The Trump Organization — the umbrella corporation that holds the interests of the Trump family, especially those of former President Donald Trump — has existed in some form since 1923.
It’s been involved in some controversies, particularly those related to the former president. And it’s faced financial difficulties. But the firm’s chief presence in the public mind has been in the spheres of politics and finance, not criminal law.
The times, they have a’changed, though. The man the left has wanted to convict more than Derek Chauvin no longer has the protections of the presidency — and Cyrus Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney who just happens to be a Democrat moving his way on up, has convened a grand jury to hear testimony about Trump’s company, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The panel, according to the newspaper, “is expected to decide whether to indict former President Donald Trump, other executives at his company or the business itself should prosecutors present the panel with criminal charges, according to two people familiar with the development.”
“The panel was convened recently and will sit three days a week for six months. It is likely to hear several matters — not just the Trump case — during the duration of its term, which is longer than a traditional New York state grand-jury assignment, these people said. Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. Generally, special grand juries such as this one are convened to participate in long-term matters rather than to hear evidence of crimes charged routinely.”
Vance’s investigation is more than two years old — and according to the Post, it’s wide-ranging.
“His investigators are scrutinizing Trump’s business practices before he was president, including whether the value of specific properties in the Trump Organization’s real estate portfolio were manipulated in a way that defrauded banks and insurance companies, and if any tax benefits were obtained illegally through unscrupulous asset valuation,” the Post reported.
Again, this is nothing anyone was concerned with in all the years prior — but now this is apparently big news and Vance is on the case. It all ties back to Michael Cohen, the former Trump lawyer whose ability to spin new stories in order to stay out off prison was impressive in its cravenness.
“Trump is facing two state-level investigations of his business practices in New York. Both appear to have begun with the same man: Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer and attack dog, who turned on Trump after pleading guilty to making hush-money payoffs on Trump’s behalf and lying to Congress,” the Post reported. (It’s interesting to note that The Post, a purportedly objective source, referred to Cohen in a straight-news article as an “attack dog” that “turned on Trump.” Democracy dies in darkness!)
I am not surprised by this at all and have been steadfast in saying the wheels of justice turn slowly but they nevertheless turn. No one is above the law!!! https://t.co/nk37b3jKKo@washingtonpost @Fahrenthold
— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) May 25, 2021
“Vance’s criminal investigation began in 2018, after Cohen pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the hush-money payoffs, made in the last days of the 2016 campaign to women who said they had affairs with Trump years earlier — claims the former president denies. Vance’s investigation soon expanded, as the district attorney sought to examine millions of pages of Trump’s tax records.”
Vance has been trying to get Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, to turn like Cohen. Meanwhile, Vance’s investigation has converged with an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a completely unbiased source who won election in 2018, in part, by calling Trump an “illegitimate president.”
On his webpage, Trump was unimpressed with the current investigation.
“This is a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history. It began the day I came down the escalator in Trump Tower, and it’s never stopped,” he wrote.
“They wasted two years and $48 million in taxpayer dollars on Mueller and Russia Russia Russia, Impeachment Hoax #1, Impeachment Hoax #2, and it continues to this day, with illegally leaked confidential information.”
And now there’s a new investigation. But as the Post pointed out, the result might not even be criminal charges. The Post reported that prosecutors, at least in the early stages of grand jury proceedings, “may use a grand jury’s power just to subpoena documents without offering charges for consideration.”
Regardless of the legal ramifications, the probe will almost certainly complicate any Trump attempt at the presidency in 2024. At least politically, the strategy has always been to tie Trump up with legal woes serious enough that he’s not a factor in the future.
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It remains to be seen whether Vance has an actual case — and if he does, Trump could be in trouble. If the case isn’t obvious, however, this becomes a political process — and Trump is already girding himself for that fight.
“No other President in history has had to put up with what I have had to, and on top of all that, I have done a great job for our Country, whether it’s taxes, regulations, our Military, Veterans, Space Force, our Borders, speedy creation of a great vaccine (said to be a miracle!), and protecting the Second Amendment,” Trump wrote.
“This is purely political, and an affront to the almost 75 million voters who supported me in the Presidential Election, and it’s being driven by highly partisan Democrat prosecutors.”
He went on to note that “New York City and State are suffering the highest crime rates in their history, and instead of going after murderers, drug dealers, human traffickers, and others, they come after Donald Trump.”
“Interesting that today a poll came out indicating I’m far in the lead for the Republican Presidential Primary and the General Election in 2024,” he added.
(It was unclear what specific poll Trump was referring to, though a poll released last week did show him in a strong position for a 2024 run.)
Interesting? That’s quite the understatement. Again — for all we know, Vance has a case against Trump. The same way Christopher Steele could have had a case against Trump or Robert Mueller could have had a case against Trump.
Or, like the two of them, Vance could have a legal cudgel that’s tangentially tied to a bit of “evidence.” We’ll certainly see which one it is, but I’m betting on the latter.
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