Former DOJ official says Trump’s intimidation tactics could ‘poison’ jury pool

FILE – President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Feb. 20, 2018. Trump’s White House has failed to report more than 100 gifts from foreign nations worth more than a quarter-million dollars, and federal officials have been unable to find a life-size painting of Trump given by the president of El Salvador as well as golf clubs from the prime minister of Japan, according to a report Friday from House Democrats. (G3 Box News Photo/Evan Vucci, File) Evan Vucci/G3 Box News

Former DOJ official says Trump’s intimidation tactics could ‘poison’ jury pool

Rachel Schilke

March 19, 04:39 PM March 19, 04:39 PM

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A former Justice Department official says former President Donald Trump’s remarks and calls for protests are intimidation tactics that could “poison” the jury pool.

“What I think is happening here is [Trump] trying to, No. 1, intimidate local prosecutors and No. 2, I think it also has the effect of poisoning a jury pool,” said Anthony Cole, who used to head the DOJ’s Department of Public Affairs, said in an interview with Jonathan Capehart on MSNBC.


Cole’s remarks come one day after Trump put on Truth Social that he expects to be arrested this Tuesday, decrying “illegal leaks” and a “highly political” prosecutor preparing to take him into custody.

“Illegal leaks from a corrupt and highly political Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which has allowed new records to be set in violent crime and whose leader is funded by George Soros, indicate that, with no crime being able to be proven, and based on an old and fully debunked (by numerous other prosecutors!) fairytale, the far and away leading Republican candidate and former president of the United States of America, will be arrested on Tuesday of next week,” Trump wrote. “Protest, take our nation back.”

Cole said he found the former president’s “incendiary rhetoric” to be the most troubling, drawing similarities to the remarks he made after the 2020 election.

“The thing that troubles me the most about what we saw over the last 24 hours is this type of incendiary rhetoric,” Cole said. “It’s … something we have, of course, seen before on Jan. 6 leading into the violent attack on the Capitol.”

Trump’s comments refer to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation into hush-money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016. Several reports indicate that Bragg preparing to indict Trump on charges.

New York security agencies reportedly began putting safety plans in place on Friday in the event Trump is indicted. Agencies involved include the New York Police Department, New York State Court Officers, the Secret Service, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, testified before Congress in 2019 that he paid Daniels, an adult film star whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, $130,000 during the 2016 campaign to prevent her from going public about an affair she claimed to have with Trump in 2005.

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Cohen, who pleaded guilty in 2018 and served time for the alleged payments, told lawmakers Trump reimbursed him in monthly installments. He said on Thursday that he believes an indictment of the former president is “imminent.”

Bragg’s case could make history, as it would be the first indictment of a former U.S. president. It could hinge on whether Trump falsified business records to list the reimbursement payments as legal expenses.

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