Former lawyer also speculated Jared Kushner may have tipped off FBI about stashed papers
Michael Cohen says Trump kept Mar-a-Lago documents as ‘bargaining chip’
As he considers whether to mount a 2024 presidential campaign, Mike Pence this morning told an audience that he would consider testifying before the 6 January select committee if invited.
“If there’s an invitation to participate, I would consider it,” he reportedly said. “It would be unprecedented in history for a Vice President to be summoned to testify on Capitol Hill, but as I’ve said, I don’t wanna prejudge.”
Mr Pence’s former chief of staff, Marc Short, has already testified to both the select committee and a grand jury convened by the Department of Justice to investigate the attempt to overthrow Joe Biden’s victory.
Tomorrow will see a court hearing on whether or not to unseal the affidavit that provided justification for the search. The Department of Justice has rebuffed demands to release the document, warning that it could “chill” future efforts to secure witness cooperation.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has speculated that his ex-boss may have kept secret documents at Mar-a-Lago to use as a bargaining chip if and when he is arrested for alleged felonies.
Giuliani testifying to Georgia grand jury
Rudy Giuliani, the former personal attorney to Donald Trump, is meeting with the Georgia grand jury that could recommend criminal charges against him for participating in the ex-president’s scheme to overturn the 2020 election in the Peach State.
Mr Giuliani, who travelled to Atlanta on Wednesday after he was ordered to testify by a judge who had rejected his claims that he was unable to travel on account of a medical condition, was reported to have arrived at the Fulton County courthouse around 8.30am. He was accompanied by his own attorney, Robert Costello, and Vernon Jones, a former congressional candidate who has endorsed Mr Trump’s false claims regarding the conduct of the 2020 election.
Asked what he expected to say to grand jurors, Mr Giuliani told reporters: “They’ll ask the questions and we’ll see”.
Read more from Andrew Feinberg.
Mr Giuliani is expected to assert his right against self-incrimination before the grand jury
Trump lawyer ridiculed for demanding names of witnesses
One of the lawyers representing Donald Trump in the Mar-a-Lago documents affair, Alina Habba, has called for the Department of Justice to reveal the names of witnesses whose information helped it formulate the affidavit for the search last week.
As has been pointed out by Mr Trump’s critics, protecting witnesses’s identities to avoid intimidation is a routine and crucial part of investigations like these.
Read more about Mr Trump’s strange Mar-a-Lago legal team from Graig Graziosi:
Former president has an army of lawyers to fight his various legal battles – but also has a history of choosing attorneys who generated their own issues
Pence wrongly says it would be “unprecedented” for him to testify to Congress
Mike Pence’s remarks on the 6 January select committee this morning are already getting major airtime because of the possibility he might speak to the panel, but easily missed is his almost throwaway line that it would be “unprecedented” for a former vice president to testify on Capitol Hill.
Steve Vladeck of the University of Texas School of Law is here to point out the error in Mr Pence’s argument.
Pence in New Hampshire
No American politician goes to New Hampshire by accident, the saying goes – and the today, crucial primary state’s most famous visitor is Mike Pence, who has several times declined to rule out a 2024 presidential campaign.
As he addressed the crowd at St Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics, Mr Pence talked about the Trump administration’s headline achievements, insisted that it’s time ”not to look backwards but to look forwards” – perhaps a nod to his ex-boss’s fixation on the 2020 election – and in a surprising moment, said he would consider talking to the 6 January select committee in the right circumstances.
Andrew Feinberg has the story.
The House January 6 select committee is considering requesting testimony from the former Vice President
ICYMI: Gaetz opponent accuses him of informing on Trump
A Republican primary challenger to Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz has launched an ad accusing the far-right representative of tipping off the FBI about documents stored at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
Mark Lombardo, a Vietnam veteran and former FedEx executive, claims in the ad that Mr Gaetz has an animus against Mr Trump because the president declined to grant him a blanket pardon, which he reportedly sought both before and after the events of 6 January 2021.
Pointing out that Mr Trump has not “gone big” for Mr Gaetz, the ad’s narrator asks “what does Trump know?” – and stitches together its tenuous narrative by pointing out that Mr Gaetz has paid money to attorney Marc Fernich, an attorney who defended Jeffrey Epstein, and that “another Epstein attorney” approved the search warrant for the Mar-a-Lago raid.
Florida representative, who faces an ongoing sex trafficking investigation, has cultivated a reputation as a hardcore Trumpist
Giuliani arrives at court in Atlanta
Rudy Giuliani has been filmed arriving at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia, where he has been called to testify before a grand jury investigating the Trump team’s efforts to pressure state officials into overturning the 2020 election result.
Mr Giuliani previously claimed he could not give testimony in person because he had not been cleared to fly after a medical procedure, but prosecutors pointed to the fact he had bought plane tickets to other destinations.
Andrew Feinberg has more.
Prosecutors say Mr Giuliani purchased airline tickets after his lawyers claimed he was unable to fly because of a recent cardiac procedure
Kinzinger: Some Christians have replaced Christ with Trump
Retiring GOP congressman Adam Kinzinger, an unsparing Trump critic who sits on the 6 January committee, has given an interview to MSNBC in which he explained how powerful the tribalism of pro-Trump Republicans has become.
“As a Christian myself,” he said, “many pastors in this country are failing their congregation…and you have people today that literally – I think in their heart they may not say it – but they equate Donald Trump with the person of Jesus Christ.“
Watch the interview below:
Trump takes risk saying Mar-a-Lago documents are “his”
A report from the New York Times yesterday said that when Donald Trump was warned by multiple aides that he could not take government documents to Mar-a-Lago after leaving the White House, he responded on several occasions: “It’s not theirs, it’s mine.”
That might sound like innocuous bluster on the face of it, but according to DoJ veteran Andrew Weissman, it could if proven expose Mr Trump to legal problems:
Read more from John Bowden:
President ignored advice from counsel to heed National Archives’ demands for records
Michael Cohen: Trump kept documents as “bargaining chip”
Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, turned against his boss during his presidential term, since when he has served time in jail for crimes committed while working for the former president. He is now one of the most vocal critics among the president’s numerous former associates-turned-enemies, and has been speaking out loudly with his speculations on the Mar-a-Lago raid.
Among several new claims he made in a CNN interview last night is that Donald Trump was storing the documents found at Mar-a-Lago to save as a “bargaining chip” to be used “the second they put him in handcuffs” – and that the likeliest candidate for the alleged informer who told the FBI what was being kept in the residence is the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Watch the interview below:
Matt Gaetz’s opponent suggests he was Mar-a-Lago informant
Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz is one of the most hardcore pro-Trump Republicans in the House of Representatives, but even he is facing a primary challenge from the right – and his opponent has now put out a somewhat bizarre ad suggesting he may have been the reported “informant” at Mar-a-Lago who gave the FBI the tip-off that led to the raid.
The ad, which you can watch below, gives no evidence for its suggestion.