- Donald Trump asked his lawyer if they could push on the DOJ’s classified documents subpoena.
- Sources told CNN that Trump was only asking for legal advice when he brought up the question.
- Legal experts told Insider the statements could be troublesome if they followed through.
Donald Trump asked his lawyer if there were ways to push back against the Justice Department after it requested he hand over classified documents through a subpoena, according to “overly detailed” notes from his attorney relayed to CNN by multiple sources.
Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran took the notes before lawyers for the former president told the DOJ they had returned what they believed were all the documents in Trump’s possession, CNN reported.
Sources who spoke to CNN said that Trump was only asking for legal advice when he inquired about the pushback. Legal experts who spoke to Insider said Trump’s lawyers would likely make that argument if the notes were to ever come forward in a case against the former president.
“Brainstorming impossible legal theories is not necessarily evidence of wrongdoing, but I could certainly see where where people would take a look at these notes and think that he was just further trying to obstruct the investigation,” Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Joshua Ritter, a partner with El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, told Insider.
Ambrosio Rodriguez, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor for Riverside County, told Insider that the revelation that Trump may have asked his lawyer for ways to get around a subpoena was not too surprising, given Trump’s legal history.
“This is Trump. He’ll fight anything at any time. He will make things up and stick to that forever,” Rodriguez told Insider.
There would need to be more evidence to prove that the note itself meant that Trump and his lawyer were taking intentional steps to follow through with Trump’s inquiry, Ritter told Insider.
“If somehow it were revealed in the discussions through the notes that they were actually going to obstruct justice, or pursue arguments that they knew knew had no basis to them, that could be a problem,” Ritter said. “A very serious problem.”
A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Corcoran’s notes are now in the hands of Jack Smith, the special counsel to the investigation into whether Trump mishandled classified documents and intended to obstruct the investigation into the documents. This investigation comes after troves of documents were discovered in his Mar-a-Lago home after he left office.
According to reports from March, the notes were handed over by a federal judge after she decided there was sufficient evidence in them to suggest that Trump used his lawyer in the furtherance of a crime.
As the classified documents investigation ramps up and more details comes to light , speculation surrounding whether or not the former president will be charged is growing. On Sunday, former White House attorney Ty Cobb predicted that Trump “will go to jail” as a result of this case.
Legal experts who spoke to Insider, however, said it might still be too early to call.
“Jack Smith is a serious person, a career prosecutor, prosecutor at the Hague,” Rodriguez told Insider. “This is not an individual that’s going to be cavalier about his charge. I think we should just let the end play out. If there’s one thing that we know with Mr. Trump, it’s that there will always be a legal story.”