“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth even has a chance to get its pants on.” – Winston Churchill
Ex-President Donald Trump has been keeping a low profile at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida with a wet finger in the air trying to decipher how the winds are blowing on his legal and political fortunes.
In New York, US Attorney Cy Vance’s office is moving quickly toward what legal watchers expect to be a series of bank and tax fraud charges. Legal teams are digging through the million pages of tax and banking documents released after years of Trump appeals, now that the Supreme Court has ordered them released.
Other Vance teams are interviewing Trump’s high level business confidants, not the least of which is Trump’s accountant, Allen Weisselberg, who Donald inherited from his father.
Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, already convicted, is a main cooperating witness who has been brought to Cy Vance’s offices many times to help prosecutors connect the dots of many of Trump’s operations to speed up the process of finding the needed material and to bring the most serious charges.
The strategy appears to get them to testify against Trump to get lighter sentences for themselves and even their family members who also worked in the Trump organization.
“The next phase is identifying targets” for subpoenas and testimony, said one person familiar with the case…. Vance’s investigators need insiders who can provide the narrative behind any conflicting numbers on Trump’s financial records and testify to Trump’s knowledge and intent, said former prosecutors of white-collar fraud cases.
“Even in the most heavily document-dependent case, you need witnesses to tell the story,” said Reed Brodsky, a longtime white-collar defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor.
Possible Federal Racketeering charges for Trump associates and family
Cy Vance has brought in top experienced prosecutors of complex financial crimes, like Mark Pomerantz, who has extensive organized crime prosecution and defense experience. This hints at possible RICO charges for running an ongoing criminal enterprise, as it pulls in everyone involved in the organization from top to bottom.
For Mr. Weisselberg, chief financial officer for all Trump operations, this includes his son Barry, and for Trump, his two sons and possibly his daughter. Dropping charges against children can be used to get a guilty plea from the parents.
In Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis has two federal grand juries taking testimony on Trump’s attempts to overthrow the Biden victory there. After three recounts, one of them a paper ballot count, Trump is still insisting he won the state by 400,000 votes, claims for which he never offered proof, just charges.
Like Cy Vance, DA Willis has also hired extra prosecutor manpower for her office, including a federal racketeering expert. This indicates that Willis is looking to cast a big net to catch anyone from the Trump team working as a group to subvert the election, people like attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.
Trump lawyers and advisors may be exposed to charges
Both Giuliani and Powell are being sued for defamation for $1.3 billion dollars. Ms. Powell, in a recent filing in her defense in a Michigan court stated that her claims were so outlandish that no reasonable person could have taken them seriously. The Michigan Attorney General thanked her for her admissions.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are still pursuing whether Giuliani violated federal law in his Ukraine dealings. As for Trump, he was still claiming at the CPAC convention last month that Michigan and Pennsylvania had more votes cast than they have people voting, as part of his continuing story that the election was stolen from him.
Personal lawsuits have been filed against Trump by Rep Eric Swalwell (D-Calif,) and another by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), brought under an old Klu Klux Klan statute regarding blocking public officials from performing their duties, which is what Trump’s rioters were doing while trying to stop the election certification.
He seems to have waited for the Capitol insurrection dust to settle, which it has, with media moving on to new stories and scandals. This week sees the big Republican donors headed to Mar a Lago, as Trump begin filling up his financial election coffers for his Save America Super Pac.
At the same time, he is rekindling his small donor email list and setting up a new online store for Trump political memorabilia, which raised him a lot of money in the last election cycle. But he has had a bump in the road with a fundraising scandal from last autumn.
When Trump was running out of cash, his online operation rigged a system where donators were tricked into recurring weekly donations, with some having their checking accounts cleaned out before they grasped what was happening. Yes, some of the Trump people were a bit slow.
Trump has laughed it off as no big deal, as news reports said that $120 million had been refunded from his PAC or through the Republican Party.
Save America PAC is his new funding vehicle, and he has angered the Republican party donation solicitation by asking their money be sent to him, so he will use it to support only pro-Trump candidates.
Once again, he is demanding loyalty from his followers to him only, not the Republican party, nor to the country. This stance is unprecedented from a former US president, as he seems to want to separate himself from all other presidents. He wants followers loyal to him so he can control the Republican Party from Mar a Lago.
Plans have emerged to set up his own social media platform, one that cannot be shut down by a third party. We don’t know how he is going to do these, as general social media upstarts have to use the hardware and software of the giants.
It makes sense that he wants direct access to the 70 million that voted for him. If he can get $10 or $20 a month from them, he can be rolling in cash to easily pay his lawyers, despite his past record of stiffing them if he wants and making them sue to get paid.
For additional media backup, expect to see him on Fox News. His ex-press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and daughter-in-law Lara Trump have already been hired, and none other than former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is going to be a special commentator. So the Trump gang is going to be highly visible to keep their followers riled up. The marriage of politics and media is clear to see on the right.
Trump empire might collapse under all of his bank debt and court cases
But it will also do something much more important for him. Trump knows he is facing huge financial challenges and may need to reach out to his followers for funding to stay in the game. He also knows that the more Congressmen he has under his control, the more political leverage he will have to fight back against all of the legal cases against him and his associates.
If he could run again and be elected in 2024, he might have the immunity he so dearly misses having now.
Jim W. Dean, managing editor for Veterans Today, producer/host of Heritage TV Atlanta, specially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.