— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) October 29, 2017
Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Sunday it will be important to see how President Trump reacts to the first charges in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“We know from history in recent months that the president of the United States has strong reactions to public events. Even events that have been caused by his own actions,” Bharara told CNN’s Jake Tapper, explaining he expects Trump could react in two ways to charges potentially against an ally.
Bharara said the public should ask, “Is he sending a message of intimidation in some way through himself or his cohorts suggesting people should not be talking and people should keep their mouth shut.”
“And the second thing is whether he sends a message of reassurance,” he added.
Trump could look to pardon an ally or associate who faces charges, Bharara said, as he did with former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
A federal grand jury has approved the first charges in Mueller’s investigation, CNN reported Friday. Those charged could be taken into custody as soon as Monday, though it’s unclear what the charges are because they are sealed until then.
Shortly after the report that Mueller would bring charges, Trump tweeted a video containing assertions that Hillary Clinton may have colluded with Russia.
He also said Mueller could look to use any reaction from Trump as evidence as the investigation progresses.
Bharara served as a U.S. attorney in New York’s Southern District but was fired by Trump. Bharara has since become a vocal critic of the president. He was one of the 46 U.S. attorneys he fired after taking office.