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An Overview of the Current Investigation of Donald Trump

Americans will not soon forget the tumultuous 2016-2020 presidential years; they were full of negative news headlines about leader Donald Trump. This past Saturday, the former 45th president of the United States made his way back into breaking news once again when he announced that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday in a social media post, following information released from a Manhattan District Attorney’s (DA’s) office.

This paper will briefly review some of the details of this case, as well as Trump’s history of bumping heads with the legal system and what the future may hold for the favored Republican presidential candidate.

To begin, the current allegations involve Trump, his former lawyer Michael Cohen, and a $130,000  “hush money” payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, according to CBS figures. This exchange of funds took place back in 2016 and had been initially investigated by authorities while Trump was still in office, but regained attention in recent months as the time to select 2024 presidential candidates approached. The legal investigation aims to determine Trump's role in submitting the payment.

Allegedly, the money was given to Daniels to make sure she wouldn’t speak out about having an affair with Trump; the motive at the time was maintaining his presidential reputation. The question for authorities is: who is guilty of making that payment, Trump, Cohen, or both of them? In 2018, Cohen pled guilty to federal tax evasion and campaign finance violations in connection with the same payment to Daniels and connected Trump as an accomplice in the crime, according to a CBS interview with current District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

The DA’s office hopes to indict Trump in this investigation, meaning that a grand jury has already reviewed the case and decided there is a reasonable amount of evidence against Trump to warrant bringing charges against him. However, despite these damning connections to the point, Trump is maintaining his innocence and calling on his supporters to push back and “protest” his arrest.

In fact, he made the following statement regarding his imminent arrest in his Saturday TRUTH Social post, a social media platform created and run by Trump’s media company. “THE FAR AND AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE BACK OUR NATION!” Many are concerned that Trump’s rhetoric will cause a repeat of the January 6 insurrection events, inciting violence and creating more political disruption in a broadly divided nation before a critical election period.

On that same note, this incident is not the first time Trump has been under legal scrutiny or made headlines for his controversial behavior. We touched upon two of his scandals already: the alleged affair that caused his current legal trouble and the January 6 incident; let’s explore those and a few others in greater detail.

Beginning with perhaps his most serious incident, Trump called on his supporters to refuse to accept the results of the 2020 election. This was done in several ways, from making false statements about companies tampering with voting machines to a speech he gave to his supporters earlier in the day. Many of these statements resulted in lawsuits being filed against Trump, though he was never officially charged of any crime.

Following this, staunch believers in the then-president stormed the U.S. capitol to try and prevent Joe Biden from being sworn in as President of the United States, physically attacking White House security personnel and destroying property inside the building. It is the only such incident in America’s history and was solely driven by Trump and his supporters; Trump’s reaction to his current legal situation has people worried about a repeat of similarly violent events.

Furthermore, Trump has had dozens of sexual misconduct allegations leveled at him throughout his life, from both his time as a businessman and a politician. This should not come as a surprise following the infamous Access Hollywood audio recording in which Trump can be heard saying his position of power allows him to do whatever he pleases with women, including “grab ‘em by the pussy.” Few of these allegations have resulted in retribution for the women accusing him, nor has Trump been formally charged in any of these cases.

Ultimately, what does this mean for Trump’s current situation? Unfortunately, if we go off of history, it is unlikely that Trump will face any jail time or legal charges surrounding the Stormy Daniels hush money payment. In other incidents surrounding misuse of funds and further legal trouble related to his businesses, Trump has always managed to evade responsibility through legal loopholes or by attributing the crimes to others working under him; he is an intelligent and cunning man with nearly unlimited funds at his disposal to protect his reputation which makes charging him with a crime roughly impossible.

Despite the odds stacked against it, many democratic voters still hope that Trump will be arrested and charged so he will be inherently out of the running for the 2024 Republican presidential candidate. If nothing else, they hope that the threat of the indictment will make people reconsider their support for him; many Republicans predict the opposite effect, that any legal action taken against Trump will only improve his chances at candidacy.

In conclusion, this is an uncertain time in America’s political history; it is the first time a former president has come close to being charged with a crime and is potentially going to run for president again. With a controversial political and personal history before these events, it is up to individuals to decide how this newest information on Trump will affect their opinion of him. All we can ask of our voters are to make informed decisions. 

Edited by Whitney Edna Ibe

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