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At a Trial, Trump Insiders Could Be Called to Testify

One thing that Donald Trump hates more than most things (and the list of things he hates is long) is having people close to him not being loyal to him. If they have to lie, cheat, or commit crimes for him, that is expected and without any discussion. When the trials begin, he is likely to be in for some very unpleasant surprises.

Let's start with Mike Pence. Yesterday on Face the Nation, the former VP said: "I have no plans to testify, but people can be confident we'll obey the law." Pence is a lawyer. He knows very well that when Jack Smith wants him to testify at any of Trump's trials, he is not going to invite him by sending him a text message reading: "Hey, Mike, could you please drop by the Prettyman courthouse Friday at 9?" Smith is going to issue a formal subpoena. And Pence just said he will honor it. Pence also said he will tell the truth. Earlier he told Smith that Trump asked (ordered?) him to reject the electoral votes of key states Trump lost. When Smith asks him to tell the jury what Trump asked of him, he will. Trump is not going to like it and won't invite him to future birthday parties.

Another insider who very likely has flipped is Mark Meadows. He was in contact with Trump multiple times on Jan. 6, 2021. He can testify to what Trump wanted and to his state of mind. Trump won't like that either.

There are more. Former senior adviser Jason Miller told Trump that the claim that dead people voted in Georgia was false. In an e-mail he wrote: "It's tough to own any of this when it's all just conspiracy sh** beamed down from the mothership." He will certainly be called as a witness to testify that Trump was warned that there was no fraud. Former AG Bill Barr also told Trump that in no uncertain terms.

In the Mar-a-Lago case, Trump is alleged to have shown classified documents to his close political aide Susie Wiles, who doesn't have a security clearance. She will very likely be called to testify in Florida. Maybe she will perjure herself, but if there are other witnesses to the incident, she probably won't risk it. Bodyman Walt Nauta, who has been indicted himself, may be called as a witness. There are surveillance videos of him moving boxes of classified materials around. He would be foolish to perjure himself when there is video evidence showing what he did.

Even some of Trump's lawyers will be called in one trial or the other. Evan Corcoran told Smith that after Trump was ordered to turn over documents to the National Archives, Trump instructed him to take boxes of documents to a hotel room and remove the damaging ones. If there is any doubt that Trump willfully attempted to hide documents he had no right to have, Corcoran's testimony should settle that.

The list of Trump insiders who are likely to be called as witnesses is substantial. In the Florida case alone, there are 84 potential witnesses. In the conspiracy cases, everyone Trump came in contact with on Jan. 6 is a likely witness. There are dozens of them. Will any of them take a bullet for Trump? Ivanka might, but probably few, if any, of the others will because Smith has so much evidence that they will all be afraid of being charged with perjury if they lie on the stand.

The really big question is how testimony from Trump insiders will sway public opinion—and thus Trump's chances in the Republican primary. Right now, most Republicans think the whole thing is a big witch hunt (see below). But if dozens of Republicans formerly loyal to Trump come out and testify that he committed crimes, some Republican voters might decide that Trump is indeed a criminal. Of course, if the primaries are (effectively) over by the time the trials start, Trump could still end up as the nominee, even if he is then a convicted criminal. (V)

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