Donald Trump Fears His Unindicted Co-conspirators Will Turn On Him to Save Themselves: Report

The ex-president has reportedly asked his advisers who he thinks is most likely to crack under questioning from Jack Smith’s team.
Donald Trump
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When special counsel Jack Smith criminally charged Donald Trump this month for attempting to overturn the 2020 election, the indictment referenced six unnamed co-conspirators—five of whom are identifiable—who aided the ex-president’s plot to stay in power, i.e. break the law. Why Smith chose not to charge these individuals is unclear; while it’s possible that the prosecutor only targeted Trump to expedite the case, it’s also plausible that he did so as part of a strategy to get them to cooperate and become government witnesses against the former guy. And according to a new report, it seems like at least some of these people might be willing to talk to save themselves.

Rolling Stone reports that although “a number of the ex-president’s chief lieutenants and alleged co-conspirators in the plot to overturn the election, such as conservative attorney John Eastman, have insisted the effort was perfectly legal and based on sound evidence,” others “have recently sought to distance themselves from the efforts…implicitly heaping the blame for any potential criminal conduct onto fellow participants in Trump’s attempted coup.” As one attorney familiar with the matter put it, “It is the ‘please don’t put me in jail, put that other guy in jail’ strategy that was sure to come up at some point or another.” Among those trying to pin the plot on anyone but themselves are Rudy Giuliani and Kenneth Chesebro, whose own lawyers, Rolling Stone notes, “are now casting blame toward others on the campaign’s legal team or people close to the then-president.” Giuliani, for example, is openly attacking the “crackpot” actions of lawyer Sidney Powell, while Chesebro, who has the distinction of crafting Trump’s fake-electors scheme, is currently attempting to downplay his involvement. Last week, an attorney for Chesebro sent a statement to Rolling Stone suggesting that it was not his fault if someone from Team Trump took his supposedly perfectly legal advice and acted on it in an illegal manner, writing: “Whether the campaign relied upon that advice as Mr. Chesebro intended will have to remain a question to be resolved in court.” The lawyer added: “We hope that the Fulton D.A. and the special counsel fully recognize these issues before deciding who, if anyone, to charge.”

And while none of the unindicted co-conspirators have publicly implicated Trump, the ex-president is reportedly concerned it’s only a matter of time:

The possibility that one of Trump’s former advisers could turn state’s witness and testify against either him or his aides or close associates is already apparent to the twice-impeached former president. This summer, Trump has asked some of his political and legal advisers to name who—especially among those investigated or questioned by the special counsel’s office—they believe to be the most “vulnerable” and likely to crack under pressure from prosecutors, according to two people who’ve heard him ask about this.

Not surprisingly, according to Rolling Stone, prosecutors are said to be “only too happy to seize on these divisions,” and sources familiar with the matter told the outlet that “in the past several weeks, the special counsel’s office has signaled that they intend to put pressure” on the six unindicited individuals, with “the feud between Giuliani and Sidney Powell” currently being probed. (Witnesses have reportedly “offered up details on the behind-the-scenes animosity between the two attorneys” and “also told investigators their accounts of the former New York mayor’s private antics during the months following Election Day 2020.”) “If I were the feds, and I wanted to build cases against the [so far unindicted] ‘co-conspirators’ to apply maximum pressure to them, to see what they’d…have to say about the [former] president, this is exactly how I’d do it,” a person familiar with prosecutors’ recent questioning of witnesses told Rolling Stone, adding that it is “highly probable that several others will be charged. Jack Smith is not slowing down.”

Meanwhile, for his part, Trump is reportedly planning to blame everything on his lawyers.

A lawyer for Giuliani told CNN, of the fake-elector’s scheme: “Rudy Giuliani had nothing to do with this” and “You can’t attach Rudy Giuliani to Sidney Powell’s crackpot idea.”

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