One of the great mysteries of the modern universe is the question of of whether or not Donald Trump is ever—even just once!—going to be held responsible for any of the unethical, underhanded, seemingly criminal acts he has engaged in for the last 70-odd years. (No, bringing Don Jr. into the world isn’t on the list though maybe it should be.) Based on his long history of evading any and all repercussions for virtually everything, one could be forgiven for assuming that no, he will not. Then again, it’s possible the law will finally catch up to him, and recently, we got more than one indication it just might.
The first instance comes by way of Georgia, and the Fulton County district attorney’s criminal investigation into the ex-president’s attempts to overturn the election there. As the Associated Press noted on Monday, DA Fani Willis argued in court last week that a report from the special grand jury impaneled last May to hear evidence in the case should not be released because it could threaten the rights of people who may soon be charged with crimes, while also hurting the ability to prosecute them. Saying that a decision on indictments was “imminent,” Willis told the judge: “We want to make sure that everyone is treated fairly and we think for future defendants to be treated fairly, it is not appropriate at this time to have this report released.”
Willis’s investigation was launched shortly after Trump’s infamous phone call with Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger was released, in which the then president demanded the local official “find” him the exact number of votes necessary to overturn his loss in the state to Joe Biden. “All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said, before apparently threatening Raffensperger over what might happen if he refused the request.
The investigation later expanded to include the fake Republican electors, others calls Trump made to Georgia officials following his election loss, and baseless allegations of election fraud that were made to Georgia lawmakers. Last year, former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani was informed he was a target of the criminal probe. At the time, attorney Norman Eisen told The New York Times: “There is no way Giuliani is a target of the DA’s investigation and Trump does not end up as one. They are simply too entangled factually and legally in the attempt to use fake electors and other means to overturn the Georgia election results.” Giuliani has denied wrongdoing. Trump has claimed he did “absolutely nothing wrong,” that his call with Raffensperger was “perfect,” and that he is “very confident” he will not be indicted.
Without specifying Trump, Clark Cunningham, a Georgia State University law professor, told the AP: “I expect to see indictments in Fulton County before I see any federal indictments,” adding, of Willis’s arguments in court last week: “She wouldn’t be talking about the release of the report creating prejudice to potential future defendants unless she saw in the report peoples’ names who she saw as potential future defendants.” In September, Willis said in an interview that her office had received credible allegations that major crimes were committed, and that “if indicted and convicted, people are facing prison sentences.”
In other recent legal news that we assume wasn’t entirely well-received at Mar-a-Lago, the Times reported on Monday that the Manhattan district attorney’s office had begun “presenting evidence to a grand jury” about Trump’s role in the 2016 Stormy Daniels hush money scheme, “laying the groundwork for potential criminal charges against the former president in the coming months.” Oh, and on Tuesday, New York attorney general Letitia James asked a judge to sanction the ex-president, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump, as well as their attorneys, for allegedly filing “demonstrably false” denials that “actually contradict sworn statements” in response to the state’s $250 million fraud lawsuit against them.
On the flip side, it was revealed last night that Trump has sued journalist Bob Woodward for just under $50 million for publishing their conversations as an audio book—The Trump Tapes—with his lawyers claiming “systematic usurpation, manipulation and exploitation of audio of President Trump.” In a joint statement, Woodward and his publisher, Simon & Schuster, which is also named as a defendant, called the suit “without merit,” adding: “All these interviews were on the record and recorded with President Trump’s knowledge and agreement. Moreover, it is in the public interest to have this historical record in Trump’s own words. We are confident that the facts and the law are in our favor.” Trump, of course, has a long and storied history of filing frivolous lawsuits—including one that was thrown out less than two weeks ago.