The law closes in: Donald Trump is under Manhattan grand jury investigation again
Last year, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg flinched rather than following through with what his own office’s prosecutors believed to be a solid case that Donald Trump lied to banks about his holdings. As Mark Pomerantz — who led the grand jury investigation with Carey Dunne — makes clear in his new book, that was a serious mistake.
Now, having won a tax fraud conviction of the Trump Organization and its former CFO, Bragg has another Trump-focused grand jury, probing Trump’s hush-money payments to a pornstar and a Playmate to buy their silence during the 2016 presidential campaign. Stormy Daniels got $130,000; Karen McDougal, $150,000 — via the National Enquirer, led by Trump friend David Pecker, which then buried the story by design.
Speaking of secrets, that’s precisely what grand juries are. So we don’t know whether this fully and accurately describes the potential criminal activity being investigated, nor does anyone else outside the room and we trust that Pomerantz didn’t breach that in his book. But we do know that former Trump fixer Michael Cohen has been talking to prosecutors and has turned over his cell phones, and that Pecker was seen entering the building where the grand jury is underway.
Millions of Americans want Trump brought down no matter what the charge. Remember, they got Al Capone on his taxes. Though we consider Trump a menace to democracy — we wanted him impeached and convicted both times, and think he likely committed a crime when he pressured Georgia election officials to change their results, and may well have done so when he dodged and obfuscated rather than returning classified documents — we are cautious: If prosecutors can only build a weak case they could likely lose or one on misdemeanors only, the effort may not be worth the backlash.
Despite many boxes of evidence and aides convinced Trump broke the law, Bragg last year made the fateful choice not to pursue one set of charges. He needs to make the next fateful decision based on nothing but the facts and the law.
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