The second half of this post has been sitting in my drafts folder since the recent fundraiser began. I was finally moved to post it because of yesterday’s news about the FBI raid on President Trump’s lawyer’s office and home. It’s so bad even his lawyer has had to hire a lawyer to protect himself from the vengeful horde who refuse to accept the American voters’ choice.
How do they do manage these incursions? Simple: blue states’ U.S. attorneys and judges are part and parcel of The Swamp. The former can always find a sympathetic latter to sign off on a search warrant… if it’s in aid of destroying the Republicans.
And how does this particular victim, Trump & Assoc., begin making its way through the python? Simple: here’s a former federal prosecutor spilling the beans:
Special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly advised Donald Trump’s lawyers that the president is a “subject” but not a “target” of Mueller’s investigation. This has resulted in a great deal of triumphal celebration among the president’s supporters. After all, they reason, if Mueller hasn’t by now dredged up enough evidence to designate Trump a “target,” then the president must be in the clear.
Unfortunately, whether someone is a “target” as opposed to a “subject” of an investigation is a distinction without a difference. It’s all a matter of timing, and the “subject” of an investigation can become a “target” in the blink of a prosecutor’s eye. It happens every day…
The manual provides that, before they testify in the grand jury, “targets” and “subjects” are to be given the exact same warnings against self-incrimination, save that a “target” should also be given “a supplemental warning that the witness’s conduct is being investigated for possible violation of federal criminal law.” These designations apply with equal force to interrogations outside the grand jury.
So, what effect do these carefully worded official policy distinctions between “targets” and “subjects” have on actual federal investigations in and out of the grand jury? Absolutely none. Here’s what really happens.
A prosecutor will always want to lure a “target” into giving a statement either to investigators or in the grand jury to pin down his version of events. This foreknowledge will help the prosecutor structure the government’s case to be presented at trial and counter any potential defense.
Moreover, if other evidence can contradict the target’s version, it can be presented at trial as a false exculpatory declaration by the defendant. This would be proof supporting the substantive crimes alleged, on the legal theory that an innocent person wouldn’t try to lie his way out of the charges and that the lies prove consciousness of guilt.
Also, depending on whether the statement was made in an interrogation or under oath before a grand jury, the “target” can be charged either with lying to investigators or with perjury or false swearing.
So, how does the prosecutor get the “target” to voluntarily submit to interrogation or testify before the grand jury? He tells defense counsel that the “target” is merely a “subject” of the investigation. Believe it or not, this frequently causes defense counsel and their clients to think they may have a chance of talking their way out of trouble.
But frequently, after the so-called “subject” has given his version of events, the prosecutor changes the witness’s designation from a mere “subject” to a “target.” This usually takes place about a nanosecond before the “target” is indicted.
Mueller’s reported designation of the president as a mere “subject” of the investigation is not only meaningless, it is a reprise of one of the oldest prosecutorial tricks in the book. He is setting a trap in the hope that the president and his legal team will think he is almost in the clear and, accordingly, should voluntarily submit to interrogation in order to clear up any misconceptions
This move is all the more alarming given that it appears to have been prompted by reports that the president’s lawyers are actually considering whether their client should voluntarily submit to an interrogation by Team Mueller.
So, based on my 20 years of conducting federal and state grand jury and street-level investigations and another 25 representing “subjects” and “targets,” permit me to offer this advice to the president’s legal team. Don’t be encouraged or misled by Mueller’s designation of your client as a mere “subject.” He’s simply baiting the trap and crossing his fingers that you and your client will be dumb enough to grab for the cheese.
Also, be aware that you are not involved in some kind of gentlemanly legal contest with reasonable, high-minded adversaries. These people are thugs with law degrees. If they can get a crack at your client in an interrogation, it won’t end well for him…
So wake up and quit playing footsie with Mueller and his feral band of Hillary Clinton sycophants. While you’re at it, you may also want to buy some brass knuckles.
Yes on the brass knuckles for the remaining Trumpsters in Washington. All the Obama shenanigans were always swept under the rug, particularly his racist, envious fecklessness. When the history of this period comes to be written, Obama will go down as our most divisive, destructive “Commander in Chief”.
Is all this really legal? I guess it depends on what the meaning of “is” is. Last week, Byron York explained how the Trump-Russia investigation fails to align with the rule of law and why we should care about what they’re doing. He also gives us the name for their major weapon (aside from weaponized bureaucracies).