Joe Biden had warned that he did not want his presidency to be overshadowed by ongoing investigations into his predecessor Donald Trump. Biden said so to confidants shortly after the election victory. Many Democrats disagree — they believe Trump should be held accountable for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. Last week, the investigating committee of the House of Representatives made a step forward in this regard. Formally, it was determined that there was evidence of criminal offenses by Trump. This official interim report from the committee is not yet a referral to the Justice Department recommending a criminal investigation — but it has made it more likely.
Documents are said to show that Trump has repeatedly pressed to prevent Congress from certifying the election. According to the committee, it is likely that the former president, along with others, was pursuing a “corrupt plan” to impede the peaceful transfer of power. Republicans warned against recommending criminal investigations to the Justice Department. If Secretary Merrick Garland ultimately decides to open such a process, half the country will rightly consider it political justice, Indiana Republican Senator Mike Braun told The Hill magazine.
Possible investigations by the Justice Department are not Trump’s only legal difficulty. The former president has now been sued by politicians and police officers in civil lawsuits. Congressmen Eric Swalwell from California and Benni Thompson from Mississippi accuse him of instigating the January 6 violence. Several police officers sued Trump over the injuries they sustained while defending the Capitol.
Numerous other lawsuits against Trump
In Georgia, meanwhile, an investigation is underway into Trump’s attempts to influence the 2020 election there. There are also numerous other disputes. For example, Trump’s niece Mary is taking action against him, as is his former attorney Michael Cohen. Mary Trump sees herself cheated in an inheritance dispute, Cohen claims there are unpaid bills. The journalist E. Jean Carroll, who accuses Trump of rape, has filed a complaint for defamation. The former president responded to her accusation by saying Carroll was “not his type”.
In one of the most important proceedings, however, Trump can breathe a sigh of relief. In New York, he has little to fear from Manhattan’s new District Attorney, Alvin Bragg. After prosecutors collected evidence against the Trump Organization for three years, there is now no trial there. In February, Bragg announced that he would not initiate criminal proceedings against Trump. Shortly thereafter, two prosecutors left the team in protest: Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz resigned because they disagreed with the decision.
The New York investigation, which Bragg’s predecessor Cy Vance jr. started had focused on the business practices of the family company. The question was whether the Trumps had been making false statements about their own financial circumstances for years in order to dupe business partners, lenders and insurers. Ultimately, there were two factions in the district attorney’s office: the group that believed they had enough evidence for a criminal trial, and the opponents, who warned against it.
The value of Michael Cohen’s information is disputed
It was probably also crucial that there were no large-scale victims who had lost money through allegedly false information about Trump’s assets. That could have become a major weakness of an indictment. The prosecutors also lacked a whistleblower from the Trump organization. Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen testified that the former president had doctored financial information, but the value of his information is said to be internally disputed.
While a criminal trial will not take place for the time being, the investigation continued, as Bragg emphasized. The leadership of the investigative team was reassigned. However, the jury, which should officially meet until April, will not be presented with any new evidence for the time being – a victory for Trump. Meanwhile, the parallel civil litigation led by Attorney General Letitia James is continuing. And the numerous other legal disputes are likely to cost Trump a lot of money. Politically, however, he can still summarize them under the keyword “witch hunt” and thus use them to mobilize his supporters.
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