Just last month, Steve Bannon, who served as both as chief executive of the 2016 Trump campaign and chief White House strategist in the Trump administration, was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, the Washington Post reports:
“The campaign, publicly supported by several of the president’s allies, raised more than $25 million through hundreds of thousands of donors, the news release states.”
It turns out, however, that there’s a person even closer to President Donald Trump who also has ties to the fraud scheme orchestrated by Bannon and his alleged co-conspirators: The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr.
Last year, when “We Build the Wall” was getting off the ground, Junior did a testimonial for the group’s website:
Here’s Donald Trump Jr.’s testimonial on the We Build The Wall Website. pic.twitter.com/oXnD1gCIzn
— Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) August 20, 2020
A spokesperson for Donald Trump Jr. tried to distance Junior from the scheme, telling The Hill:
“Don gave one speech at a single We Build The Wall event over a year ago with a group of angel moms and besides that, has no involvement with their organization.”
There’s also a video of Junior praising the Bannon scheme:
Donald Trump Jr. praised We Build The Wall and Brian Kolfage at a 2018 event: “This is private enterprise at its finest. Doing it better, faster, cheaper than anything else. What you guys are doing is amazing.” pic.twitter.com/hOL25JoZPI
— andrew kaczynski🤔 (@KFILE) August 20, 2020
It’s too soon to know if Don Jr. had a financial stake in the fraud scheme, but even if he didn’t, he could still be legally liable for other crimes, especially if Bannon decides to make a deal with federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York and tell what he knows about the entire Trump family in exchange for leniency.
Former prosecutor Barbara McQuade told MSNBC’s Katy Tur that Bannon might well decide to roll over on the Trump family, including Donald Trump Jr. and top White House adviser Jared Kushner:
“So, Steve Bannon, who was the CEO of the Trump campaign. He knows an awful lot about Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner and other people close to that campaign. Even if it doesn’t relate to Russian campaign interference, it may relate to other kinds of financial fraud.”
And there’s another problem for the Trump clan: State charges could also be spun off from the takedown of the fraudulent fundraising campaign for the border wall. That would mean that New York or other states with residents who were defrauded could also file criminal complaints against Don Jr. and Jared. The president had zero pardon power in state criminal matters.
Remember four years ago when nearly every speaker at the Republican convention chanted “lock her up” about Hillary Clinton? Looks like that has resulted in some nasty karma coming back to bite several of them squarely on the ass.