The Insiders Who Could Bring Down Trump's House of Cards
In the sprawling criminal case against Donald Trump, a motley crew of six insiders have emerged as potential kingpins. They are the ones who allegedly conspired closest with the former president in his schemes to cling to power after losing the 2020 election.
Yet curiously, none have been charged - suggesting special counsel Jack Smith is holding back, hoping to flip them against their former boss. For Trump, each cooperating witness could prove devastating, further imperiling his already dire legal standing.
The six play varied roles in Trump’s orbit, from bombastic personal lawyers to shrewd legal theorists to brazen political fixers. But they share an intimate knowledge of Trump’s alleged wrongdoing in those chaotic post-election weeks. Now, with criminal culpability looming over them, their loyalty faces the ultimate test.
There’s Rudy Giuliani, once “America’s Mayor”, now irascible conspiracist and Trump’s snarling bulldog. Jeffrey Clark, the bespectacled DOJ lawyer who allegedly tried to use the department to spread voter fraud lies. John Eastman, the professorial attorney who crafted the illegal scheme targeting Mike Pence. Sidney Powell, the kooky Kraken-releasing lawyer even Trump privately dismissed.
And two more elusive figures - likely attorney Kenneth Chesebro who wrote memo templates for fake electors, and an unnamed “political consultant” neck-deep in the broader conspiracy.
For Smith, flipping even one could clinch his case against Trump. Their first-hand accounts from inside the former president’s orbit would provide slam-dunk testimony. Even the threat of charges could be enough to shake loose damning information.
But the six also face countervailing pressures not to cooperate. Some, like Eastman, have already demonstrated intense loyalty, refusing to testify and invoking the Fifth Amendment scores of times. Trump himself continues dangling pardons, hoping to keep them quiet if he retakes power.
Ultimately though, Smith wields the leverage. With Mark Meadows and other key White House insiders already cooperating extensively, he likely holds sufficient evidence to convict the six if they stay mum. That realization may compel some to flip rather than face prison time.
For Trump, these are nervous days, unsure of where loyalties lie within his inner circle. One by one, the dominoes could fall, leaving the former president more exposed than ever. The Insiders Who Could Bring Down Trump's House of Cards