Sometimes it’s easy to lose track of just how many different criminal investigations there are looking at Donald Trump, the Trump Organization, and the Trump family.
We know there’s the Mueller probe, and the Southern District of New York investigation that got Michael Cohen to plead guilty to numerous felonies. There is also the New York Attorney General’s office, and the New York State Revenue Department looking into Trump, his business, his foundation, and his children for various alleged crimes.
And now, according to the New York Times, there is another group of investigators coming after Trump, his business and his family: House Democrats.
When Democrats won control of the House on November 6 it opened the doors for many prominent members of Congress to make plans to get Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Eric Trump and others to come before House committees to testify. These committees will be holding hearings on the entire criminal Trump family enterprise, including Trump’s children who have been intimately involved with everything the president has done.
Last week even two Republican members of Congress began questioning lvanka Trump’s use of private email for government business. According to the Times, this was “a sign of things to come for the president’s family.”
Tom Davis, the former chairman of the Oversight Committee said, “That you now have Republicans investigating members of the first family is an indication of the perils ahead for the Trumps.”
As the Times said:
“The Democrats are already laying out lines of inquiry that could quickly lead not just to Mr. Trump and his White House aides, but also to his immediate family. And Republicans returning to Capitol Hill next year may be forced by the changed political climate to take a harder line toward the Trump family.”
“Likely Democratic targets include not only the president’s personal finances and those of the Trump Organization, but also the actions taken by his sons Donald Jr. and Eric and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, during the 2016 campaign and its aftermath.”
Here are areas that Democrats will be exploring that could lead to criminal liability for various individuals:
- Violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bans payments from foreign governments to federal officeholders.
- Donald Trump Jr.’s involvement setting up a meeting in Trump Tower in June of 2016 with a Kremlin-linked lawyer promising “dirt” about Mrs. Clinton.
- Ties between the Trump campaign, the Trump Organization and Russia.
- Campaign finance law violations.
House Democrat investigations will be in addition to what is being done by Mueller, the Southern District of New York, or the New York Attorney General’s office. But according to the Times:
“Democrats believe they have a broader mandate to question everything from foreign business dealings by Ms. Trump and the Trump Organization to the administration of security clearances at the White House, including the one given to Mr. Kushner.”
According to insider reports, the president is not prepared for the legal onslaught he is facing from House committees. The White House Counsel’s Office, now has a new lead counsel, Pat Cipollone, who is hiring a raft of lawyers but they do not have experience in dealing with House investigations.
“Politically speaking, this is the Achilles’ heel of the administration,” said Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a Democrat who sits on two key committees. “They have turned the government of the United States into a money making operation for the president and his family and close friends. That is the exact opposite of our constitutional design.”
The White House is facing a possible flurry of congressional subpoenas that could grind government operations to a halt. Hearings will expose areas that the secretive Trump wants to continue to keep out of sight. This includes his tax returns, which he has always refused to release. The documents are a central target for House investigators because of what they will reveal about Trump criminal operations and probably ties to Russian oligarchs and organized crime figures.
If Democrats are successful in obtaining copies of Trump’s tax returns they would have their first comprehensive look into the heart of the Trump Organization and the finances of the first family.
And this is exactly what Donald Trump and his family do not want to have happen.