Having trouble keeping track of the various Trump scandals and their potential implications? That just means you’re paying attention.
This was meant to be a comprehensive summary of Trump’s legal troubles, stretching back to the 70’s. A few minutes of Googling made clear that there isn’t enough space on my web server to tackle a fraction of that project. A fallback would be a summary of the investigations spidering out from the Special Counsel’s work, but again the strands are seemingly endless. With plea deals and indictments expanding on an almost weekly basis, each new revelation seems only to expand the scope of that story rather than pointing to a resolution.
There is a good, running list of the Special Counsel’s indictments available at Vox. However, with new developments almost daily, there’s no place I’ve found that can keep a running tab of the unfolding story. Plus, the Mueller investigation is merely one of many criminal and civil actions in flight over the Trump’s family’s activities. What follows is comprehensive summary of the B-List, the second-tier of still-interesting Trump scandals that have mostly avoided headlines.
The Khrapunov Embezzlement Scheme
Victor Khrapunov is the former mayor of Almaty, Kazakhstan, who stands accused of embezzling almost $6bn during his time in office. He laundered a portion of that money through purchases at Trump Tower and investments with Bayrock. He also enlisted Giuliani’s firm for help setting up a shell company in the Netherlands. A criminal case against Khrapunov is playing out in the UK, with the Kazakh government winning a major asset seizure in August against Khrapunov’s son. It’s unclear whether the Khrapunov case is being investigated in the US for its ties to Trump and his associates.
Trump’s Sexual Assault of Summer Zervos
Though technically this is a defamation case filed by Summer Zervos against Trump, the substance is Trump’s sexual assault of Zervos. This case has developed into a test of Trump’s efforts to use the Supremacy Clause to shut down lawsuits and investigations. As such, it has been a complete failure. Trump will be forced to testify and the case could go to trial as early as next year.
Payments to Kushner from the Saudis
Since the election, the Saudis have focused their US lobbying attention on Jared Kushner. How do you lobby the Trump Family? With cash, of course. Intelligence reports have made clear that the Gulf States have focused on Kushner because of “his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience.” Since the family’s financial dealings are secret, we still don’t know what the Saudis have paid Kushner. However, with Democrats in control of Congress it won’t be hard to find out.
Trump Tax Fraud (exposed in New York Times investigation)
Embezzling Funds from the Trump Inaugural
The Trump Inaugural fund has been a swamp of corruption from the beginning. One of the First Lady’s friends got a completely unexplained $26m in a single direct payment. The investigation into the Inauguration has already produced one guilty plea, Sam Patten. This week it became clear that Ivanka Trump was directly involved in steering Inaugural fund money into the Trump businesses. The US AG in Manhattan is investigating the fraud, in a matter separate from the Special Counsel’s investigation.
Stealing Money Donated to Kids’ Cancer and Veterans’ Charities
The Trumps still face a civil suit from the NY AG over their theft of money from children’s and veterans’ charities. Their charity was a slush fund, used to pay their private golf expenses, decorations, and even to pay campaign expenses. This one has flown under the radar, but it is arguably the most disgusting, stomach-churching set of allegations the Trumps face. Read this filing by the NY AG and try not to puke. A NY Judge refused the Trump Family’s plea to have the case dismissed. The matter has also been referred to the IRS, though under Trump’s control, and gutted by more than a decade of assaults, the agency is unlikely to act.
Kushner’s Blackmail Scheme Against MSNBC Hosts
After the election, Kushner was Trump’s conduit to indicted National Enquirer editor, David Pecker. Trump had made extensive use of the Enquirer both to generate and squash potential stories. In 2017, the family leveraged Pecker again, this time to bribe the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe to change the tone of their coverage. According to Pecker and Cohen, Kushner was handling the family’s business with the Enquirer at this time. Kushner was both managing the blackmail operation, and “counseling” host Joe Scarborough during the incident.
The Invisible $400m in Scottish Golf Course Funding
Beginning about a decade ago, Trump starting buying up and developing properties in Scotland using cash, a marked departure from the family business model. To date, they have invested upward of $400m, all in a series of horrifyingly unprofitable ventures, with no official explanation of the funding source. There is, of course, an unofficial source. The family’s dumbest son spouted off about the Russian funding for the company’s Scotland properties, but still no details have come to light.
Emolument Clause Suit
Another little-noticed legal matter has been advancing in recent months. A suit filed by several state AG’s accuses Trump of violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. A judge recently denied the president’s plea to dismiss the case and allowed discovery to proceed. Subpoenas are fanning out right now. This may be the best early opportunity for a glimpse into the family’s secret finances.
Kushner Associate Sued for Visa Fraud
Perhaps you recall footage of Jared Kushner’s sister hawking an investment-for-visas scam in China a few years ago. Those chickens are coming home to roost. Earlier this year the SEC announced an investigation into Kushner’s scam. The US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn issued subpoenas to Kushner on the matter last year. More importantly, though, investors just sued a Kushner associate over a similar scam in Florida seeking almost $100m in damages. Their discovery process should be very interesting.