For nearly two years Donald Trump has relentlessly attacked special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of prosecutors. It’s another team of prosecutors, however, who pose an equally grave threat to his presidency — the federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York (SDNY). And according to a new report in POLITICO, this threat to Trump hasn’t been getting the attention it deserves.
The SDNY has been running several serious and aggressive investigations into Trump’s life and business affairs, and even into alleged crimes committed by his children. In fact, some legal experts believe that the SDNY investigators and prosecutors may soon be in a position to issue criminal indictments against the president, as well as three of his children — Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric.
They are investigating possible crimes surrounding Trump’s inauguration committee and his family-owned business. Of course they have also investigated Trump’s longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen and sent him to jail. And earlier this month we reported that Vice President Mike Pence may also be implicated in crimes being investigated by the SDNY.
The bad news for Trump is that he has no viable way to shut down the SDNY probes that could not just end his presidency but possibly send him and three of his children to jail. On top of that, New York federal prosecutors may use the RICO laws to take all of Trump’s money and assets.
Clearly the SDNY should be — and probably is — causing Donald Trump to experience many sleepless nights. (In fact, this may partially explain his increasingly deranged behavior.)
According to POLITICO:
“Manhattan-based federal prosecutors can challenge Trump in ways Mueller can’t. They have jurisdiction over the president’s political operation and businesses — subjects that aren’t protected by executive privilege, a tool Trump is considering invoking to block portions of Mueller’s report.”
The most recent rumor, POLITICO says, is that “legal circles are… buzzing over whether SDNY might buck DOJ guidance and seek to indict a sitting president.”
Due to informal Department of Justice (DOJ) guidelines, it has been widely assumed that federal prosecutors would not indict Trump while he is president. But that may not in fact be true, since the SDNY is not strictly bound by a mere “guideline.” Needless to say, if they do indict Trump while he is in office it would create a controversy unlike anything seen in Washington for decades.
Another worry for Trump is that the SDNY investigations can continue indefinitely and will probably last well past the time when Mueller’s probe ends.
So even if Mueller wraps up his work in a few months, the SDNY probes will continue into 2020, severely damaging a possible Trump 2020 reelection bid. And if that happens, we will have Robert Mueller to thank.
As POLITICO said in its report:
“Mueller can take credit for spawning significant parts of SDNY’s work. The two DOJ units have shared staff, witnesses and leads, and SDNY has been well-positioned to pick up anything that is outside Mueller’s primary lane of investigating collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.”
Part of the genius of Robert Mueller is that he has arranged so that Donald Trump cannot evade prosecution for his crimes. He has made sure other law enforcement agencies are involved so the probes will continue even if the special counsel’s office is shut down by the president.
Trump can’t stop the SDNY from continuing, and in addition to that there are ongoing investigations from the New York Attorney General‘s office and the New York Revenue Department (which is looking at Trump‘s alleged tax crimes). Clearly Donald Trump‘s future does not look very bright.
We also have reported that House Democrats are just beginning their investigations. It is clear that no matter what happens with respect to the Mueller probe, the investigations into Donald Trump‘s alleged crimes will continue for a long time into the future.
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.