Trump is brushing off concerns about the DOJ's Capitol attack investigation while his lawyers warn that indictments may be coming

Trump is brushing off concerns about the DOJ's Capitol attack investigation while his lawyers warn that indictments may be coming
Former President Donald Trump.Seth Herald/Getty Images
  • Trump's lawyers are worried the DOJ's Capitol riot probe is closing in on his inner circle, CNN reported.
  • They're reportedly in talks with the DOJ about whether Trump can invoke executive privilege over some conversations.

Former President Donald Trump's lawyers are worried that the Justice Department's sprawling investigation into the deadly Capitol siege is closing in on his inner circle and that indictments may be on the horizon. But Trump has dismissed their concerns so far.

That's according to CNN, which also reported that Trump's defense lawyers are in talks with the department about whether Trump could assert executive privilege with respect to conversations he had with aides and advisors when he was president.

The DOJ is girding for a court battle with Trump over the issue of executive privilege, the report said, particularly since several former high-ranking White House officials — former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Cipollone's deputy Pat Philbin, former Vice President Mike Pence's ex-chief of staff Marc Short, and ex-chief counsel Greg Jacobs — were subpoenaed by grand juries investigating events related to the Capitol siege.

Cipollone previously invoked executive privilege when testifying before the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack. But as Insider's C. Ryan Barber reported, Cipollone and other White House officials could have a tougher time shielding information from the feds, given that the Justice Department falls within the executive branch.

The former president has been asking his lawyers if they think he will be criminally charged in connection to the Capitol riot probe, CNN said, but he's also skeptical that he'll be indicted. Instead, he's been more preoccupied with the upcoming 2022 midterm elections and a possible 2024 presidential run.


Trump's lawyers have also reportedly cautioned him against communicating with former aides and advisors ensnared in Congress' January 6 investigation and who could become involved in the Justice Department's criminal probe. They've expressed particular concern about former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who they believe could be a crucial fact witness in the department's investigation, CNN said.

Meadows' lawyer, George Terwilliger, dismissed that notion, calling it "idle and uninformed speculation." A spokesperson for Trump also leveled accusations of "partisan, political persecution," adding in a statement to CNN, "How can any future President ever have private conversations with his attorneys, counselors, and other senior advisors if any such advisor is forced, either during or after the Presidency, in front of an Unselect Committee or other entity, and be forced to reveal those privileged, confidential discussions?"

No one in Trump's inner circle has been indicted directly in connection to the Capitol attack. But former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was convicted last month for contempt of Congress after he refused to cooperate with lawmakers' investigation into the riot. And former White House trade advisor Peter Navarro will also face a contempt trial in November for similarly refusing to cooperate.

Trump's own actions leading up to and on the day of the siege came under renewed scrutiny after Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Meadows, testified to lawmakers in vivid detail about his efforts to stir up protestors on January 6. At a rally shortly before his supporters stormed Congress, Trump urged the frenzied crowd to "fight like hell" to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election.

Hutchinson told lawmakers that on that day, she heard Trump order that metal detectors used to keep armed protestors away from the president be removed. She also testified that several top White House aides warned Trump that the crowd was dangerous and that he refused to calm his supporters down despite desperate pleas from his advisors, and at one point he wanted to join the mob laying siege to the Capitol.


When throngs of Trump supporters started chanting to "hang Mike Pence," Hutchinson testified, Trump said the vice president deserved those calls.

"Why did she want to go with us if she felt we were so terrible?" Trump wrote on Truth Social after Hutchinson's testimony last month. "I understand that she was very upset and angry that I didn't want her to go, or be a member of the team. She is bad news!"