Investigations on Former President Trump
As Former President Donald Trump weighs his bid for a third presidential run, he faces numerous investigations and lawsuits that could potentially end in criminal charges or settlements. Their focuses range from his businesses and tax returns to his activity after losing the election. The consequences of these searches are unclear; however, they could have a substantial impact on future elections.
After the January 6th attack on the capitol, the House of Representatives established a select committee to examine the role that Trump and his allies played in the insurrection. This investigation is ongoing, and over 870 people have already faced charges. While the committee itself cannot bring criminal charges forward, it can refer its decisions to United States Attorney General, Merrick Garland, who can prosecute those involved on behalf of the Department of Justice. In this investigation, they also discovered that Trump raised 250 million dollars from his supporters in order to pay for legal funds to overturn the 2020 presidential defense fund. This fund was never actually created and the act of misleading campaign donors could end with wire fraud charges for Trump and his allies. Led by Fulton County District Attorney, Fani Willis, the Georgia Criminal Inquiry is another investigation dedicated to determining whether Trump violated the law in his attempt to overturn Georgia’s election results. It is primarily focused on Trump's phone call with Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, during which he asked for Raffensperger to change the vote total.
An unrelated charge Trump is facing is whether his financial statements reflect a pattern of fraud. The fate of the Manhattan Criminal Case investigation has been uncertain, as two of the lead lawyers quit after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg told them they would not move forward with criminal charges for Trump. However, Trump is also facing a civil investigation in the state of New York about misleading tax authorities on behalf of his business. Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump have both recently testified, and on August 10th, Donald Trump came in and refused to answer over 440 times during his questioning, citing his right under the fifth amendment to not have to testify against himself. In response to the criminal probe into the Trump Organization's finances, Trump called it a "continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History."
Most notable of all of these investigations is the Department of Justice’s August search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and home. In February, the National Archives and Records Administration received 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago. These documents, kept by Trump, included communication with North Korean Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un, and a letter from former president Barack Obama. Keeping these documents violates The Presidential Records Act of 1978, which requires that all presidential records remain in the archives. Then, on August 8th, around 30 federal agents raided Mar-a-Lago and found 20 boxes, which included 11 sets of classified records. In the warrant, three potential crimes are named: misuse of national defense information, obstruction of justice by destroying records connected to a federal investigation and concealing protected federal documents. The last charge holds significant interest, as anyone convicted is disqualified from holding office in the future.
All of these investigations, especially the Mar-a-Lago search, have received much scrutiny across both parties, generating many questions of legality and national security. The quantity and severity of the cases are unprecedented. More details regarding these investigations are sure to emerge within the coming weeks.