Recently, we reported that the Trump Team was far more invested and involved with the January 6th ordeal surrounding the Congressional certification of the Electoral College votes in President Joe Biden’s favor, when a recent Washington Post report revealed that the ex-president’s people constructed an entire “command center” in a D.C. hotel where they coordinated their efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
We were well aware that the likes of Trump’s former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and infamous “Coup Memo” Conservative lawyer John Eastman were neck-deep in the collusion and corruption that went down at this makeshift headquarters at the Willard Hotel in D.C. However, new reporting has revealed that none other than Fox News’ Judge Jeanine Pirro played a hand in this “command center” fiasco, and what she did could very well cost Trump the “executive privilege” claims that he’s depending on as a defense in his mounting legal troubles.
According to a report from The Washington Post, Rudy Giuliani and the New York former police chief Bernie Kerik had been forking out funds for hotel rooms and travel expenses related to their efforts to overturn the 2020 election, but by December the duo was reportedly getting concerned about how they were going to recoup their growing costs as the bills piled and piled.
Kerik spoke with the publication and revealed that he found himself wondering at the time, “How do I know I’m gonna get my money back?”
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The former police chief was well aware of the fact that Giuliani had not been reimbursed for his numerous expenses nor even compensated for his extensive services with regard to their attempts to overthrow a U.S. election. It was then that one beloved Trump friend, Judge Jeanine Pirro, reportedly stepped in, making a call to Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and asking for her help.
The former police chief as well as one GOP official says that McDaniel did take a call with Kerik, but refused to give him any money and instead suggested that he get in touch with the Trump Campaign and request that they reimburse him for his mounting expenses.
The first check from the Trump Campaign was cut to Kerik midways through December, complete with the now-ex-president’s approval. One former senior campaign official claims more than $225,000 was ultimately paid out to Kerik by the Trump campaign to cover expenses such as hotel rooms and suites at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. — the very place that served as the team’s “command center” headquarters ahead of the January 6th riot.
Legal experts are now saying that it’s those very payments that could ultimately screw Donald Trump out of claiming executive privilege against documents and testimonies relating to the riot when it comes to the House select committee’s investigation into the January 6th insurrection.
Former Watergate prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste said “[This] further undermines a wildly broad assertion of executive privilege. Executive privilege is typically limited to the protection of communications involving a president’s official duties — not to those relating to personal or political campaign matters.”
Even the former advisor of Mike Pence’s staff, former Justice Department official John Yoo, admitted that there was absolutely no legal basis for the Trump Team to attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and the payments made to Kerik could absolutely destroy Trump’s only shred of defense.
“If he acts as a president, he gets these things we talk about — executive privilege and immunity,” Yoo explained. “But if he’s acting as a candidate, he’s deprived of all of those protections.”
In the end, the reporting seems to indicate that those payments ultimately hailed from that call Jeanine Pirro made to Ronna McDaniel, on the desperate search for help.
Helping never helps, does it, Jeanine?
Featured image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore, under Creative Commons license 2.0