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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Although all attention in Washington and elsewhere is currently engrossed with his impeachment trial which began this week in the Senate, Donald Trump has bigger legal problems coming his way, according to a prominent former federal prosecutor.
Trump faces potential conviction — and a potential ban on ever seeking public office ever — in the Senate on a lone article of impeachment: incitement of the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol January 6, which left several people dead including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.
However, this week is merely the beginning for Trump, who faces potential prosecution in multiple jurisdictions — not only his native New York City, said Preet Bharara, US attorney for the Southern District of New York for eight years during the Obama administration.
“Look, I think on any one of a number of issues, the president is in jeopardy. He’s in jeopardy out of the Manhattan D.A.’s office with Cy Vance looking at various improprieties relating to his taxes and representations he’s made to financial institutions. There are people who are potentially taking a look at the other actions, some of which makes up the conduct of the article of impeachment, interfering with the result in the Georgia election. We know that the D.C. attorney general is taking a look at things,” Bharara said.
That’s not to discount potential federal charges, as well, even before the confirmation of President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, Bharara added.
“And obviously, we don’t have a new [federal] attorney general yet, we don’t know what kind of process he, Merrick Garland, will set up, if he is confirmed. But there are all manner of things that the Justice Department can look at,” he said. “And as President Biden said, he won’t be directing those things, so he is in a certain amount of jeopardy no matter what.”
In addition, there’s the still potential to learn of previously unknown wrongdoing on the part of Trump — none of which ought to be used as an excuse by an senators not to convict the former president on the matter currently before them, Bharara said.
“And I also think it’s the case that there are other things that the president [Trump] may have done. We’re finding out revelations all the time from people who now feel comfortable enough coming forward. So I think there’s jeopardy based on things we know,” he said. “I think there’s probably jeopardy based on things we don’t yet know, but none of that excuses this Congress and the senators — Republican and Democratic — from undertaking their responsibility and not passing the buck or kicking the can down the road to some future hypothetical prosecution.”
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