Trump, who built a brand on projecting indestructibility, has been branded as something he despises most: a loser.
08/01/2021 11:00 AM EST
Trump, 74, was born into a wealthy family, built a global business, with a few bankruptcies along the way, became a reality TV star and then won the presidency with no political experience. It allowed the megalomaniac businessman to craft his own legacy: Success against all odds.
But now the FBI and authorities are examining whether Trump illegally and inappropriately instigated the Capitol riot of January 6; Investigators are examining whether Trump illegally, inappropriately and improperly inflated assets, evaded taxes and paid off women alleging affairs in violation of campaign finance laws; Lawsuits filed by women against Trump accusing him of harassing and assaulting them are still pending in courts; Lenders are looking for hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to be repaid; The New York Attorney General’s Office is investigating whether Trump and his company misreported assets on financial statements used to seek loans, tax breaks and economic benefits; The Manhattan district attorney is still probing Trump’s payoffs to two women to keep them quiet during the 2016 campaign about extramarital affairs; The Manhattan district attorney may also be broader than the hush money payments, possibly including a probe of tax crimes and bank and insurance fraud.
Trump, who spent decades teasing a White House bid before finally running in 2016, plowed through a first term marred by an impeachment trial, omnipresent investigations, back-biting leaks, tell-all memoirs from ex-staffers, prominent resignations and firings and crisis after crisis of his own making. While in the White House, given a longstanding Justice Department precedent not to indict a sitting president, Trump has been largely protected from facing criminal charges. But once he leaves office, he will have to grapple with a series of investigations that might directly implicate him. And, if he is to lose the legal immunity of the presidency Trump may well be facing jail time.
Trump has, again and again, evaded, side-stepped and shrugged off legal, financial and personal woes. He has survived an impeachment trial, numerous accusations of sexual misconduct and thousands of lawsuits. While he has been through adversities of his own making, bankruptcies, settlements with authorities over alleged malfeasance at his charitable foundation and the now-shuttered Trump University, he has always remained unbowed. These days are over, not even a self-granted preemptive presidential pardon would allow Trump to evade authorities probing him.
There is no way out. Since most of these probes are state, not federal investigations, Trump cannot pardon himself preemptively on the way out the door. Time is running short.
Happy New Year Mr. President,
I just hope your loyal supporters and friends will visit you in whatever jail you will be ending.
J. Michael Dennis
Syndicated Columnist … and other things