Jared Kushner, Hope Hicks Speak to Trump Grand Jury

Prosecutors ask inner circle whether former president conceded that he lost election
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2023 7:00 PM CDT
Jared Kushner, Hope Hicks Speak to Trump Grand Jury
Counselor to the President Hope Hicks, left, and White House adviser Jared Kushner walk toward Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in September 2020.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The federal grand jury investigating former President Trump's involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 election has reached into his inner White House circle in recent weeks, hearing testimony from senior aides including Jared Kushner and Hope Hicks. The prosecutors' questioning has centered on whether Trump conceded in private that he had lost the presidential election, the New York Times reports. Kushner was a senior adviser to his father-in-law. Alyssa Farah Griffin, who was White House communications director, also has testified, per ABC News.

The questions indicate special counsel Jack Smith's team is looking into whether Trump was acting with corrupt intent, whether he knew his maneuvering and lobbying were based on a lie. No one involved commented on Thursday. But Griffin has told prosecutors and the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol, per the Times, that days after the election, Trump said to her, "Can you believe I lost to Joe Biden?" To the committee, she added, "In that moment I think he knew he lost." Others have reported similar comments, including the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs. Gen. Mark Milley said Trump, in a meeting after the election, said something like, "Yeah, we lost, we need to let that issue go to the next guy."

Legal experts say prosecutors don't need evidence showing the defendant knew what he was doing was wrong, but it can help their case—especially in trials in which the defendant won't be taking the stand. The lead prosecutor in the obstruction investigation into Trump during the Russian interference probe said knowing what the former president told people can help in another way. "If the Department of Justice has this kind of evidence, it could help justify to the public why charges in this case would be necessary to bring," Andrew Goldstein said. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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