Here’s a fun read from The New York Times to start your weekend: “As Soon as Trump Leaves Office, He Faces Greater Risk of Prosecution.” Just savor that headline and this, the subhead: “The president is more vulnerable than ever to an investigation into his business practices and taxes.” Picture Donald Trump seeing that headline today, while having his ass handed to him over and over again in the courts as his ridiculous election lawsuits continual to fail.
As of Jan. 20, he no longer has the protection of the presidency, and hanging over him is “a pending grand jury investigation by the Manhattan district attorney into the president’s family business and its practices, as well as his taxes.” That’s the only known active criminal investigation into his dealing. It’s been put on hold with a suit from Trump to have his records blocked from a subpoena, now for the second time before the U.S. Supreme Court. This actually puts the Supreme Court in kind of a interesting position. They can refuse to give Trump any help in overturning the election, but then protect him from this probe. Don’t think that hasn’t occurred to any of them.
But that’s not to say Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance quits looking for Trump crimes. “Vance has been the wild card here,” law professor Stephen Vladeck told the Times. “And there is very little that even a new administration that wants to let bygones be bygones could do formally to stop him.” If he finds crimes, “Trump could face a reckoning with law enforcement — further inflaming political tensions and raising the startling specter of a criminal conviction, or even prison, for a former president.” Just relish that thought for a bit.
And then think about the next part: Trump’s pardon power does not extend to state crimes, like Vance is investigating. Sure, he can pardon his whole family, resign, and have Vice President Mike Pence pardon him for any and all past and future federal crimes—also don’t think that hasn’t been schemed—but he’s still vulnerable in New York. Legal observers believe that if Vance finds criminal activity, he’ll prosecute, regardless of politics and Trump’s “stature” as a former president. Not doing so “would put the president above the law,” said Anne Milgram, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan and Democratic attorney general in New Jersey, the wrong message for a sworn defender of the rule of law to send.
While you’re thinking about all that, remember there’s also a civil fraud investigation into Trump’s businesses being conducted by New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ office. That’s not going away either.
Have a good weekend!