Even as he holds rallies ahead of what will very likely be a 2024 run for the Presidency, Donald Trump appears to be increasingly concerned about investigations into him and his businesses. At his recent rally in Conroe, Texas, Trump returned to the subject again and again, trying desperately to cast the investigations as political persecution and, (apparently unaware of, or unconcerned with, the chilling echoes of his January 6th riot incitement), calling for nationwide protests if any of these investigations were to return indictments.
“If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protest we have ever had in Washington DC, in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt,” Trump told the crowd.
“For years, they’ve been going after my company, many years, using every trick in the book in an attempt to literally, if they can, put me in jail. They want to put me in jail,”
“They’re going after me without any protection of my rights by the Supreme Court or most other courts.”
But, exactly which prosecutor is Trump referring to here, and which investigation is likeliest to return a Trump indictment?
There are, (sadly!), so many investigations that it’s difficult to keep up. In fact, according to this list compiled by The Guardian, “Former president Donald Trump is facing a total of 19 legal actions – about half of which allege improper conduct during his presidency.”
Of these 19, 7 are related to Trump’s involvement in the January 6th riots at the Capitol (1 criminal investigation and 6 civil), 6 are investigations into his alleged financial misconduct (2 criminal, 4 civil), 2 are related to election interference (1 each criminal and civil), and then there are 4 others, all civil suits, alleging everything from sexual misconduct to allegations of inappropriate workplace retaliation. The most problematic for Trump among them seem to be the investigation in Georgia—looking into Trump’s attempt to coerce GA Attorney General Brad Raffensperger into “finding” 11,780 votes—and the investigation in New York into his and his company’s financial misconduct.
Yesterday’s, (2/14/22), major news on the New York investigation, broken by The New York Times, was that Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, had penned a letter to the Trump Organization on Feb. 9 stating that it could no longer stand behind almost a decade worth of annual financial statements it had prepared for Mr. Trump. These documents are at the center of New York’s investigation into Trump because there is suspicion that he inflated the value of his financial holdings within them, to secure loans for himself and his businesses at the best possible rates.
According to the Times, the Mazars letter “instructed the Trump Organization to essentially retract the documents, known as statements of financial condition, from 2011 to 2020. In the letter, Mazars noted that the firm had not “as a whole” found material discrepancies between the information the Trump Organization provided and the actual value of Mr. Trump’s assets. But given what it called “the totality of circumstances,” the letter directed the Trump Organization to notify anyone who received the statements that they should no longer rely on them.”
Problematic, to be sure.
But it may well be the Georgia investigation which bears the most criminal fruit against Trump. In this excellent piece from The Atlantic breaking down the individual Georgia statutes Trump appears to have been in violation of, David French writes that “Perhaps the best guide to why [Trump’s behavior may constitute criminality] is a Brookings Institution report, published in October, that assessed Trump’s actions in light of Georgia criminal law. Among the seven lawyers and scholars who wrote the report was Gwen Keyes Fleming, an experienced former Georgia prosecutor and the former DeKalb County district attorney. The report concluded that “Trump’s post-election conduct in Georgia leaves him at substantial risk of possible state charges predicated on multiple crimes.” The crimes include “criminal solicitation to commit election fraud” and “conspiracy to commit election fraud,” among others.”
Whether any of the 19 open investigations into Trump will lead to charges remains to be seen. But as Trump’s belligerent and bellicose statements about them at his rallies ratchet up, they seem like ever more conclusive proof that the Former President sees these investigations as legitimate threats, and is taking them seriously.