Tuesday Reads: The Many Crimes of Donald TrumpPosted: March 29, 2022
Lots of January 6 investigation news breaking this morning. There are also other Trump crime developments.
January 6 News
Nixon had an 18 minute gap; Trump’s gap is much longer. Bob Woodward and Robert Costa at The Washington Post: Jan. 6 White House logs given to House show 7-hour gap in Trump calls.
Reffitt was the first Capitol insurrectionist to be convicted in a jury trial.
Analysis by Stephen Collinson at CNN: Trump’s January 6 plot appears darker and more dangerous by the day.
Even as a federal judge commented Monday that Trump “more likely than not” sought to commit a crime to stay in office last year, the ex-President’s attacks on democracy are intensifying. They were on display as recently as Saturday night in a lie-filled rally that underscored how his conspiracy to overturn the election — whether it is criminal or not — remains viscerally alive and able to damage future elections.
While much of the country has been transfixed by Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine, the House committee investigating the insurrection has been racing against the clock ticking down to its own likely demise if Republicans win back the House in November’s midterms. It took another step on Monday toward holding two former Trump advisers to account by advancing criminal contempt referrals.
On Tuesday, The Washington Post and CBS News reported that a gap of more than seven hours exists in the logs of phone calls placed to or from Trump on January 6 that were turned over to the House committee. CNN had previously reported that records were missing regarding the calls.
It’s extraordinary that, more than 14 months on, new details of efforts by Trump and those around him to subvert President Joe Biden’s victory are still emerging. It’s also ironic that this threat to American democracy is being further exposed while Washington leads an international effort to save freedom in Ukraine, which is under much greater assault from Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Trump still seems to hero worship.
Here at home, a flurry of new details in recent days about the ex-President’s behavior justifies continued investigations into the worst attack on American democracy in decades. Those revelations also explain why pro-Trump Republicans were so keen to prevent the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, from ever getting off the ground. And they inject a new political dimension into Trump’s attempted comeback as he casts the 2022 midterm elections as a referendum on the lie that he won in 2020 and seeks to build a return to the White House on the same falsehoods that have drawn in millions of his supporters.
On yesterday’s report that federal judge David Carter determined that Trump committed crimes and the repercussions for Attorney General Merrick Garland:
Carter can’t initiate a case against Trump. But his words didn’t just raise a blaring historical marker over a President committing a potential crime in office — and one that put the entire US democratic system at risk. His comment re-focused attention on the debate within the House committee over whether to make what would be a historic criminal referral of Trump to the Justice Department. Such a move would present Attorney General Merrick Garland with the earthshaking decision of whether to prosecute an ex-President who is maneuvering with a $100 million war chest in a potential bid to reclaim his job in 2024.
There could be few hotter political potatoes for an attorney general already facing political pressure to deal with Trump aides who are obstructing the committee.
Failing to pursue Trump in such circumstances would send a signal of impunity for presidents who seek to destroy American democratic institutions, even as Trump’s supporters who ransacked the US Capitol begin to be convicted and face prison terms for apparently acting on their political hero’s wishes.
Last night the January 6 Committee voted to recommend contempt charges for Trump aides Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino for refusing to testify to the committee. In addition, ABC News reports that Jared Kushner is expected to testify to the committee on Thursday.
More Trump Crimes
The New York Attorney General’s Office has “uncovered significant evidence” suggesting that financial statements by the Trump Organization relied on misleading valuations of its real estate assets for more than a decade, the office said in a court filing Tuesday.
Those potentially misleading valuations “and other misrepresentations” were used by the company owned by ex-President Donald Trump “to secure economic benefits — including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions — on terms more favorable than the true facts warranted,” the filing alleged.
The claims by Attorney General Letitia James were made in response to an appeal by the Trump Organization and Donald Trump of last month’s order by a Manhattan state court judge directing Trump and two of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump to submit to interviews by James’ investigators….
In one glaring example, the financial statements for the Trump Organization from 2010 to 2012 “collectively valued” rent-stabilized apartment units it owned at $49.59 million, which was “over sixty-six times the $750,000 total value the outside appraiser had assigned to these units,” the filing said in a footnote.
The attorney general has said she is conducting both a civil investigation and a criminal probe related to the company.
“Mr. Trump personally certified the accuracy of the Statements for the years prior to 2016, at which point his assets were placed in a revocable trust,” while Donald Jr. “was responsible for the Statements for the years 2016 to 2020,” James noted in the filing.
That document said that from 2012 through 2016, the company’s financial statements said that Trump’s triplex apartment in Trump Tower in Manhattan “exceeded 30,000 square and valued the apartment at up to $327 million based on those dimensions,” the filing noted.
But in 2017, the company’s statement “slashed the apartment’s value by two-thirds, sizing the residence at just under 11,000 square fees,” which is the figure specified in the offering plan for the building, the filing said.
One more from Just the News: Exclusive: Trump calls on Putin to release info on Hunter Biden’s dealings with oligarchs.
Former President Donald Trump is calling on Russian leader Vladimir Putin to release any information he possesses on Hunter Biden’s dealings with oligarchs in Eastern Europe.
In an interview with the Just the News television show on Real America’s Voice airing Tuesday, the former president cited a 2020 Senate report that disclosed Russian oligarch Yelena Baturina, then the wife of Moscow’s mayor, provided $3.5 million a decade ago to a company co-founded by President Joe Biden’s son and unanswered questions about why the money was given.
“She gave him $3.5 million so now I would think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it,” Trump said in a wide-ranging interview at his Mar O Lago resort in Florida. “I think we should know that answer.”
A grand jury in Delaware has been investigating Hunter Bjden’s business dealings for possible tax violations, foreign lobbying issues and money laundering. Hunter Biden has acknowledge the probe but denied wrongdoing.
Trump said he also would like to know more about Hunter Biden’s relationship with Ukrainian oligarch Nikolai Zlochevsky, the owner of the Burisma Holdings gas company that hired the Biden scion in 2014 to its board and paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
Shades of Trump’s “Russia, are you listening” appeal for Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2016.
What’s on your mind today?