Special Counsel Focusing on Chaotic Oval Office Meeting After 2020 Election: Report

July 7, 2023

Prosecutors in the office of Special Counsel Jack Smith have been asking numerous witnesses before the grand jury about a chaotic meeting in the Oval Office that took place about six weeks after then-President Trump lost the 2020 election, CNN reported Thursday.

The meeting had also been a focus of last year’s House Select Committee on the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection.

In its seventh public hearing, on July 12, 2022, the committee reconstructed the December 18, 2020 meeting, playing clips of sworn testimony from Trump officials and associates who attended.

The meeting attendees included White House Counsels Pat Cipollone and Eric Herschmann, Trump personal attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sydney Powell, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and business execs Patrick Byrne of Overstock.com and MyPillow owner Mike Lindell. Trump was also in attendance.

The meeting lasted more than six hours. It took place four days after electors had met across the country to officially name 2020 election victor Joe Biden as President-elect. 

Amid the meeting, White House officials clashed with Trump backers over election fraud conspiracy theories and plots to keep Trump in power.

Derek Lyons, former White House staff secretary, testified before the January 6 Committee that the two camps were “shouting at each other, throwing insults at each other—it wasn’t just sort of people sitting around a couch chit-chatting.”

According to CNN, special counsel prosecutors have specifically inquired about Powell, Flynn and Byrne.

Both Powell and Byrne spoke under oath last year to the January 6 Committee about several topics, including the Oval Office meeting, while Flynn declined to answer committee questions, repeatedly pleading the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination.

CNN further noted that Giuliani has submitted to a voluntary interview with federal investigators on a range of topics, including the tumultuous meeting. 

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Smith’s investigative team has taken a growing interest in attorneys and others involved in former President Trump’s legal efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss. Along with Powell and Giuliani, the Journal also reported that federal prosecutors had also reached out to Republican operative Mike Roman. He’d headed Election Day operations for the 2020 Trump campaign and dispatched lawyers to swing states ahead of the November 3 election.  

Lawyers for both Powell and Byrne declined to comment to CNN, as did Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello. CNN has also reached out to an attorney for Flynn for comment.

PHOTO: Sydney Powell January 6 deposition

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