A series of legal actions in New York courts over the past few weeks are making it clearer than ever that New York prosecutors are going after Donald Trump in a way that no other jurisdiction yet has. Taken together, these moves are the clearest sign yet that the indictment of the president in the Empire State is going to happen sooner rather than later.
The first action was reported by NBC News:
“The former personal attorney for President Donald Trump has entered into an agreement with New York City prosecutors to provide information about the president’s business operation, a source familiar with the situation told NBC News Wednesday.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office is investigating the possibility that the Trump Organization falsified business records, the source said.”
Be sure and note the mention of “the president’s business operation.” That certainly suggests that prosecutors in the Manhattan DA’s office (which Trump has ZERO power to control or obstruct) are indeed looking at hush money payoffs to women who say they had affairs with Trump. But it also leads to the second bit of news that came out on Monday.
The same Manhattan DA has also subpoenaed eight years of tax records, and rather than issuing that subpoena to Trump, the order is for the president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA. As CNN notes:
“The subpoena marks a new escalation in the large-scale effort to obtain the President’s tax returns, a battle that has largely played out in courts as the Trump administration has continued to stand its ground against efforts to secure any of Trump’s financial information. Trump has claimed that ongoing IRS audits have stopped him from making his tax returns public, even though audits don’t prevent individuals from releasing tax returns.”
One other item of note from that CNN report: The subpoena came from a sitting grand jury in Manhattan. So there’s already a grand jury which is looking into Trump and the Trump Organization. That means evidence is being gathered in the service of obtaining an indictment or indictments against Trump and his business.
New York has always been the real danger for Trump. Not Mueller, not the Southern District of New York, and not impeachment. New York prosecutors cannot be deterred or intimidated by Trump or Attorney General William Barr. And it’s becoming very clear that the state is ready to drop the hammer on the president.
All that remains now is the actual issuance of the indictments from New York. And based on what we’ve seen so far, that doesn’t seem too far away.