Cipollone, DOJ, President Trump discussed on CNN Political Briefing
Hey everyone, I'm David challenging, the CNN political director, this is the CNN political briefing. Here's what you need to know in politics for Thursday, August 4th. This is probably bad for former president Trump. I mean, that might be an understatement, as the Department of Justice's latest subpoenas signal that investigators have reached inside Trump's inner circle. Obviously, the select committee on Capitol Hill investigating the events leading up to January 6th, the events of the day itself that insurrection that occurred at the capitol have been very public. It's been the very outward facing part of looking at what occurred at that historic moment and yet what we are learning now is there is as robust an operation that has been largely happening behind the scenes at DoJ that is now creaking into public view. So keep in mind everything that the committee on Capitol Hill has put forth in their public hearings has been obviously quite compelling, a timeline of what occurred, a lot and lots of testimony from Trump aides, not these are not political enemies of Donald Trump in any way, who are stringing together the narrative of what went on between election day and the 6th of January. But what we're seeing happening at a courthouse in Washington, D.C. we are seeing people coming into provide testimony in a Department of Justice, grand jury probe into these very same events, and obviously a criminal probe from the Department of Justice carries far more significant consequences than public congressional hearings, right? The role of Congress may be to make some recommendations or referrals. The role for the prosecutors at the Department of Justice is to bring criminal charges and get convictions. And the latest moves from DoJ could not be more threatening to Donald Trump. Former White House counsel pat cipollone and his former deputy council, Patrick philbin, have both been subpoenaed by the federal grand jury. That's according to sources familiar with the matter. Philbin did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A source familiar with the cipollone matter said that cipollone and his attorneys are now in discussions about an appearance before this federal grand jury, including how to deal with executive privilege issues. Now, both cipollone and philbin spoke to the House select committee and we know through their testimony that has been revealed publicly that they were present for some very chaotic moments in the aftermath of the 2020 election. Cipollone was a top voice among a chorus of Trump aides who testified up at the congressional committee, saying that Trump was repeatedly told that there was no evidence that the election was stolen. And yet, there was a real question in my mind and a real concern, particularly after the attorney general had reached the conclusion that there was a sufficient election fraud to change the outcome of the election. When other people kept suggesting that there was the answer is what is it? And at some point you have to put up or shut up. That was my view. You may recall there has been quite a bit of criticism of DoJ through much of this year when it comes to this matter, whether Democrats on the hill did not believe Merrick Garland was being aggressive enough or even some Republicans like kinzinger and Cheney who were on the January 6th committee who had concerns about the pace of any potential DoJ investigation into all of this. Well, now that we see that Trump's White House counsel and his deputy have been subpoenaed, this DoJ investigation has clearly reached not just inside the west wing. But basically to the door of the Oval Office. I mean, we're talking about very senior people around president Trump. Here's Republican Adam kinzinger, who serves on the January 6th committee with his take on what these developments mean. It shows that this is more than what did John eastman do attorney that basically came up with that crazy scheme to overturn the election. And it probably is a very deep interest in what the president did. We'll see where this goes, but there's no doubt that this investigation has developed further one than where we either knew it was or thought it was a few months ago. Now, attorney general Merrick Garland has repeatedly made clear. No person is above the law in this country. I can't say any more clearly than that. There is nothing in the principles of prosecution in any other factors which prevent us from investigating anyone. Anyone who is criminally responsible for an attempt to undo a democratic election. And that clearly includes former president Trump in the mind of the attorney general. And he's been clear that it is the law and nothing else that will guide his team of prosecutors and investigators through this process. He was pressed today at DoJ by a reporter if a window exists, a window of time to bring about any charges, given the political calendar this fall. This is something I can't comment about. I'm sorry. Now, all of this is happening, of course, as Donald Trump himself is weighing whether or not to announce a third bid for the presidency this fall and whether that should happen before the midterm elections or maybe after the midterm elections, though there's no indication from Garland or anyone else at DoJ that whether or not Donald Trump is a presidential candidate again is going to impact the department's decisions around any charges that may get brought from this grand jury process. And more and more information keeps coming out, whether through the January 6th committee through reporting through court filings, all while the DoJ criminal investigation is proceeding. The latest developments that we've learned about in recent days are dealing with the missing text messages from government phones during that period around the 6th of January of 2021. You may recall the Secret Service has been under heavy criticism after the Department of Homeland securities inspector general told Congress last month that the agency had a race text messages from the time period surrounding January 6th that had been requested by Congress. We're finding out today through an agency memo that DHS will immediately stop wiping mobile devices of high level officials and political appointees without backing them up and will launch a 30 day review of policies and practices for retaining text messages and other electronic messages.