Several cases are under active investigation, both at the federal and state level, but Trump himself has not been charged or indicted. Nor does it mean he ever will be. No charges have ever been brought against a former president, and in the United States it is customary not to take action that could be seen to influence upcoming elections. The United States is holding so-called mid-term elections in November this year. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for election, as are 34 of 100 Senate seats.
Vox has made a list of the four major active investigations related to Donald Trump. The website has requested a comment from the ex-president’s team on the investigations, but did not receive a reply.
These are the investigations:
1: Justice Department investigation into Mar-a-Lago documents
Earlier this summer, the FBI searched Trump’s property Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
The Justice Department is now investigating the retention of top secret material and other classified documents after Trump left the White House. The FBI says it found more than 11,000 documents there, including 100 that were marked classified. The FBI has not released details about the contents, but according to The Washington Post, the documents must have contained information about another country’s nuclear arsenal.
The ex-president is now being investigated for possible breaches of the Espionage Act, and is accused of having knowingly and willfully withheld information about national security. Before the search, the authorities must have tried to get all the documents back.
Trump denies that he has done anything illegal.
A court order ordering Justice Department investigators to wait for an independent investigator to review them first, as Trump wanted, was set aside Wednesday. The decision by a federal appeals court thus means that the Justice Department can continue to review the documents. In the decision, the appeal court points out, among other things, that Trump did not present evidence that he has declassified the around 100 documents that were found on the property, as he himself has claimed, writes NTB.
The matter took yet another turn on Thursday. In an interview on the former favorite channel Fox News, Trump was asked what steps he had taken to declassify the documents.
– Different people say different things, but as far as I understand it, if you are the president of the United States, you can step down just by saying it’s stepped down, or just by thinking about it, Trump said.
He claimed that there does not necessarily have to be a process to do so, writes The Guardian. Trump went on to say that by the time he left the White House, the documents had been declassified.
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2: The Ministry of Justice’s investigation into the congress storming on 6 January
The second federal investigation in which Trump is the subject concerns the storming of Congress on January 6, 2021. Thousands of Trump supporters stormed Congress on the same day that the elected representatives gathered to approve the election results. Earlier in the day, Trump held a public meeting in Washington DC, and in a speech he repeated, among other things, the undocumented and refuted allegations of electoral fraud in the presidential election, and he asked his supporters to go towards the congress building.
Several of them listened to him. Around an hour and a half later, an estimated 2,000 protesters managed to get into the buildings.
So far, at least 830 people have been prosecuted after the storming. The Ministry of Justice continues with the investigation, but it is still uncertain whether the investigation will deal with Trump’s role in the whole thing, and if so they are approaching an indictment, writes Vox.
The House of Representatives has carried out its own investigation into the storming, and the so-called 6 January committee has received a lot of attention. They have subpoenaed a number of Trump’s close associates and supporters. Several of Trump’s closest associates have refused to explain themselves.
Dagsavisen wrote this summer that the committee investigating the riots believes the Ministry of Justice has already found enough evidence to prosecute Trump. The former president could possibly be prosecuted for illegally trying to stay in power.
There is overlap between the two investigations: federal investigators have requested the same archival documents about the Trump administration that the January 6 committee has already obtained.
A judge has previously said that Trump has probably broken two laws: one is about obstructing the official task of Congress, the other is that it is a crime to conspire to defraud the state. The latter involves two or more people working together to undermine core functions of the state apparatus, according to the website Grid. The maximum penalty for breaching the first law is 20 years, the second five.
If the Justice Department ultimately indicts Trump, he will be entitled to a jury trial.
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3: Investigation of Election Conduct in Georgia
Judges in the state of Georgia agreed in January to empanel a grand jury in the investigation into whether Trump and several other people tried to influence the election. The grand jury will help decide whether the former president and several others broke the law when they tried to pressure politicians in Georgia to annul Joe Biden’s victory in the state in last year’s presidential election, according to NTB.
The ongoing investigation also targets a close Trump associate, the lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani was central to the attempt to override Joe Biden’s election victory.
However, he is not the only one in Trump’s inner circle to be investigated in Georgia. In July, Senator Lindsey Graham was subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury. Among other things, the investigation wants answers in connection with two telephone conversations between Graham and Georgia’s administration minister, Republican Brad Raffensperger.
If Giuliani, Graham or others are eventually indicted or convicted in Georgia, it is a question of whether Trump will also be brought in.
Trump also called Raffensperger and, as is known, wanted the state to “find” votes, so that Trump could run away with the victory in the presidential election in the state and thus continue as president of the United States. Raffensperger refused to do that. Trump himself denies having done anything wrong.
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4: New York’s lawsuit against Trump and the children
There are two separate investigations underway in New York targeting the Trump Organization and associated companies. One is a three-year civil investigation into Trump and his business operations.
This week, New York Attorney General Letitia James sued the former president and three of his children for fraud. There is no question of a criminal charge, according to The New York Times. James wants to prevent Trump from being able to do business in New York state again. She also demands that Trump pay $250 million in fines. The lawsuit is also aimed at the ex-president’s children Ivanka, Eric and Donald Trump junior, writes NTB.
Trump is accused, among other things, of having provided false information about the size of his fortune in order to unjustly enrich himself. According to James, part of the purpose was to pay lower taxes. James further claims that the investigation has uncovered possible offenses in the form of falsifying business documents, issuing false accounts, insurance fraud and bank fraud.
Information about this is forwarded to the federal prosecutor’s office. This may mean that this investigation is also lifted to the federal level.
One of Trump’s lawyers, Alina Habba, has denied that the Trump family has done anything wrong and claims the lawsuit is politically motivated. The ex-president himself has called the lawsuit “another witch hunt”.
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