As special counsel Jack Smith entered a D.C. courtroom Thursday afternoon to witness Donald Trump’s arraignment on four criminal charges related to the former president’s alleged attempt to “overturn” the 2020 election, a longtime Justice Department official accompanied Smith: Molly Gaston, an assistant district attorney for the District of Columbia now assigned to Smith’s team.
A federal grand jury on Aug. 1 accused Trump on conspiracy and obstruction charges following a year-long investigation by the DOJ into Trump’s post-election efforts to uncover voter fraud and stop the certification of electoral college results on January 6, 2021.[For] for more than two months after Election Day on November 3, 2020, the defendant spread lies that there had been election fraud and that he had actually won. These statements were false and the defendant knew they were false,” Smith wrote in the 45-page indictment.
Gaston, according to reports, was the fiscal Awaiting a grand jury decision Tuesday, he then filed the indictment in D.C. District Court late this afternoon.
But just a few years ago, Gaston didn’t seem to care about the “lies” told by another high-ranking government official. Gaston and fellow prosecutor JP Cooney, also currently assigned to Smith’s team, informed Andrew McCabe, the former acting FBI director who was fired in 2018 for lying to federal investigators, that he would not accused
“We are writing to inform you that, after careful consideration, the Government has decided not to file criminal charges against your client, Andrew G. McCabe, arising from the Office of Inspector General’s referral to our office of conduct described in the April OIGs Report dated December 18, 2018, entitled “A Report of Allegations Relating to Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe,” Gaston and Cooney. he wrote to Michael Bromwich and David Schertler, McCabe’s attorneys, in February 2020. “Based on the totality of the circumstances and all the information known to the Government at this time, we consider the matter to be closed.”
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz had he concluded McCabe lied to FBI and OIG agents on four occasions, including three other times under oath, related to his involvement in authorizing a leak in Wall Street Journal about an ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation “for advancing its personal interests at the expense of the Department’s leadership.”
“[The] The OIG found then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to be lacking in candor, even under oath, on multiple occasions in describing his role in connection with a disclosure to the WSJ,” Horowitz wrote. He then forwarded the ‘ matter to the US attorney for the District of Columbia, the referral eventually ended up on Cooney’s desk.
Ironically, or not, Cooney and Gaston now play a leading role in the former president’s prosecution for “creating[ing] an intense national atmosphere of distrust and anger, and erosion[ing] public faith in the administration of the election,” which DOJ employees, including McCabe, successfully did in trying to remove Trump from office based on lies about Trump-Russia election collusion.
Gaston and Cooney seem ready to turn the screws on Trump. Late Friday night, Gaston filed a motion with Tanya Chutkan, the Obama-appointed judge assigned to the case, to sign a protective order based on alleged fears of the “unwarranted disclosure” of “sensitive” information by Trump’s side of the case.
“All the proposed order seeks to prevent is the improper dissemination or use of discovery materials, including by the public,” Gaston wrote. “This restriction is especially important in this case because the defendant has already issued public statements on social media about witnesses, judges, lawyers and others related to legal matters pending against him. And in recent days, regarding this case , the defendant has issued several messages, either specifically or implicitly, including the following, which the defendant posted a few hours ago:
Gaston threatened to withhold discovery materials from Trump until Chutkan signs the protective order, which is basically called a gag order.
In a statement Late Friday night, Trump insisted his post was aimed at “RINOs, dishonest special interest groups, China lovers and Super PACs.”
Judge Chutkan ordered Trump to respond to Gaston’s motion by Monday at 5 p.m.; Trump’s lawyers asked for an extension and accused Gaston of ambushing the defense. “Friday night ultimatums, given by the government before even calling defense counsel, are wholly unproductive and undermine the potential for party-driven resolutions,” wrote John Lauro and Todd Blanche, Trump’s lawyers, in a Saturday morning response.
The next face-to-face hearing is scheduled for August 28.