The news service said legal experts believe that the New York state investigations into the charitable Trump Foundation will likely expand to the president’s namesake business, the Trump Organization.
If this happens — or has already happened — it will spell big trouble for the president. His two oldest sons will also be implicated since they have served in top positions in both the charity and the for-profit company.
Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner told NBC that he sees so much overlap between the now-dissolved Trump Foundation and the Trump Organization that he can’t imagine corruption within one didn’t bleed into corruption in the other.
“I don’t think there will be any investigative daylight between what the New York state authorities and investigators are looking into with respect to the foundation vs. the organization vs. anything else involving business dealings that have the name ‘Trump’ attached to them,” he said, before adding:
“The probe into the Trump Foundation will crash into the Trump Organization like a Mack truck.”
Former federal prosecutor Daniel Goldman pointed out that the top people in charge of both entities were the same. This means the Trump Organization is in jeopardy of undergoing a thorough criminal probe.
“It is likely that the investigation into the Trump Foundation has sufficiently overlapped with the Trump Organization that investigators would be justified in extending their investigation into the Trump Organization,” Goldman said.
Fordham law professor Jed Shugerman said that investigators already had some “low-hanging fruit” at the Trump Organization when it comes to potential criminal activity.
“They were using the Trump Foundation for the business purposes of the Trump Organization,” he said. “That’s the easiest case.”
The office of New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced last week that the Trump Foundation would dissolve and give away its assets to other nonprofit organizations. She said the Foundation had exhibited a “shocking pattern of illegality.”
The foundation itself had no employees, instead relying on Trump Organization staffers to cut its checks. Prior to taking office in 2017, Trump turned over day-to-day control of his business to his adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, and Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer.
Both sons were among the charity’s board members, while Weisselberg was listed as its treasurer. Weisselberg last spring entered into an agreement with prosecutors to testify against Trump in exchange for immunity.
According to Mimi Rocah, a former federal prosecutor:
“There seems to be entanglements in terms of people and probably in terms of money, that’s where businesses, frankly, do really start to get in trouble in terms of violating tax laws and regular criminal laws.”
As we reported earlier this month, a criminal probe of Trump’s business empire may lead to him forfeiting all of his money and property. We wrote:
“Either the federal or state governments can legally seize the assets of the Trump Organization. They can also seize the assets of any of his other legal entities that own valuable properties like Trump Tower.”
During 2019 we may see not only the end of Donald Trump’s presidency, but we may also see the end of his fraudulent and criminal business empire.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.