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Judge Napolitano expects Trump Jr. to be indicted in Mueller probe in coming weeks
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Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano predicted problems for the Trump family during a live radio broadcast of “The Dan Abrams Show.”
Based on court documents recently filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Judge Napolitano believes investigators could be preparing to indict someone from President Donald Trump’s inner circle — namely, Donald Trump Jr.
Trump Jr. has been on the special counsel’s radar for many months due to his attendance at a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-backed attorney who promised to provide political dirt on then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. In a 2017 interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee, the president’s son testified that he was “skeptical” that the meeting would produce anything useful for the campaign.
“My skepticism was justified,” he told the committee. “The meeting provided no meaningful information and turned out to be not about what was represented. The meeting was instead primarily focused on Russian adoptions, which is exactly what I said over a year later in my statement of July 8, 2017.”
However, Trump Jr. reportedly provided differing accounts of the meeting to the media and Congress, suggesting that Mueller could pursue perjury-related charges against the 40-year-old. So far, most of the criminal subjects of the special counsel’s probe have been indicted for ancillary offenses that are a direct consequence of the investigation — not for any past crimes, and certainly not for colluding with the Russian government.
This includes former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI investigators. Late Tuesday evening, the special counsel filed a heavily redacted sentencing memo recommending a light sentence for Flynn in exchange for providing “substantial assistance” to Mueller’s crack team of prosecutors.
Napolitano, who previously worked as a New Jersey Superior Court judge, believes that Flynn’s cooperation spells trouble for Trump Jr. Abrams asked the Fox News judicial analyst if the latest plea bargain was a sign that Mueller planned to go after someone from Trump’s inner orbit, and Napolitano concurred.
“I don’t know who,” he said, “but I do know that Donald Jr. has told friends he expects to be indicted.”
“Do you expect he’d be indicted?” Mr. Abrams inquired, to which Napolitano answered: “Yes.”
Vanity Fair, a leftist pop culture magazine that frequently publishes vacuous and disparaging content about the president and his family, reported more than a month ago that Trump Jr. “has been telling friends he is worried about being indicted as early as this week.” According to the publication’s single anonymous source, the president’s eldest son was worried that “Mueller could indict him for making false statements to Congress and the F.B.I. about whether he had told his father about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.”
Former White House counsel John Dean also believes that Trump Jr. may have exposed himself to prosecution.
“He’s probably been told by the prosecutors that he’s a target. That means that there’s — unless you’re going to cooperate, there’s going to be an indictment very likely following,” Dean said in a Wednesday interview. “He’s not been called in front of a grand jury. That’s another sign that he’s being treated at arm’s length. So he’s got jeopardy.”
Dean, a harsh critic of the president, knows a thing or two about political scandals and their correctional consequences. The Nixon administration official pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and served time in prison for trying to cover-up the Watergate scandal.
The special counsel is also said to be investigating Trump Jr.’s role in an abortive deal to build a skyscraper in Moscow. Michael Cohen, President Trump’s erstwhile friend and attorney, pleaded guilty last week to lying about the proposed deal to Congress. However, Trump Jr. stopped working on the Moscow project in 2013, and Cohen’s negotiations concerning the special counsel occurred up until the summer of 2016.
Backed into a corner
It is unclear how Trump will respond if his own children are threatened by the special counsel, which he views as a “witch hunt” designed to undermine his authority. The president has previously threatened to start declassifying “devastating” Justice Department and FBI documents if House Democrats “want to play tough.”
Additionally, Democrats have consistently warned that Trump may attempt to shut down the special counsel investigation, and Congress has repeatedly tried to pass legislation that will protect the prosecutor’s body and prevent Trump from “inappropriately interfering” in independent investigations in the future. The president, however, has repeatedly insisted that the special counsel is not in any danger of being abolished.
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