Manhattan DA’s investigation into tax returns may result in Trump’s arrest
Trump on the hook for unreported campaign donations
Trump is the subject of multiple investigations simultaneously. Besides the Fulton Grand Jury which is investigating potential election interference in the 2020 election, the Manhattan DA is investigating Trump for possible campaign finance law violations during the 2016 election.
Possible Campaign Finance Law Violation
In the final weeks of the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump’s lawyer tried to buy the silence of a porn actress named Stormy Daniels who said she had a sexual encounter with the Republican during his days as a reality TV star.
Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid Daniels $130,000 in hush money in exchange for Daniels' silence about her alleged affair with Trump, which took place in 2006. The hush money payment itself was a potential violation of campaign finance laws, as it constituted an unreported campaign contribution.
Cohen is already serving prison time for his role in the transaction. Now a New York grand jury will decide whether Trump should face charges in connection with that payoff too.
Complete Timeline of the Stormy Daniels Cover Up Investigation
On January 12, 2018, The Wall Street Journal published a story detailing how Cohen paid porn actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 through a bank wire in October 2016 and how he was reimbursed by the Trump Organization. Cohen got $360,000 plus a $60,000 bonus, for a total of $420,000, paid out in monthly installments for 12 months after Trump won the election.
The Trump Organization then logged the reimbursements as legal expenses, according to federal prosecutors who filed criminal charges against Cohen in connection with the payments in 2018.
On February 13, 2018, Cohen acknowledged making the payments but denied Trump’s involvement or knowledge.
On April 9, 2018, FBI agents executed a search warrant at Cohen's home and office. The search is the first indication of a federal probe into Cohen's actions.
By July 2018, CNN published a recording of a phone call between Cohen and Trump in which they discussed the payment before it was made.
One month later, Cohen pled guilty to eight federal charges of tax evasion, fraud and campaign finance violations related to the payments to Daniels. He admitted to a federal court in Manhattan that Trump directed him to make the payments.
It was not until August 2019 that the Manhattan DA’s office began its investigation into the Trump Organization’s tax records and involvement with the cover up. Though Trump attempted to claim executive privilege to prevent his organization’s tax records’ release, the Supreme Court declined to block the release of Trump's tax returns to the Manhattan District Attorney's office. This move opened the door to the possibility that Trump could be indicted for his role in the cover-up.
The potential charges Trump could face include conspiracy to commit campaign finance fraud, making false statements to investigators, obstruction of justice, and more. If indicted and convicted, he could face serious legal consequences, including fines, probation, and even prison time.
Trump said he expects to be arrested in New York on Tuesday.