Each day, new developments on the legal front make it clear that former President Donald Trump is facing serious civil and criminal liability on multiple fronts, any of which could leave him bankrupt and facing the prospect of decades in jail.
Two noted legal experts, Donald Ayer and Norm Eisen, note in an article they wrote for the Washington Post, that while Trump may think he’s laying the groundwork for a political comeback, he’s actually looking at one of the most daunting legal landscapes in U.S. history:
“Recent statements by Donald Trump and his enablers prove that he and his Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen aren’t departing from American politics anytime soon. But neither is the push to hold him legally accountable, as shown by a new lawsuit — the second against Trump by a member of Congress arising out of the failed Jan. 6 insurrection. As attorneys who have overseen prosecutions or other accountability efforts in Republican and Democratic administrations alike, we believe the combination of civil cases and a pair of rapidly accelerating state criminal investigations make for a potent force to combat the ex-president’s ongoing wrongdoing.”
Whether it’s the investigations being conducted in New York, Georgia, or Washington, D.C., Trump and his attorneys are looking at being under siege on multiple fronts, and that could leave him vulnerable in any or all of the places that are taking a long hard look at his actions, documents, and statements.
Trump tried to launch his comeback tour with his speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) last month, but the things he said are already coming back to haunt him, Ayer and Eisen explain:
“The law allows post-wrongdoing acts to be admitted if they bear upon relevant issues such as motive or a lack of remorse. As civil and criminal proceedings press forward, the CPAC speech and others like it could be admissible in court as evidence to shed light on Trump’s intent in inciting the attack on the Capitol.”
When he was president, Trump had the protection of incumbency to shelter him from being indicted or taken to trial. And he also had the added benefit of being able to call in favors from key members of the GOP in Congress who could run interference for him.
Now, however, Trump is merely a former president, and that means he has no such shields to keep him immunized from being sued or charged. While he remains able to defend himself, Ayer and Eisen conclude, he appears headed for a very bad ending:
“Today, however, Trump is a private citizen. His friends in Congress are less reliably loyal. He must defend himself. This is not to say that exacting justice will be easy — as a private businessman, Trump was notorious for using the law as a weapon. But the walls seem to be rapidly closing in. If they do, they may finally mark an end to the ex-president’s involvement in our public life. It is not easy to be involved in politics if you are broke and in jail.”
May it happen, and may it happen soon.