Donald Trump’s compromised Department of Justice recently announced that it would not be bringing any further federal criminal charges in Donald Trump’s Stormy Daniels payoff scandal. This was bad news for obvious reasons – but it also opened the door for New York State to move in with state level charges if it so chose. We’ve just gotten an indicator that those charges are indeed happening.
New York State has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents involving the illegal hush money payoff, according to the New York Times. There is no indication that the Trump Organization is going to voluntarily cooperate – but that may not matter, as prosecutors routinely subpoena documents that they already have, in order to set up obstruction traps and force underlings to cut plea deals against the bigger fish. So who’s getting criminally charged here?
The one thing we know is that Michael Cohen, the only person criminally charged in this scandal at the federal level, is not the target. He already settled up with New York State on his way to prison. This new subpoena means that New York is targeting one or more additional people for criminal charges.
New York can go one of three ways here. It can initially indict the Trump Organization people you’ve never heard of, and then steadily try to work upwards from there. Or it can make a more ambitious move like indicting Donald Trump Jr, who signed one of the illegal payoff checks. Or if New York really wants to go big, it can indict Donald Trump on state charges, then put him on trial and convict him even if he doesn’t show up for the trial. That would do serious damage to Trump’s ability to remain in office – and it would guarantee Trump goes directly to prison once he leaves office.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report