On a day that’s chock full of news about the Trump-Russia scandal, a different kind of Trump criminal scandal is also making unexpected headlines. Donald Trump announced today that he’s shutting down the Trump Foundation, the phony charity that he’s been using as a personal piggy bank. The question is, why now?
Normally, one would assume that Donald Trump is simply trying to fend off the long-running New York state investigation into the Trump Foundation. It’s true that, as a last act of desperation, criminals often try shutting down the entity in question, in the feeble hope investigators will no longer be able to figure out what they’re investigating, and will simply decide to move on. But this is a different scenario, because Trump has tried shutting down his foundation before.
Back in November of 2017, as the New York investigation was ramping up, the Trump Foundation announced that it was shutting down. The Attorney General of New York overruled this, and ordered that the foundation remain intact so that investigators could continue their work. In other words, the state didn’t want Trump destroying the evidence.
Today is a different story. The Trump Foundation has finally been given New York state’s blessing to dissolve itself. This means investigators have everything they need from it. Up to now, the state has only been proceeding against Donald Trump and his foundation via civil action. Today’s shutdown suggests we may finally see criminal charges against Trump and his family over the fraudulent manner in which they ran the foundation. Oh, and state-level charges can’t be pardoned by the president.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report