Law professor Neal Katyal explained why Donald Trump will almost certainly face criminal investigations and prosecution(s) once he leaves the White House "for the rest of his life." Maybe Ivanka, too.
November 21, 2020

Law professor Neal Katyal explained why Donald Trump will almost certainly face criminal investigations and prosecution(s) once he leaves the White House "for the rest of his life." Maybe Ivanka, too.

Appearing on MSNBC yesterday, Katyal told host Nicolle Wallace that the Biden administration will have no choice but to prosecute Trump, especially over his post-election behavior. That’s on top of the crimes laid out in the Mueller report and any found in current New York state and city criminal investigations.

KATYAL: You've got those state and federal investigations and. at the federal level, Trump has been protected so far by a get-out-of-jail-free card. As a sitting president, the Justice Department has said he can't be indicted and that's why, even when the Mueller report found ten different instances of federal crimes, they said we can't indict a sitting president. But all of that expires in exactly 60 days.

So now, you've got Trump trying to do all of this ridiculousness around the election, I do think with an idea to try and raise his war chest to defend himself. But it also actually, perversely, makes it really hard for a future Biden attorney general or for a New York prosecutor to look the other way because even if Trump had hoped to avoid criminal prosecution, his post-election behavior basically guarantees it.

I mean, you've got a guy who is right now literally committing if not crimes, pretty darn close, even when he's being forced out of the door, in terms of conspiring with these Michigan canvassers or these state legislators. It is a federal crime, it's a state crime to try and take someone's right to vote away and that is what Trump is doing. He's trying to perpetrate the largest act of disenfranchisement in our lifetime. Hundreds of thousands of votes he's trying to throw out. That is, if he's conspiring to do it and it sure looks he may be, a crime.

There are also the crimes that current Attorney General Bill Barr has disappeared, such as those committed by “Individual 1,” which was obviously Trump, in the Michael Cohen criminal prosecution.

And let’s not forget those “consulting fees” to Ivanka Trump The New York Times just revealed. Or the Stormy Daniels hush money as a “business expense.”

KATYAL: All of these investigations somehow magically disappeared once Bill Barr came into office. However, the statute of limitations is such that they can be investigated.

And what that New York Times report is saying is that, for example, Trump has been paying his daughter, Ivanka, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in consulting fees. And that allows him to expense those and avoid, essentially, gift tax or inheritance taxes on that. So that may be one thing that's going on.

Another is, which has been reported by many outlets, he deducted the $130,000 in payments to Stormy Daniels as a business expense.

Katyal has no doubt Trump will try to pardon himself and his family before leaving office. But that will probably not get them off the hook.

KATYAL: Of course, pardons don't work for states and I think if you're Ivanka right now, you've got to worry that if Trump somehow gets off on these charges, whether a pardon or something else, and doesn't have any state charges, these prosecutors are going after someone and here is looking at you, kid.

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