(CNN) — Behind the gilded doors of Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump and his advisers are bracing for several different potential scenarios involving a potential indictment by a Manhattan grand jury investigating a hush-buying scheme.
Already as a candidate for the White House in 2024, Trump celebrated how an impeachment would help him politically and complained about how “unfair” it would be. The former president has toyed with the idea of trying to create a media spectacle around him and has at times completely ignored the possibility of criminal charges, sources close to him told CNN.
Two aides said the former president appears to have resigned himself to the likelihood of an impeachment, and a close aide called his perceived detachment from the matter “compartmentalizing.”
Despite indications that the investigation into Trump’s alleged role in the scheme to pay secret money to adult film star Stormy Daniels is drawing to a close and that preparations for an impeachment are underway, there is still no it is clear that the former president will be charged or when those charges could be revealed.
“[Trump] knows what is happening. We are all in a situation ‘OK, this is happening, how do we deal with it?’” said a Trump adviser.
In the latest twist in the case, CNN exclusively reported Tuesday night that communications between Daniels and a lawyer now representing Trump were turned over to the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The exchanges, said to date back to 2018, when Daniels was seeking representation, raise the possibility that Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, could be left out of Trump’s defense.
CNN has not seen the records in question, and Tacopina denies there was a conflict or that sensitive information was shared with his office. He says that she did not meet or speak to Daniels. Ethics experts said the impact the disclosure will have on the case will depend on the circumstances and the content of the communications.
Amid uncertainty about how the year-long investigation will end, several aides to the former president have expressed frustration at the lack of information about a possible impeachment and the logistical complications that would arise with an appearance in New York, where Trump would be arraigned.
“We’re planning what we can: what does he say and when?” another aide told CNN. “There’s not much we can really plan for right now.”
Other investigations against Trump
The investigation into hush payments for the adult film star is not the only legal cloud hanging over the former president. In a separate development in a separate investigation, the Justice Department convinced a federal judge that Trump used one of his defense attorneys to further a crime or fraud related to the existence of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, sources familiar with with the matter they told CNN Tuesday night.
The finding, which was part of a major ruling Friday by Washington District Court Judge Beryl Howell and first reported by ABC News, makes it clear for the first time that the Justice Department argues it has evidence that Trump could have committed a crime. And Howell ruled that prosecutors met the burden of trumping Trump’s right to protect discussions with his lawyers normally protected under attorney-client privilege.
The evidence would likely be significant in the obstruction investigation being conducted by special counsel Jack Smith’s team.
Political Implications of a Possible Indictment in the New York Case
Trump is scheduled to travel to Waco, Texas, this Saturday for his first major campaign event since announcing his third presidential bid, although an aide questioned whether an indictment by a New York grand jury against the former president could derail those plans.
“If this happens on Friday, are we going to Texas the next day?” the adviser wondered.
While some Republicans and Trump allies have argued that impeachment could be politically beneficial to Trump, particularly in a contested 2024 Republican primary, others aren’t sure any benefit could be derived from the situation.
“We are in unknown territory. We don’t know what this does in the long run politically. We’d rather he just not be charged than get any potential boost,” a source involved with the Trump campaign told CNN.
Over the weekend, Trump called on social media to protest what he said was his impending arrest. But he has backed away from that language in recent days after calls from allies and advisers to tone down his rhetoric, a sign he may be listening to those around him.
Still, federal officials, including those at the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, are monitoring what they say has been an increase in violent rhetoric online, including calls for “civil war,” since Trump made those called. But until now, he has stuck to small talk and lacked the actionable information, coordination and volume that preceded the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, US officials and security experts told CNN. security.
— Sara Murray, Kaitlan Collins, and Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.
Source: CNN Espanol