Almost no day went by this summer when Trump pulled out of the “witch hunt” of special prosecutor Robert Mueller, Trumps label for the investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign.
However, Trump has to deal with even more hot issues. In total, his name appears in five different investigations and lawsuits led by different entities.
The case that receives the most media attention is that led by Robert Mueller, a former director of the FBI. In 2017, he was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to direct the investigation into Russian interference in the run up to the 2016 elections. In particular, he needs to find out whether Trump and his staff have conspired with Russian hackers to influence the election results.
Russian hackers have broken into the Democratic Party’s servers in 2016 and intercepted the emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign leader John Podesta. They then ran away with a series of emails and documents that they passed on to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks then leaked the information at strategic unfavourable moments for the Clinton campaign.
Following the email scandal in which opposition candidate Hillary Clinton was involved – sending thousands of emails containing public information through a private server, of which a few thousand disappeared afterwards – Trump called on Russia to find emails at a convention. A few hours later, a first, failed cyber-attack took place on Clinton’s private server.
It remains a question mark whether Trump and his campaign of the hacking attempts knew and whether they were directly involved in the leakage of the documents.
There are also questions about the notorious meeting of 9 June 2016 in the Trump Tower with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnistkaya, Donald Trump Junior, former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trumps son-in-law Jared Kushner. Trump’s team was handed there “official documents and information” that were incriminating Hillary “as a token of support from Russia and its government for Trump”.
An important person in this case is Roger Stone, Trump’s former political advisor and an ex-lobbyist who worked with Paul Manafort. Stone was in contact with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, and Guccifer 2.0, the online persona of Russian hackers responsible for the attack on the Democratic Party. Mueller has already taken testimonies from several of Stones employees. Randy Credico, a comedian and politician who acted as an intermediary between Stone and Assange, must testify on September 7th.
Mueller also investigates the role of a certain Erik Prince, a military contractor who has suspicious Russian contacts. Prince met the head of a large Russian investment fund Kirill Dmitriev in the Seychelles shortly after the elections. The meeting was organized by the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates and George Nader, the advisor of the crown prince. Prince says that he attended the meeting of his own accord and that the Trump administration did not know anything about it. Nader cooperates with Mueller in the study.
Obstruction of the judicial process
In addition to the Russian interference, Mueller also investigates whether Trump has impeded the course of justice. Mueller is mainly looking at the dismissal of FBI director James Comey. Trump himself told a reporter from NBC that he had dismissed James Comey “remembering the investigation of Russian interference.”
In addition, Mueller zooms in on a misleading statement that Trump would have made for his son Donald to cover up the actual nature of the meeting on 9 June in the Trump Tower.
Former safety advisor of Trump Michael Flynn, campaign advisor George Papadopoulos and political advisor Rick Gates meanwhile plead guilty. They received a “plea deal” in exchange for this. Manafort was found guilty of eight charges. For the time being, no case produced evidence of conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Mueller also sued 13 Russian citizens and 3 Russian companies for propaganda on social media. In addition, twelve Russian intelligence officials were charged with hacking the Democratic Party and John Podesta’s email.
Konstantin Kilimnik was also indicted, a colleague of Manafort, due to obstruction of the legal process. He would have sabotaged testimonies in the Manafort case. Alex van der Zwaan, another colleague of Manafort, pleaded guilty to perjury in the case against his colleague.
On 21 August this year, Michael Cohen, former Trump lawyer, pleaded guilty of financial fraud and tax evasion. One of the charges he is guilty of is an infringement of the rules on campaign financing. As a result, Trump comes directly into the sights of Mueller.
Cohen paid silent money for two women claiming to have had a relationship with Trump: Playmate Karen McDougal and porn actress Stormy Daniels. The payment to McDougal happened through the newspaper ‘The National Enquirer’ who had bought the story about the alleged affair exclusively.
Cohen paid the money out of his pocket and was subsequently repaid by Trump. Because Trump would not have taken the money from the campaign, he said he did not commit a crime.
In the investigation, some of Trump’s confidants received immunity in exchange for collaboration: David Pecker, the CEO of the relevant newspaper, who is also suspected of having bought up many compromising stories about Trump for not publishing, the chief editor of the Dylan Howard newspaper and CFO of the Trump Organization Allen Weisselberg.
It is unclear whether they have been given immunity to just confirm Cohen’s story or have released it more.
3. Donald J. Trump Foundation
On June 14, the Donald J. Trump Foundation was indicted. The non-profit organization is suspected of having closed deals that Trump personally benefits from and illegal collaboration with Trump’s election campaign. The lawsuit comes after a two-year investigation into the operation of the organization. They demand that the organization be dismantled and that Trump for 10 years and his three children Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric for 1 year are banned from boards of non-profit organizations. In addition, they claim damages and fines of at least 2.8 million dollars.
4. Trump organization: Maryland and Colombia
The public prosecutors of Maryland and Colombia complain to Trump and his company for one of Trumps hotels in Washington. The property would be a violation of the constitutional law on remuneration. According to that law, it is forbidden for a president to receive payments, gifts or benefits from foreign governments, national and federal entities. The law was created to prevent corruption.
The Trump International hotel in Washington is located in an old post building, a federal building for which Trump pays rent to the state. That Trump earns money with it would therefore be unlawful. In addition, the hotel also accepted gifts from abroad to influence Trumps campaign.
Although this is not a criminal investigation, the case will reveal information that will clarify how Trumps property is used to exert influence from abroad. The case could cause the state to cancel the lease with the Trump organization or to have Trump relinquish business from these investments.
5. Trump organization: New York
The Manhattan prosecutor is conducting a fraud investigation by the Trump organization. The Trump Organization would have repaid part of the tide-free money to Cohen. This research from New York would announce the beginning of an investigation into fraud practices in general.
In recent years, the many investors from Russia and other ex-Soviet states who bought his real estate raised the eyebrows. Investing in real estate in the US is a frequently used strategy of rich people around the world to launder money because one can easily remain anonymous.
No one knows where Trump got the money for his Scottish golf course near Aberdeen. The New Yorker magazine expressed the suspicion that the money comes from a failed deal with Azerbaijani investors to build a Trump Tower in Baku. The deal received a lot of negative attention in the media because it was suggested that the money came in part from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Source: The Huffington Post