Even as Special Counsel Robert Mueller is preparing to drop the hammer on Donald Trump, the state of New York is preparing to dismantle Donald Trump. We’ve seen the New York Attorney General continue to move in on Donald Trump’s financial empire, and now we’ve reached the point where the Trump Foundation is being hauled into court.
To be clear, there are (at least) two concurrent tracks in the New York state probe into Donald Trump. The investigation into the Trump Organization – Donald Trump’s real estate empire and longtime money laundering front – is a criminal one, and is progressing with the reported help of Michael Cohen and others. But in this instance we’re talking about the investigation into the Trump Foundation, Donald Trump’s fraudulent charity, which (for now at least) is a civil action.
Even though there aren’t criminal penalties involved in a civil lawsuit, this move by the state of New York serves multiple purposes. First, it can result in a multimillion dollar judgment against Donald Trump. He’s so debt-riddled and cash poor, it’s a big deal any time he has to pay a civil penalty. Second, these proceedings can help to further expose the criminal malfeasance that winds through Trump’s entire shady financial empire.
Now that the civil case against the Trump Foundation has moved into court today, we’ll see what comes of it. The real prize here is that if New York can prove that Donald Trump and his kids committed financial crimes, it can indict and arrest his kids while he’s still in office, and begin seizing his assets in the name of restitution. Trump cannot pardon any state level charges.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report