My favorite thing about this CNN story providing new details on the Trump investigations that Jack Smith will oversee is the quote from TV lawyer Elie Honing, commenting about how much evidence Smith already had.
“Mueller was starting virtually from scratch, whereas Jack Smith is seemingly integrating on the fly into an active, fast-moving investigation,” said Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor and senior CNN legal analyst.
Honig, of course, was long one of the worst kind of TV lawyers, who kept insisting there was no investigation into Trump because he hadn’t seen evidence of it (and he also because he hadn’t looked).
Effectively, this CNN article amounts to Honig admitting that he was wrong.
Among the details CNN provides are that there’s not just one prosecutor — Thomas Windom — on the Trump team, there are twenty.
A team of 20 prosecutors investigating January 6 and the effort to overturn the 2020 election are in the process of moving to work under Smith, according to multiple people familiar with the team.
Prosecutors on the Trump side of the January 6 investigation have had the green light to go after Trump for a year, not after Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony as some liked to suggest.
[T]he other investigative team, looking at efforts to block the transfer of power from Trump to President Joe Biden after the 2020 election, had even a year ago been given the greenlight by the Justice Department to take a case all the way up to Trump, if the evidence leads them there, according to the sources.
CNN reveals an investigation into the finances of the attack, led by JP Cooney, that has also been going on at least a year.
Another top prosecutor, JP Cooney, the former head of public corruption in the DC US Attorney’s Office, is overseeing a significant financial probe that Smith will take on. The probe includes examining the possible misuse of political contributions, according to some of the sources. The DC US Attorney’s Office, before the special counsel’s arrival, had examined potential financial crimes related to the January 6 riot, including possible money laundering and the support of rioters’ hotel stays and bus trips to Washington ahead of January 6.
In recent months, however, the financial investigation has sought information about Trump’s post-election Save America PAC and other funding of people who assisted Trump, according to subpoenas viewed by CNN. The financial investigation picked up steam as DOJ investigators enlisted cooperators months after the 2021 riot, one of the sources said.
The thing is, we long had reason to know that there was a financial component to the investigation. Merrick Garland implied to Sheldon Whitehouse as much on October 28, 2021.
Garland: Senator, I’m very limited as to what I can say–
Whitehouse: I understand that.
Garland: –Because I have a criminal investigation going forward.
Whitehouse: Please tell me it has not been constrained only to be people in the Capitol.
Garland: The investigation is being conducted by the prosecutors in the US Attorney’s Office and by the FBI field office. We have not constrained them in any way.
Whitehouse: Great. And the old doctrine of “follow the money,” which is a well-established principle of prosecution, is alive and well?
Garland: It’s fair to say that all investigative techniques of which you’re familiar and some, maybe, that you’re not familiar with because they post-date your time are all being pursued in this matter.
He said so even more explicitly on January 5.
In circumstances like those of January 6th, a full accounting does not suddenly materialize. To ensure that all those criminally responsible are held accountable, we must collect the evidence.
We follow the physical evidence. We follow the digital evidence. We follow the money.
And now CNN reveals something else that TV lawyers were sure they’d know if it happened: “DOJ investigators enlisted cooperators months after the 2021 riot.”
Update: I’ve started to have some discussion about financial questions of interest, so thought I’d lay out some that likely have come up:
- Nick Fuentes got a huge cryptocurrency donation just before the attack; did the donor (who killed himself) know that it’d be used to bring Nazis to the Capitol?
- Patrick Byrne paid to fly some of the participants in the Big Lie and the December 12 rally from place to place; how closely was this tied to the overall plan to steal the election?
- Alex Jones had a role in arranging Publix heir Julie Jenkins Fancelli’s funding for much of the rally. Did he do this with knowledge of plans to assault the Capitol?
- A financial investigation into Sidney Powell has long been public. Even after that, she funded the defense of key witnesses. What were the legal circumstances of this money flow?
- As the January 6 Committee made clear, Trump was raising money on promises of voting integrity long after he knew he had lost the election. Was that fraud, and did any money raised fraudulently go to pay for the attack on the Capitol?