In the “Morning Joe” studio Monday, former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal made clear that he believes former President Donald Trump will be indicted by this second special counsel investigation, which focuses on the classified documents found in his Mar-a-Lago house and role in inciting the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol.
“At the end of the day, I expect that Donald Trump will be indicted by the special counsel,” Katyal said, calling Mar-a-Lago an “open and shut investigation.”
This discussion comes after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland tapped federal prosecutor Jack Smith as special counsel to head the investigations surrounding former President Donald Trump on Friday. Smith’s appointment came just three days after Trump launched his third White House run.
Katyal explained that in some ways, Smith’s role is similar to the role of former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who was named in May 2017 to examine allegations of ties between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.
“With Mueller, the facts haven’t been uncovered yet by the Justice Department, Mueller had to hire a whole team to do all of that,” Katyal said. “Here by contrast… with respect to Mar-a-Lago, it sure seems like the department is very fall along into their investigation going as far as to execute search warrants at Mar-a-Lago itself.”
Katyal said that delay is always a concern with special counsels and catching new people up. However, in the case of Mar-a-Lago, the consel can easily borrow the former investigators and go through the “bundle” of existing material.
With Jan. 6, it may be different, as it’s unclear how much the Justice has already investigated the high-level wrongdoing. Instead, they’ve given out prosecution against low-level people who attacked the Capitol. Smith’s mandate makes it clear, though, that he is meant to focus on the higher-ups involved in the insurrection.
Katyal went on to acknowledge that though many viewers were unhappy with the Mueller investigation’s failure to indict higher-ups, including Donald Trump, it has nothing to do with how this second special counsel investigation will go.
“The fact that [no higher ups were indicted] in Mueller doesn’t to me say anything about what would happen here. These are very separate animals and Mar-a-Lago is, in my mind, an open-and-shut investigation,” Katyal said. “If I did this, or you did this, we’d be in jail right now. We certainly wouldn’t get a special master or a special counsel or prosecutor of the like. It would be a very easy case. It’s not that different, it’s just the identity of the person, Donald Trump, that makes it different.”
Katyal said that he 100% believes that Trump should’ve been indicted by what has already been found involving him and Mar-a-Lago.
“This isn’t like him just taking a love letter or something like that from some foreign leader with no national security implications — though it looks like he did take that too — but we’re talking about some of the most serious, sensitive material that the United States government has, and there’s no doubt in my mind every day of every week, anyone who did that would be prosecuted,” Katyal said.
He went on to explain that the prosecution is important, as it could deter others from taking classified material and reassure civilians that the government will protect the identities of spies and foreign government workers and uncover what happened.
“When you go into the government in a high ranking position, as I did twice, you get these warnings all the time… and to blow them off as the president did is not just despicable, but dangerous to our national security and for that reason, from the start, I have no doubt that Donald Trump will be indicted for this,” Katyal said. “There’s no way to look the other way.”
Watch the full segment here or in the embed above.