trumpcommitted a crime in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election, what message will be sent if he is not prosecuted? Is not it.

The Wyoming Rep., who serves as the deputy chairman of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021,report exclusively by CNN,said Trump on Thursday. lawyers said they are in talks with prosecutors. This is the most concrete step against the former commander-in-chief

The news moves too slowly to investigate President Trump's election fraud campaign and mob agitation that broke into the Capitol. It was the latest sign that the department, after months of criticism, is moving quickly and expanding its reach -- although when and if the former president will be indicted in a Justice Department investigation. has not yet been indicated.

Cheney said in her CNN interview with her Kasie Hunt, taped Wednesday,, that if the Justice Department does not act in the face of evidence of criminal conduct, America itself It would be disastrous for the idea of

"Understanding what it means if the facts and evidence exist and you decide not to prosecute. How can we call ourselves a rule of law nation?" "panel.

Preet Bharara, senior his legal his analyst at CNN, said the fact that Trump's lawyers have already been in contact with the investigation suggests that Trump may be involved in some way in the future. He said he was suggesting that he believed he could be exposed to significant exposure.

"To be actively involved suggests that the attorney thinks there is some danger here and should get involved sooner or later," said the Southern District of New York. Bharara, a former US attorney, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. Bharara warned that the investigation could be lengthy and that a decision on "whether or not to indict Donald Trump" could be made months from now.

31} What the mob invaded the U.S. Capitol and learned what Trump said and thought during a previous plot designed to overturn the election loss was the former president's corrupt intentions. risk of being held criminally liable.

More directly, the dialogue with Trump's lawyers could open a significant legal battle over the extent to which Trump, as former president, can claim executive privilege over the conversation. be. Advice received during employment. Cases like this can carry over to the Supreme Court, and since there are so few cases in the absence of a president, that in itself could defeat a new legal ground. Presidential privilege is the practice of keeping private conversations and advice given to the president private, especially from Congress, under the separation of powers principle.

Protracted legal battles

The legal battles that Trump's often critical claim of privilege may provoke lead to the Justice Department's investigation of the former president. A movement that could push him to mid-2024, expected. This risks setting off yet another national and political conflagration on top of many that have been sparked by the 45th President.

More broadly, however, the latest news on the Justice Department investigation points to an active criminal investigation on the heels of the former US president. Even in their absence, they are tearing down the guardrails of the democratic system.

This does not necessarily mean that Trump will be indicted. Criminal investigations require a much higher level of evidence than the House Select Committee. rice field. During his presidency alone, he wriggled free from Russian investigations. Although he was never convicted in a Senate trial or removed from future federal office, he was the first president to be impeached twice by the House. Yet, according to a new CNN report, Trump's team warned Trump that he could be indicted as a result of a grand jury investigation. Sources also said the former president asked advisers if he was in personal legal danger.

Professor Kimberly Wale of the University of Baltimore School of Law told CNN's Erin Burnett that contacts between Trump's attorneys and prosecutors represented a legal joust over the extent of executive privilege.

"I think Donald Trump will lose that battle, but I told him he had better be careful that his lawyers were involved in this and could be prosecuted." I think the fact that the former is very serious news for the former president, but it's very good news for democracy, the rule of law and the constitution," Wale said. Recent revelations about the investigation by the Justice Department reinforce signs that the Justice Department is acting swiftly and extensively to investigate the riots. It doesn't seem very active.

This raises the possibility that yet another momentous period of Trump-induced national trauma lies ahead. It claims to be weaponizing the ministry. Mr. Trump will react to signs that he is being targeted and to possible prosecution of those around him, claiming he is falling victim to a politicized investigation. Given his control over his supporters and his record of inciting violence, political tensions could be serious.

All of this would sharpen the dilemma that Attorney General Merrick Garland would face if evidence in criminal investigations suggested that prosecution was warranted. Indicting former presidents, especially those running for the White House again, would spark a political storm. This must raise the question of whether targeting Trump is in the wider national interest outside of the criminal context. Failure to pursue could set an equally dangerous precedent, signaling future deviant presidents.

Trump and his team discussed potential defense strategies.

The most important news ever about the Justice Department's criminal investigation is a comprehensive and rapid It follows unmistakable signs of serious investigation. For example, the Justice Department subpoenaed former White House attorney Pat Cipollone and former deputy attorney Patrick Philbin.

It was revealed last week that former Vice President Mike Pence's most senior aide, Mark Short, and former attorney Greg Jacob spoke to a grand jury.recently obtained a second warrant to searchthe mobile phone of conservative attorney John Eastman, who denied electoral votes from key battleground states. In June, federal agents searched the home offormer Justice Department official Jeffrey Clarkbefore dawn. did. Clark has exercised his Fifth Amendment right to self-incrimination more than 100 times in depositions before the House Select Committee.

According to the latest reports by CNN's Caitlin Polanz, Kara Scannell, Gaby Orr, and Kristen Holmes, sources say that some members of Trump's legal team have been in the office in recent months. on at least two occasions to discuss possible defense strategies. This is because they are awaiting developments not only in the Justice Department investigation, but also in another investigation by Georgia officials into Trump's efforts to overturn Biden's election victory in a key state in 2020.

Trump expressed skepticism that he would be indicted, although they actually believe he would be formally indicted, sources familiar with the matter said. One of the sources said.

The CNN team also suspected that Trump had ignored advice from his advisers, becoming embroiled in a House Select Committee investigation and potentially embroiling himself in a criminal investigation.

When it comes to issues of presidential privilege, historical precedents may work against former presidents. A. During the Watergate scandal, then-President Richard Nixon claimed executive privilege to prevent the surrender of the guilty audio tapes. But in a potentially pivotal ruling in Trump's case, the Supreme Court said executive privilege cannot be used to interfere with the administration of criminal justice.

The Jan. 6 committee did not file suit over Cipollone's reluctance to discuss certain conversations with Trump based on presidential prerogative. It's racing against the ticking clock as it will likely be dissolved by pro-Trump Republicans in the House if control of the House changes after the November midterm elections. But the Justice Department has plenty of time to fight the legal battle.

And the potential protraction of the investigation is one reason many observers believe Trump is leaning toward an early announcement of the 2024 presidential election. by the Biden administration to prevent the White House from being taken back.