Trump’s efforts to escape criminal prosecution for retaining confidential papers were dealt a second legal blow that day, leaving him vulnerable to potential civil penalties aimed at the financial fortune on which his political mystique is based. Trump’s ability to avoid responsibility throughout his life is being put to the test like never before as investigations and evidence pile up against him. Despite the fact that Trump has not been formally accused of any wrongdoing, the legal and judicial systems he is so good at obfuscating and stalling are making significant progress.
On Wednesday, two major events collided with Trump’s legal teams, who were already facing many severe probes. State of New York Attorney General Letitia James has released a colossal 200-page civil lawsuit alleging that the Trump family enterprise was built on years of grift and self-enrichment by tricking lenders, insurers, and tax authorities and evading laws that apply to every American. James is suing to recover $250 million in ill-gotten gains and impose sanctions that will cripple the Trump Organization, forcing the former President and his family to leave the city where they earned their name. James did consult with the IRS and the DOJ, but she was unable to press criminal charges because the case was classified as civil. Trump has replied by vehemently denying any wrongdoing and claiming he is the victim of a “witch hunt.”
An appeals court has given the Justice Department a major victory in the case of the extremely secret material Donald Trump carried to his Mar-a-Lago club by allowing it to review classified documents discovered in a search by FBI agents last month. It was decided by three judges (two of whom Trump chose) that the public had a compelling interest in making sure Trump’s preservation of the material did not result in “exceptionally grave damage to the national security.” Considering Trump’s history of trying to stall investigations into him, he may try another legal trick, but time is running out and his options are narrowing to petitioning the US Supreme Court for an emergency stay.
Trump’s potential legal exposure now looks glaring in at least three different scenarios, including a Georgia investigation into his alleged attempt to rig the 2020 election in the crucial swing state. These two developments appear to have increased Trump’s possible legal vulnerability. On all accusations, the former president has denied wrongdoing The deepening legal storm for Trump raises the idea of a former president facing criminal proceedings and civil penalties that might endanger his fortune. Trump’s first political appeal is based on his reputation as a successful billionaire who earned fortune. If it’s revealed that his career is a house of cards founded on unlawful conduct, his narrative will take a knock, but it’s unlikely to disrupt his attraction to core voters.
Trump’s predicament, however, also coincided with the official announcement of the first fall hearing for the House select committee looking into the January 6, 2021 uprising, which will take place next week. The panel’s recommendation for criminal charges against the former president is still up in the air. His fraudulent claims of election fraud and the circumstances leading up to his mob’s attack on the US Capitol are already the subject of a separate grand jury investigation by the Justice Department. The most recent legal rebukes against Trump come as he thinks about a potential presidential run in 2024, which he has already said would be based on his allegation that Democrats are deliberately persecuting him. He has also already tacitly threatened violence if he is officially charged.
Every time Trump is threatened legally, the issue of whether he will pay a political price arises. A criminal inquiry into the existence of top-secret material, according to the former president Trump’s attorneys, has “spiraled out of hand.” They urged a court to uphold a decision that temporarily put the Justice Department’s investigation’s major components on hold on Monday. Years have been spent by the former president trying to bring down any institution that stands up to him, including the judiciary. He calls them out for being biased, dishonest, and tools of leftist persecution. Additionally, he singled out James and accused her of bigotry towards him. He now uses such demagoguery as a key component of his political brand. He tells crowds during rallies that he is ready to suffer for their sake.
The former President’s supporters are unlikely to turn against him. Trump’s popularity with general election voters, who ousted him from office in 2020, is already deteriorating, so any negative revelations about his behavior are unlikely to help. And as he mulls another bid for the White House, the pressure of yet another significant legal threat cannot help but be on his mind. Trump may now find it even more appealing that current presidents are protected from criminal prosecution. Furthermore, the former President would find it more challenging to assert that he is the victim of political persecution if he decides not to run in 2024.