Jack Smith Targets Trump’s Homeland Security Chief For Questioning In Criminal Probe

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Special Counsel Jack Smith is continuing his work. This time, it’s with a newly reported sit-down between investigators and Chad Wolf, who was among those who spent some time leading the Department of Homeland Security in the Trump administration and was in that post when the Capitol riot happened.

Although Smith’s area of work doesn’t include the individual criminal cases against participants in that pro-Trump riot, he has been examining political schemes related to it that were in support of attempts to keep Trump in power despite his loss. According to Bloomberg, Wolf faced questions from Smith’s team about whether the department “took any directions from the Trump campaign,” which he denied. It’s unclear whether there is any evidence to undercut this assertion, although another individual who was helping lead the department, Ken Cuccinelli, dealt with a push from the president’s circles for seizing ballot machines, an idea the official refused. Separately, Trump reportedly considered picking Cuccinelli for a post as special counsel as the then-president and his associates tried to build a case in support of their election fraud claims, although the U.S. Attorney General is normally who puts a special counsel in place.

Wolf also faced questions about his personal whereabouts, and, one could assume, personal response to the violence at the Capitol on January 6. He evidently didn’t have a lot to offer on that front, as he wasn’t in the country at the time — which seems like a point of concern, considering the well-established (even if underappreciated) possibility of violence breaking out and the fact he led an entire federal department focused on domestic security. For whatever reason, Wolf’s interview wasn’t conducted before a grand jury working on any portion of Smith’s probes. Instead, he met with a questioning team comprised of staff from the Justice Department and FBI. Cuccinelli also answered questions in Smith’s investigations, although it seems he did so before a jury. Others who have also provided answers include former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and ex-Trump adviser Stephen Miller.

Also new on the testimony front was a Wednesday sit-down with investigators in the Manhattan district attorney’s office by Michael Cohen, the former long-time lawyer to Trump who had further details to provide as prosecutors there examine infamous hush money. Cohen has expressed confidence about the possibility of a criminal case against Trump from the district attorney, who could eventually focus on falsified business records to cover reimbursements provided to Cohen for a portion of the hush money he gave a woman with whom Trump purportedly had an affair, a specific allegation Donald denies.