Trump faces major criminal investigations as he eyes 2024 presidential race

While he strongly hints at another campaign for the White House in 2024, former US President Donald Trump faces significant federal and state criminal investigations into his actions in the aftermath of his failed re-election campaign in 2020.

Monday’s unprecedented FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida was the latest indication that investigators remain focused on the nation’s 45th president. Reports say investigators were looking for classified documents he may have taken with him when he left Washington last year.

The search was authorized by the court and was probably sanctioned at the highest levels of the Ministry of Justice. But the details of the search warrant filed by investigators and their rationale are not yet public knowledge. The White House says it was not given advance notice of the raid.

Under the Presidential Archives Act of 1978, the official archives of all presidents and vice presidents remain public property, even after they leave office. The premise of the law is that newspapers belong to the American public, not to individuals who have served as leaders of the country.

FILE – Police direct traffic in front of an entrance to former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida August 8, 2022.

About a year after leaving office, Trump turned over 15 boxes of documents from his presidency to the National Archives, some of which are said to include classified documents. But investigators who searched Trump’s office and opened a safe at his Florida resort estate on Monday took away more documents that were not turned over in January.

Trump downplayed the search, just as he did election-related investigations, in an effort to prevent him from running again in 2024.

“These are dark times for our nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently besieged, raided and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” the former said. president in a statement. .

“Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before,” he said, saying the raid was the result of “prosecutor misconduct, the militarization of the justice system and an attack by hard-left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for president in 2024.”

He claimed that such an event “could only take place in broken Third World countries. Unfortunately, America has now become one of those countries, corrupt on a level never seen before”.

Trump retains a large following among a base of Republican voters, although a range of Republican officials, including Mike Pence, Trump’s vice president, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and others, have widely suggested that they could seek the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Ongoing investigations

The Justice Department is also investigating Trump’s role in inciting the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, when around 2,000 of his supporters ransacked the building to prevent lawmakers from certifying victory. of Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. At a rally shortly before, Trump urged his supporters to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell.”

Although White House aides and then-Attorney General William Barr repeatedly told Trump that there was no evidence of widespread vote-counting fraud sufficient to overturn his defeat, Trump publicly and privately demanded that Pence stop certifying the Electoral College vote count in favor of Biden.

But Pence declined to do so on the advice of lawyers who told him the Constitution did not give him that authority.

Investigators are studying Trump’s role in enacting a plan promoted by some of his advisers to name unauthorized voter rolls in states where he lost who would seek to replace official voters promised to Biden.

FILE - Video of President Donald Trump plays on a screen, as the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 21, 2022.

FILE – Video of President Donald Trump plays on a screen, as the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 21, 2022.

In the United States, presidents are actually chosen in separate elections in each of the 50 states, not through the national popular vote. The number of electoral votes each state has depends on its population, with the largest states having the most influence. Rioters who stormed the Capitol tried to block lawmakers from certifying Biden’s eventual 306-232 victory in the Electoral College.

In a third investigation, a prosecutor in the southern state of Georgia is investigating Trump for possible solicitation of voter fraud.

In a recorded phone call on Jan. 2, 2021, Trump asked Georgia’s top election official to “find” him 11,780 votes — one more than Biden defeated him — out of 5 million ballots cast. in the state.

During the call, Trump said, “I only need 11,000 votes. Guys, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.”

Mark M. Gagnon