What we know ahead of a possible third Trump indictment. Previewing a Potential Third Trump Indictment: What We Know So Far, The former New York City Police Commissioner, Bernard Kerik, is cooperating with a special counsel investigating the 2020 presidential election. Kerik worked with Trump’s former attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to promote unfounded claims of voter fraud in the election’s results.
CBS News has confirmed that the former New York Police Commissioner provided the special counsel with thousands of documents on Monday. His compliance in the investigation comes as we wait to learn if a grand jury will move forward by handing up an indictment in the case. So CBS News congressional correspondent Scott McFarlane joins us now to break it all down for us. So what more do we know about these documents that Kerik turned over to the special counsel? And how does that change or impact the investigation from where you’re standing?
It may not impact the timing or some of the contents of an indictment, Lily. I think it’s important to establish that these documents may be a component of the special counsel’s investigation, but they may not be a foundational part of it. The timing is unclear as to when they were specifically handed over or at least when that process began.
And so are the types of privilege that had to be overcome to get these documents shared. But there’s a more fundamental issue at play here. There’s difficulty here in Washington to get a sense of where we are on the time continuum in this Jack Smith investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election. We have watched a parade of high-powered witnesses come through here, those who are in the most inner circle of Donald Trump. That includes Mike Pence.
That includes his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. It’s been happening over the course of months now. The question that hovers over this courthouse like a cloud, Lillia, is when will an indictment come down from Jack Smith against Donald Trump, which would be the third criminal indictment of the former President?
On that, I mean, Scott, here we’re talking about a lot more witnesses, a lot more moving pieces. The witnesses in the other federal case were few considering that on that day, the former President was exposed to so many people. And then the indictment came, I think it was around 20 days, less than a month. But former President Trump said that he would be handed and that he would be indicted within four days of getting the letter. So what are you hearing about how soon it could come? I mean, how complicated is this?
It’s a really good question. We’ve had plenty of time to discuss it inside the courthouse, me, and about a million of my other journalist friends who’ve been waiting in the first-floor lobby for news from the grand jury. Here’s a couple of things we know for sure. We know Donald Trump is the one who announced that he received that target letter. And for those who forget, a target letter is something federal prosecutors send to people who are not just a subject or a part of an investigation, but the epicenter of it. It’s an indication an indictment is looming, if not imminent. The former President made the announcement and said he received it on a Sunday, a week ago Sunday.
I think that is July 14th or July 15th. He said he had four days to respond to the special counsel. He didn’t say an indictment would come in four days, which is why we’re all on standby, me, everyone here on the first-floor lobby, waiting for the grand jury to give us some signal. Now, what signal will they give? Well, it’s pretty deliberate. The grand jury investigating the efforts to overturn the 2020 elections, this huge historic investigation, has tended to be here on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Of course, that would include today. Grand juries here at this courthouse tend to give their new indictments to the magistrate judge on duty, usually after the 1 PM Eastern Time hour.
Magistrate judge Robin Merriweather is the judge on duty today. She has a couple of hearings at the 1 PM hour as the afternoon begins. She had a 3 PM hearing on the schedule in the middle of the afternoon. There’s always a possibility something could happen in between. But that’s what we’re waiting for, movement from the grand jury. There’s no sense, Lillia, no sense anybody’s getting a sneak preview here, including the former President. He would like to find out the same way we would, by having somebody in the courtroom to listen to what the grand jury reports every Tuesday and every Thursday.
Well, Scott, nobody knows this case up until this moment better than you do. So I will have you maybe make some assumptions as to what might be the charges. I know that in Florida, it was a very high number of charges and an indictment that we didn’t expect. Any shocking revelations that we could expect from this one or what would be the foundation?
That Florida case ended up with 37 federal charges against the former President, including felonies. Here we know from the target letter, when our reporting on that target letter sent to the former President, there are several statutes referenced, which indicate possible charges coming. One of them would include obstruction of an official proceeding, which sounds like a real Washington phrase, doesn’t it? It’s actually the US code term for blocking an official proceeding of the government. In this context, it’s the January sixth electoral count that was disrupted for many hours. 310 January sixth defendants had faced that charge and had been prosecuted on it already.
So the Department of Justice, in this case, the special counsel, has some practice and some muscle memory. It’s also possible, Lillia, there’ll be a conspiracy charge. So many federal cases have it. But I think we’re looking at felonies in this case, which is why you have to wait for a grand jury. Lillia, in the federal system, if it’s a misdemeanor, the prosecutor could just bring it him or herself. But if it’s a felony, you have to wait for those grand jurors who don’t operate on a set clock, at least not a predictable one. We’re on their time. Scott McFarlane, thank you.