Trump Criminal Investigations: Where Are We Now?

The biggest clue came on Tuesday, when the Washington Post reported that New York state prosecutors have called a special grand jury as part of a multi-year investigation into possible financial wrongdoing by the Trump Organization, the former president himself and his family.

There’s also the Atlanta-based investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the Georgia election results, and the high-profile investigation into the U.S. Capitol insurgency, which could entail Trump and his allies.

Trump denies any wrongdoing and says the investigations are politically motivated. Some of the investigations are overseen by Democratic officials, although they claim to follow the law.

Here is a breakdown of the situation in the Trump inquiries.

New York State Financial Investigations

What is happening? Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been investigating potential financial crimes for the Trump Organization since 2018. Prosecutors obtained millions of pages of documents, including Trump’s tax returns and bank statements, earlier this year after a massive legal battle. There would now be a grand jury, and investigators are pressuring some of Trump’s allies to cooperate.
What could be the next step? The grand jury may be presented with witnesses and may be asked to approve criminal charges against Trump, his company, his top executives and his family. Grand juries are secret and the process can take a long time. But the probe is clearly growing. Just last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office’s civilian investigation into the Trump organization had turned into a criminal investigation – and that she was working with Vance.

Attempts to cancel elections in Georgia

What is happening? Atlanta prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into Trump’s clumsy efforts to pressure Georgian officials to overturn the 2020 election results. The state investigation is being led by the county prosecutor of Fulton, Fani Willis, who served on a grand jury in March. She also sent a letter to potential witnesses asking them to save documents and cooperate with the investigation.
What could be the next step? The subpoenas are likely the next phase, and they would likely be sent to some of the GOP state officials Trump has tried to lobby. But Willis’ office is overdue and the investigation has progressed slowly so far. It is not known when these summons will be issued. And that would only be a first step towards building a file.

January 6 Capitol Uprising in Washington

What is happening? The Justice Department is overseeing the federal investigation into the insurgency and has already indicted nearly 450 of the suspected rioters. Separately, DC Attorney General Karl Racine said he was investigating whether they could indict Trump under DC’s law of incitement to violence, although this is only a misdemeanor and let legal experts be skeptical.
What could be the next step? At the start of the Justice Department’s investigation, senior officials refused to rule out an investigation into Trump’s role in instigating the riot. But since then, there is no public indication that they are seriously investigating the ex-president. Likewise, Racine took no action to advance the local issue, which would require the support of its federal partners.

Mark M. Gagnon