How Donald Trump’s troubles all converged in one hell of a week

With the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago this week, former President Donald Trump is in one of his lowest moments since leaving office.

After fighting a subpoena for six months, Trump was finally forced to testify Wednesday at a secret testimony with New York Attorney General Letitia James about allegations of banking and insurance fraud at his family business — a civil proceeding that could force his loading shut down.

He advocated the Fifth, still a self-incriminating tactic for a man who once declared during his 2016 presidential campaign, “If you’re innocent, why accept the Fifth Amendment?” While the move may spare him criminal liability, it will he only strengthens the AG’s case in civil courts, where silence can legally be viewed as its own damning evidence.

The prospect of another long and damaging trial also looms over the Trump Organization and the ex-president’s former right-wing moneyman Allen Weisselberg. According to Duncan Levin, an attorney representing a witness in the case, prosecutors for the Manhattan Attorney’s Office are preparing testimony for an upcoming criminal trial about the company’s plan to avoid taxes on personal benefits.

Weisselberg is in court on Friday.

The Fulton County District Attorney is also stepping up her investigation into Trump’s threatening phone call to Georgia’s top election official last year, with a special grand jury Dragging witnesses behind closed doors in preparation for an official report that could pave the way to criminal charges for violating state laws.

According to a source trusted, Trump’s campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani will be there next Wednesday.

The January 6 Committee of the House of Representatives is also continuing its investigation, having already documented how Trump has attempted to undermine the American democratic system and stay in power. The committee has fired warning shots at Trump himself for engaging in what could be described as witness tampering and threatened to refer him to the Justice Department for allegedly contacting at least one former employee prior to testifying in Congress. And members expertly bring to the public the case that Trump obstructed an official process in Congress.

The much-publicized hearings will continue next month.

On Tuesday, after losing a bitter legal battle with a disgruntled employee, Trump’s 2016 campaign revealed in court documents that he informed former employees that they were released from their once-iron nondisclosure agreements.

They are now free to speak out about any of Trump’s misdeeds.

An appeals court also ruled on Tuesday that the House Ways and Means Committee has the authority to review Trump’s tax returns — the crown jewels Democrats have been searching for for half a decade to prove the billionaire was always known about his wealth, fortune and how much he lied in taxes he pays.

Trump’s taxes could soon get their own congressional hearings.

And then there’s the most ominous development of all: the sudden appearance of FBI agents at Trump’s Palm Beach mansion. More than two days later, the raid is still mysterious, mostly because Trump won’t reveal details about the warrant his lawyers received.

In fairness, what little is known about the visit comes mostly from the breathless statement Trump made on his internet social media network, TruthSocial.

“These are dark times for our nation as my beautiful home, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. is currently under siege, raid and occupation by a large group of FBI agents,” his account wrote Monday night. “Having worked and cooperated with the relevant government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was neither necessary nor appropriate…they even broke into my safe!”

Several legal scholars told The Daily Beast there was no chance anyone outside of a small DOJ team had seen the senior FBI agent’s affidavit supporting the search warrant request, which detailed exactly why the authorities were there . But the warrant itself would at least provide some clues as to why the FBI knocked — and what potential crimes Trump could be charged with.

Anonymous sources told multiple news outlets the raid was part of an ongoing investigation into Trump’s unauthorized removal of classified documents from the White House and his move to his private home in South Florida — a clear violation of the Presidential Records Act. That law itself was enacted after former President Richard Nixon, who had already been impeached and had resigned, improperly kept a slew of records that would have further tarnished his already dismal reputation.

Even a local law enforcement agency was kept in the dark about the Mar-a-Lago raid. The Palm Beach Police Department said in a statement that it “did not and was not aware of the existence of a search warrant.” [it] assist the FBI in the execution.”

“The Palm Beach Police Department continues to have good relations with the FBI; However, we are disappointed in their lack of communication regarding this incident,” Major John Scanlan wrote to The Daily Beast.

The other agency in the area, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, told The Daily Beast it was “not involved.”

According to three sources, Evan Corcoran, an attorney who recently represented right-wing media personality Steve Bannon at his trial for defying a congressional subpoena and remained, is one of the lead defense attorneys representing Trump in the criminal investigation matter leading to the FBI raid conducted loyal to Trump. A lawyer briefed on the matter said Corcoran had held talks with the Justice Department for at least two months prior to the raid and discussed the whereabouts of classified and sensitive material left behind at Mar-a-Lago — at one point in a locked basement room.

Three attorneys told The Daily Beast that the unannounced FBI raid put a target on Corcoran’s back because every sudden door knock by federal agents reflects a breakdown in negotiations between prosecutors and defense attorneys.

“That’s what the Justice Department is going to use it for: to get rid of a lawyer, to create distrust between a client and his lawyer,” said Alan Dershowitz, a legal scholar who served on Trump’s defense team during his first impeachment trial.

A person’s attorneys are trying to persuade prosecutors not to press charges and will hand over documents and evidence to facilitate the process and not stoke the fire. But when those talks seem to be going nowhere — or when evidence threatens to be destroyed — law enforcement springs into action.

“It’s not uncommon for the DOJ to try to reach out and have as much dialogue as possible,” said Kendall Coffey, a Miami attorney who served as the region’s chief federal attorney in the 1990s. “But if the DOJ has determined at any level that a search will occur, they will not disclose the subject of the search to the attorney.”

“A search warrant — while you’re in talks — signals significant adversity,” he said. “Prosecutors can be friendly and polite even when they plan to indict your client.”

Dershowitz, who slammed the FBI’s historic move as “difficult to justify,” said Trump’s defense attorneys should have been more combative in trying to loudly and publicly stop the search.

“He has to be very aggressive, he has to go to court and he must not trust negotiations with the Justice Department. He needs to apply for restraining orders. He must try to appoint a special master to look at the documents,” Dershowitz told The Daily Beast on Tuesday. “A lawyer should have been standing before a judge at 10 a.m. yesterday.”

The danger for Trump personally is great. Violating the Presidential Records Act, a little-known and seldom-cited statute, carries the implausible risk of jail time, but the very real threat of being barred from ever being re-elected.

Anyone who intentionally conceals, removes, or destroys — or attempts to do so — any of the President’s records will be “disbarred from holding office in the United States.”

John W. Carlin, who directed the National Archives for a decade during the Clinton and Bush II administrations, said the Justice Department was right to become “much more aggressive.”

“I would be shocked if these were insignificant classified records. There’s a reason these boxes were stolen,” he said of the Mar-a-Lago raid.

“We’re talking about national security. We’re talking about protecting records that shouldn’t be routinely available to the public. Period. Classified information is handled very strictly. As an archivist, even I couldn’t just walk in and see secret records on the fly,” he said.

Carlin said that even in the White House, presidents have an obligation to handle documents containing sensitive information with care.

“Just because you’re behind him [Resolute] Desk doesn’t mean you can have classified notes lying around the Oval Office. That’s just not how they’re handled,” he said.

Much less when you’re a former president sitting behind a fake Resolute desk in a private club.

“Taking two or three boxes casually from the White House without permission … that’s not right by any means,” Carlin said.

The next phase of Trump’s troubles depends entirely on what he does next.

His reluctance to immediately release a copy of the search warrant his team received might save him embarrassing details in the short term, but it has led to it The New York Times claim access to it. If this lawsuit succeeds in convincing a South Florida federal judge to unseal the warrant, Trump will be pressured to publicly explain what he did in possession of these sensitive government materials.

Meanwhile, his relentless attacks on those who authorized and conducted Monday’s FBI raid are mobilizing his most rabid supporters, who have begun openly discussing violent action against, among others, the magistrate believed to have killed the signed the arrest warrant.

According to Vice, a right-wing forum dedicated to Trump — formerly hosted on Reddit and now on an independent site — has become a hub for Trumpists to publicly release the judge’s contact information and personal details. The threat was so real that the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida removed Judge Bruce E. Reinhart’s official website.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-donald-trumps-problems-all-converged-at-once-in-one-hellish-week?source=articles&via=rss How Donald Trump’s troubles all converged in one hell of a week

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