The Wall Street Journal reports the special counsel’s investigation into Trump’s mishandling of classified documents at his Mar-A-Lago resorts is close to wrapping up. Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski spoke to one of their reporters.
“People in the former president’s circle familiar with the matter say some in his circle are bracing for the indictment and anticipating being able to fundraise off the prosecution. Prosecutors working for Smith completed interviews with nearly every employee at Trump’s Florida home. The special counsel team also conducted a flurry of grand jury interviews that appear to tie up loose ends. The paper could not determine whether Smith decided to charge Trump or if he presented a recommendation on the matter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, who would make a final recommendation on such charges,” Brzezinski said.
Aruna Viswanatha, a WSJ reporter who worked on the story, appeared to talk about the story.
“What are the indications here that this is winding down to either charges or closing up?” Brzezinski asked.
“What we know is that over the past few months, Jack Smith’s team has been very aggressive in trying to talk to almost everybody that works there, from the maid to his senior aides, and calling them back multiple times to ask them more questions. As far as we know, most of them still do work for him and do work there. What we know is that in recent weeks, the questions have gotten even more pointed and seem to be very much Jack Smith’s team trying to see if they can establish the elements they need to establish if they want to try and prove a crime had happened.
“There was a flury of activity over the past few weeks where they just tried to rush to get — it seemed like they were rushing to get everybody in and get all of the evidence that they could and those requests have pretty much stopped at this point, and they seem to be saying, okay, thanks, we have what we need right now. So that tees up for us that idea that there’s an end of the investigation coming very soon.”
“Would Jack Smith announce charges himself if he decides that’s what the case merits? Would he refer it to the attorney general to announce the charges? How does it play out from here?” Katy Kay asked.
“We are in unprecedented territory as many have pointed out, but the way it works, the recommendation is made to the attorney general and the attorney general accepts it or if he decides it’s not warranted, he could overturn it and turn it over to Congress. If he were to decide to bring charges we would see the grand jury returning an indictment and that would get unsealed and it’s only then that we would see that anything has happened,” the reporter said.
“What is your sense of the level of concern from the Trump team, and they say they are going to raise money off the prosecution and they have done it in the past, too, but this is serious stuff here, and many believe when all is said and done, Donald Trump goes to jail because of some of the things we have seen in the classified documents, so how worried is Trump’s team?” Willie Geist asked.
“Some of his attorneys do firmly believe there’s no case here and do not believe a case is forthcoming, but others are pretty much resigned to there being a potential case. The reactions are somewhat mixed. With the Manhattan D.A. case, he was able to get a political boost and fund raise off that, and they see a similar dynamic playing out here,” Viswanatha said.
“So it might not be a terrible thing for them, especially when they can compare it to President Biden also having issues with having classified documents found at his residence, and things like that.”