In the Department of Justice’s criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election leading up to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, a key issue for prosecutors will be looking into former President Donald Trump’s intent and his direct role, a CNN senior legal analysts said.
“Donald Trump’s actions are fairly open and public. We all saw what he did. And we’ve all learned from reporting what he did — leading up to and on January 6. But the hardest part of the case here is — what was in this person’s mind? Did he have intent to break the law? Did he know, generally, what he did was wrong?” CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig explained.
This is why the Justice Department spoke to people that were closest to Trump, like Jared Kushner — a family member, Hope Hicks — a close adviser and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Honig added. “Because those are the people who had at the time, unvarnished, unregulated, one-on-one conversations” with Trump.
“And for somebody who doesn’t really text, who doesn’t really e-mail, like Donald Trump, you’re not going to have a smoking gun document — But what you may have is crucial conversations from the people closest to him,” he said.
CNN chief legal analyst Laura Coates said the investigation is about the substance of what happened leading up to January 6, 2021. “What was a possible conspiracy to try to conspire to use the resources available to the executive branch of government to try to undermine a congressional, lawful proceeding of a transition of power,” she said.
She added, “The realm of possibilities is actually very, very wide. I will be eager to see what aspect (special counsel Jack Smith) focuses on with respect to Donald Trump. Because remember, this is a person who very rarely gives a direct order. As a direct threat that says. ‘I want you to go do this on behalf of me.’ That’s what’s happening.”