Trump Faces Growing Legal Peril As He Seeks To Raise Profile Ahead Of 2024

By Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey, Devlin Barrett, Perry Stein – Yesterday 7:17 PM



The legal dangers facing former president Donald Trump rose this week, after the New York attorney general filed a fraud lawsuit that could effectively shutter the Trump Organization and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit allowed federal investigators to continue their probe into classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago

These and other setbacks for Trump come as at least a half-dozen additional legal efforts proceed against him and his allies — committing him to months of legal wrangling as he seeks to raise his political profile for a possible 2024 bid while also increasing the prospect of becoming the first former U.S. president to face indictment after leaving office.

Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed dozens of his former advisers, and many others, as part of a sprawling investigation into efforts to obstruct the transfer of power after the 2020 election. Separately, a Georgia grand jury has been looking at allegations that he tried to obstruct that state’s electoral count by pressuring Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to “find” enough votes to overturn the election.

An aspiring corporate partner for his new social media company has received subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission. District attorneys in Westchester, N.Y., and Manhattan have ongoing investigations of his companies. One of his sexual assault accusersfiled court papers last month disclosing her intent to sue him under a recently passed New York law that offers exceptions to the standard statute of limitations for sex crimes.

Attorneys aligned with the Democratic Party have even begun to lay the groundwork for legal challenges if he declares another presidential campaign, under the premise that his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, as revealed by congressional investigators, bars him from serving in office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which disqualifies those who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding public office.

The breadth of current and potential legal challenges are large even by the standards of Trump, who has spent much of his adult life in litigation. He has returned to old tactics in response, seeking to delay proceedings against him, refusing to admit any misdeed and using the claims against him to rally his political supporters.

“The people behind these savage witch hunts have no shame, no morals, no conscience, and absolutely no respect for the citizens of our country,” he told supporters at a rally in Ohio on Saturday in a retooled stump speech. “Our cruel and vindictive political class is not just coming after me. They’re coming after you, through me.”

The status of key investigations involving Donald Trump

In other ways, Trump has been forced to adjust, devoting a growing share of political contributions to pay attorney fees. The summer’s planning for a fall presidential campaign announcement has been put on pause, according to two people familiar with the plans, who like some others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Two Trump advisers said the former president was surprised and angry at the lawsuit from New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) on Wednesday, and that her “attacks,” in the words of one of them, anger him more than other investigations. Trump has accused James, who is Black, of being “racist,” without explaining how.

Trump now has more than a dozen lawyers working on various probes against him, with financial support for their efforts coming from both the Republican National Committee and his political committee, Save America. There are separate sets of lawyers for each of the investigations. His political team has tried to cheer him up at times with positive tweets and other conservative news articles that he shares through his PAC’s website.

“He doesn’t seem to have a breaking point,” one of these people said. “He just rolls on and acts like all these things, at least to everyone around him, aren’t slowing him down.”

Among Trump’s advisers, the Jan. 6 investigation from the Justice Department and the Mar-a-Lago document probe are widely viewed as the most wide-ranging and perilous to Trump and his inner circle. But some advisers fear the biggest political damage could be done by James, as his wealth has long been part of his mystique to Republican voters, they say.

Trump himself has paid close attention to that probe, two advisers said. And the Georgia investigation is viewed as something of a wild card with an aggressive prosecutor.


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