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Once Out Of Office, Trump Faces Significant Legal Jeopardy
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Nov 21, 2020 11:04:57   #
GoCubs Loc: Earth
 
https://www.npr.org/2020/11/20/937044524/once-out-of-office-trump-faces-significant-legal-peril

Of all the perks of being president, Donald Trump may soon miss most the legal protection that it affords.

For four years, Trump has benefited from the de facto immunity from prosecution that all presidents enjoy while in office. But that cloak will pass to Joe Biden when he's sworn in on Jan. 20, leaving Trump out in the legal cold.

"Clearly, the president enjoyed immunity when he was in office," said Danya Perry, a former state and federal prosecutor in New York. "And it's possible, as a matter of law, that he could be indicted on Jan. 21."

There's no indication that an indictment is imminent, and it's possible that Trump could emerge entirely unscathed. But there's also no doubt that once he's out of office, he'll be facing a higher level of legal jeopardy than he has in years.

"His legal risks increase immeasurably come Jan. 21, both on the civil and the criminal side," Perry said.

Potential federal liability

The most developed case that could ensnare Trump might be out of the Southern District of New York. It stems from the federal prosecution against Michael Cohen, Trump's onetime personal attorney and fixer.

Cohen pleaded guilty to a range of crimes, including arranging illegal hush money payments to keep women silent during the 2016 campaign about extramarital affairs they say they had with Trump before he was president. Trump has denied the allegations.

Cohen has said he acted at the direction of and in coordination with Trump. Prosecutors, meanwhile, referred to the president in court papers as "Individual 1."

It is Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted. So although it's possible for a president to break the law before or during his time in office, prosecutors' inability to seek an indictment effectively means he can't be accused, tried or punished while still in office.

Cohen's wrongdoing, which prosecutors tied to Trump without naming him, raises the question as to whether Trump might face charges of his own.

"Ordinarily, had the target not been a sitting president with immunity, I think 'Individual 1,' as he's referred to, very likely would have been prosecuted along with his aider and abettor, Michael Cohen," Perry said.

Uncharted waters

There could be significant complications to pursuing such a case, however.

For one, prosecuting a former president would be politically fraught, particularly in a country as divided as this one. The decision on whether to do so at the federal level will fall to the new administration.

"It comes down to a political calculation," said Kim Wehle, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

"And the understanding is President-elect Biden has already signaled he doesn't have an appetite for that, which makes sense given he has a lot of political capital that needs to be used on critical issues like the pandemic, like climate change, like the economy."

Biden has indeed signaled his reluctance to pursue a case against his predecessor. In August, Biden said he'd leave the decision to the Justice Department and the attorney general, but he suggested pursuing charges might do more damage than good.

"I think it is a very, very unusual thing and probably not very — how can I say it? — good for democracy to be talking about prosecuting former presidents," Biden said.

There's also the possibility that Trump could attempt to pardon himself before leaving office. The president has asserted he has that power but said in the past he didn't feel he needed to use it because he argues he hasn't broken any law.

An attempt at a self-pardon would be an unprecedented move and could very well face legal challenges.

The city and state of New York

What is clear about Trump's pardon power, however, is that it does not extend to crimes at the state level. And that could prove problematic for Trump in his former hometown.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has an active criminal investigation into Trump and his businesses. The exact contours of the probe are not clear, but court papers suggest he's investigating possible insurance or financial fraud.

"That looks like it's the most likely place where he could have some criminal liability around taxes, for example," Wehle said.

The case has been tied up for months as Trump fights a grand jury subpoena that Vance issued to the president's personal accounting firm. Vance's office is seeking eight years of Trump's tax returns and financial records.

The president fought the subpoena all the way to the Supreme Court last summer and lost, although the high court left the door open for him to raise other legal challenges.

Trump did so, arguing that the subpoena was overly broad and politically motivated. Vance rejected those claims, and lower courts agreed with the district attorney's office. Trump's attorneys are now asking the Supreme Court to block the subpoena.

Wehle said the patience Vance's team has shown in litigating its subpoena case suggests the probe isn't simply political — a Democratic city official in New York playing to the crowd there.

"It's hard to imagine that Cyrus Vance would have put this kind of effort into investigating Donald Trump while he was president if he was just going to drop that investigation and anything that could come out of that when he is a private citizen like anyone else," Wehle said.

The Vance case is not the only legal trouble brewing in New York.

The state attorney general, Letitia James, is conducting a civil investigation into the Trump businesses. James is looking into whether the Trump Organization improperly inflated the value of its assets for loan or insurance purposes, and then deflated the value for tax purposes.

The president's son, Eric Trump, reportedly was deposed under oath last month as part of the probe.

While James' investigation is a civil one, it could cross over to the criminal side depending on what investigators uncover.

According to Perry, the former New York prosecutor, both of the probes could be relatively straightforward because they are likely based heavily on documents.

"If you're looking at several assets, for example, and different values are attributed to them, one in a tax return and another in a bank loan document, that might be relatively simple," she said. "They do seem to be very paper based."

Cohen alleged in congressional testimony that Trump's businesses engaged in such practices.

But there are significant challenges in criminal tax cases, Perry said, because returns for a sprawling business can be complicated, and prosecutors have to prove that people involved willfully broke the law.

"To prove that the taxpayer here, Mr. Trump himself, has committed intentional, willful tax fraud can be difficult, and it doesn't necessarily fly off the pages of the tax returns," Perry said. "A cooperating witness is always very helpful for that."

It isn't clear whether Cohen or other sometime aides of Trump might be in a position to appear in a criminal case and testify as to the boss's actions or intentions.

And Trump's legal jeopardy does not end there.

He also faces defamation lawsuits filed by two women who say he sexually assaulted them — allegations he denies. While Trump doesn't face criminal liability in those suits, he does face potential damage to his reputation and financial repercussions.

In all, it adds up to a legally perilous — and potentially expensive — post-presidency.

"It's a potential avalanche," Wehle said. "But this is, again, a man that is very used to using the legal system to his advantage."

| Reply
Nov 21, 2020 11:17:39   #
tbutkovich
 
Oh Really! You’re not done with him yet! Why, because in four years he’ll wipe the floors with you lib’s

You’re a real Dumb $chitt if you believe he’ll simply go away! Stay tuned!

| Reply
Nov 21, 2020 11:26:49   #
kemmer
 
tbutkovich wrote:
Oh Really! Your not done with him yet! Why, because in four years he’ll wipe the floors with you lib’s

You’re a real Dumb $chitt if you believe he’ll simply go away! Stay tuned!

The Southern District of NY can't wait to get its hands on Trump. If all goes well, in 2024 Trump will either be in jail or mired in continuing legal battles and in no position to be dabbling in politics.

| Reply
Nov 21, 2020 11:30:06   #
Airforceone
 
GoCubs wrote:
https://www.npr.org/2020/11/20/937044524/once-out-of-office-trump-faces-significant-legal-peril

Of all the perks of being president, Donald Trump may soon miss most the legal protection that it affords.

For four years, Trump has benefited from the de facto immunity from prosecution that all presidents enjoy while in office. But that cloak will pass to Joe Biden when he's sworn in on Jan. 20, leaving Trump out in the legal cold.

"Clearly, the president enjoyed immunity when he was in office," said Danya Perry, a former state and federal prosecutor in New York. "And it's possible, as a matter of law, that he could be indicted on Jan. 21."

There's no indication that an indictment is imminent, and it's possible that Trump could emerge entirely unscathed. But there's also no doubt that once he's out of office, he'll be facing a higher level of legal jeopardy than he has in years.

"His legal risks increase immeasurably come Jan. 21, both on the civil and the criminal side," Perry said.

Potential federal liability

The most developed case that could ensnare Trump might be out of the Southern District of New York. It stems from the federal prosecution against Michael Cohen, Trump's onetime personal attorney and fixer.

Cohen pleaded guilty to a range of crimes, including arranging illegal hush money payments to keep women silent during the 2016 campaign about extramarital affairs they say they had with Trump before he was president. Trump has denied the allegations.

Cohen has said he acted at the direction of and in coordination with Trump. Prosecutors, meanwhile, referred to the president in court papers as "Individual 1."

It is Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted. So although it's possible for a president to break the law before or during his time in office, prosecutors' inability to seek an indictment effectively means he can't be accused, tried or punished while still in office.

Cohen's wrongdoing, which prosecutors tied to Trump without naming him, raises the question as to whether Trump might face charges of his own.

"Ordinarily, had the target not been a sitting president with immunity, I think 'Individual 1,' as he's referred to, very likely would have been prosecuted along with his aider and abettor, Michael Cohen," Perry said.

Uncharted waters

There could be significant complications to pursuing such a case, however.

For one, prosecuting a former president would be politically fraught, particularly in a country as divided as this one. The decision on whether to do so at the federal level will fall to the new administration.

"It comes down to a political calculation," said Kim Wehle, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

"And the understanding is President-elect Biden has already signaled he doesn't have an appetite for that, which makes sense given he has a lot of political capital that needs to be used on critical issues like the pandemic, like climate change, like the economy."

Biden has indeed signaled his reluctance to pursue a case against his predecessor. In August, Biden said he'd leave the decision to the Justice Department and the attorney general, but he suggested pursuing charges might do more damage than good.

"I think it is a very, very unusual thing and probably not very — how can I say it? — good for democracy to be talking about prosecuting former presidents," Biden said.

There's also the possibility that Trump could attempt to pardon himself before leaving office. The president has asserted he has that power but said in the past he didn't feel he needed to use it because he argues he hasn't broken any law.

An attempt at a self-pardon would be an unprecedented move and could very well face legal challenges.

The city and state of New York

What is clear about Trump's pardon power, however, is that it does not extend to crimes at the state level. And that could prove problematic for Trump in his former hometown.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has an active criminal investigation into Trump and his businesses. The exact contours of the probe are not clear, but court papers suggest he's investigating possible insurance or financial fraud.

"That looks like it's the most likely place where he could have some criminal liability around taxes, for example," Wehle said.

The case has been tied up for months as Trump fights a grand jury subpoena that Vance issued to the president's personal accounting firm. Vance's office is seeking eight years of Trump's tax returns and financial records.

The president fought the subpoena all the way to the Supreme Court last summer and lost, although the high court left the door open for him to raise other legal challenges.

Trump did so, arguing that the subpoena was overly broad and politically motivated. Vance rejected those claims, and lower courts agreed with the district attorney's office. Trump's attorneys are now asking the Supreme Court to block the subpoena.

Wehle said the patience Vance's team has shown in litigating its subpoena case suggests the probe isn't simply political — a Democratic city official in New York playing to the crowd there.

"It's hard to imagine that Cyrus Vance would have put this kind of effort into investigating Donald Trump while he was president if he was just going to drop that investigation and anything that could come out of that when he is a private citizen like anyone else," Wehle said.

The Vance case is not the only legal trouble brewing in New York.

The state attorney general, Letitia James, is conducting a civil investigation into the Trump businesses. James is looking into whether the Trump Organization improperly inflated the value of its assets for loan or insurance purposes, and then deflated the value for tax purposes.

The president's son, Eric Trump, reportedly was deposed under oath last month as part of the probe.

While James' investigation is a civil one, it could cross over to the criminal side depending on what investigators uncover.

According to Perry, the former New York prosecutor, both of the probes could be relatively straightforward because they are likely based heavily on documents.

"If you're looking at several assets, for example, and different values are attributed to them, one in a tax return and another in a bank loan document, that might be relatively simple," she said. "They do seem to be very paper based."

Cohen alleged in congressional testimony that Trump's businesses engaged in such practices.

But there are significant challenges in criminal tax cases, Perry said, because returns for a sprawling business can be complicated, and prosecutors have to prove that people involved willfully broke the law.

"To prove that the taxpayer here, Mr. Trump himself, has committed intentional, willful tax fraud can be difficult, and it doesn't necessarily fly off the pages of the tax returns," Perry said. "A cooperating witness is always very helpful for that."

It isn't clear whether Cohen or other sometime aides of Trump might be in a position to appear in a criminal case and testify as to the boss's actions or intentions.

And Trump's legal jeopardy does not end there.

He also faces defamation lawsuits filed by two women who say he sexually assaulted them — allegations he denies. While Trump doesn't face criminal liability in those suits, he does face potential damage to his reputation and financial repercussions.

In all, it adds up to a legally perilous — and potentially expensive — post-presidency.

"It's a potential avalanche," Wehle said. "But this is, again, a man that is very used to using the legal system to his advantage."
https://www.npr.org/2020/11/20/937044524/once-out-... (show quote)


Trump will be facing litigation for the rest of his life. When he no longer has the power of the Oval Office his advisors and donors will run from him like he still has coronavirus. Trump knows that his wealth is gone, his power of the Oval Office is gone, and the Trump brand will be garbage. He is looking at jail time along with his family all created by him.
Not to mention he has to come up with over $100 million in loans over 2 years and another 800 million over 4 years.
Trump will not be able to afford his massive legal fees and legitimate lawyer will represent him because he doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut and he is a pathological liar.

Trump will now spend his last 2 months trying to bribe foreign adversary on this nations national security for money. He has no choice. He is also trying to figure out how he can pardon himself without any admission of guilt. But he can’t because he has not been indicted so what does he pardon himself for.

When Biden takes office there will be massive investigations into Trump and his cabinet members along with his White House cronies. These investigations have to go forward in order to prevent this from happening again. These people have to be held accountable.

When the investigations into Trump and his family start his advisors will all start to sing like birds

| Reply
Nov 21, 2020 11:32:56   #
tbutkovich
 
Seriously Air Farce One! Another Investigation!

| Reply
Nov 21, 2020 11:34:28   #
tbutkovich
 
The Cubs Will Lose, Go White Sox!

| Reply
Nov 21, 2020 11:42:12   #
kemmer
 
Airforceone wrote:

When the investigations into Trump and his family start his advisors will all start to sing like birds

This due to the common knowledge that Trump is loyal to NO ONE but himself, and has made zero effort in 4 years to establish a relationship with anyone who might be able to help him. Whenever anyone is of no more use to Trump, they're gone.

| Reply
Nov 21, 2020 11:46:44   #
Airforceone
 
tbutkovich wrote:
Seriously Air Farce One! Another Investigation!


Another investigation the prior investigation they did not investigate Trump or his family. The corruption in that Oval Office for the last 4 years was massive. You think your last republicans such as Reagan and Nixon were corrupt wait till you see what comes out of the Trump administration.

| Reply
Nov 21, 2020 12:00:00   #
Liberty Tree
 
kemmer wrote:
The Southern District of NY can't wait to get its hands on Trump. If all goes well, in 2024 Trump will either be in jail or mired in continuing legal battles and in no position to be dabbling in politics.


A partisan Democrat hack DA who picks a partisan hack grand jury. This is nothing new for Democrats. Nothing to brag about. All Marxists do the same.

| Reply
Nov 21, 2020 12:13:34   #
kemmer
 
Liberty Tree wrote:
A partisan Democrat hack DA who picks a partisan hack grand jury. This is nothing new for Democrats. Nothing to brag about. All Marxists do the same.

Even partisans have trouble with money laundering, tax fraud, lying to Congress, and all kinds of other neat stuff Trump has been involved in for 30 years. Sadly, Trump also is in debt to the tune of $420 million, and after his defeat, his "brand" is trash.

| Reply
Nov 21, 2020 12:22:17   #
tbutkovich
 
kemmer wrote:
Even partisans have trouble with money laundering, tax fraud, lying to Congress, and all kinds of other neat stuff Trump has been involved in for 30 years. Sadly, Trump also is in debt to the tune of $420 million, and after his defeat, his "brand" is trash.


I know 70 million voters who will buy his Trump coffee cups and MAGA hats not to mention sweatshirts and T- shirts. He will survive.

He may even launch civil lawsuits against those who slandered him and undermined his presidency. Watch out Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clintonand their supporters in the Federal agencies. He will get the last laugh!

| Reply
Nov 21, 2020 12:55:59   #
tbutkovich
 
Yes, Trump’s lawyers will confiscate their homes in the Hampton’s, Martha’s Vineyards and Rehoboth Beach, and they will be sent to jail in GITMO! Such Sweet Justice!

| Reply
Nov 21, 2020 13:37:29   #
tbutkovich
 
He has a legal team that will know where all the dead bodies lie in the Democrats sinister plots. He will assemble his team of lawyers including Giuliani, Durham, Barr, Powell, Baird, Starr, Lin Wood and more to take on the Democrat Criminals, Biden, Obama, Clinton, Comey, Stroczk and many more. He will prevail! Justice will be served!

| Reply
Nov 21, 2020 14:12:19   #
kemmer
 
tbutkovich wrote:
I know 70 million voters who will buy his Trump coffee cups and MAGA hats not to mention sweatshirts and T- shirts.

Rigbt. Someday they'll be collectors items--like swastika armbands.

| Reply
Nov 21, 2020 14:17:16   #
kemmer
 
tbutkovich wrote:
He has a legal team that will know where all the dead bodies lie in the Democrats sinister plots. He will assemble his team of lawyers including Giuliani, Durham, Barr, Powell, Baird, Starr, Lin Wood and more to take on the Democrat Criminals, Biden, Obama, Clinton, Comey, Stroczk and many more. He will prevail! Justice will be served!

Giuliani is a joke. Barr will git while the gittin's good. Durham thinks Trump is a loon. Anyway, Trump has serious legal problems of his own.

| Reply
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