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Former President Donald Trump works on his phone during a roundtable at the State Dining Room of the White House on June 18, 2020.
Former President Donald Trump works on his phone during a roundtable at the State Dining Room of the White House on June 18, 2020.Alex Wong / Getty Images, file

In grand jury probe, Trump’s media company receives subpoenas

There were already multiple criminal investigations surrounding Donald Trump. A federal grand jury has now subpoenaed his media company, too.


Donald Trump and his operation didn’t need more legal trouble, but his media company was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury anyway. CNBC reported:

Donald Trump’s media company was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in connection with a criminal probe, according to the company with which the former president’s firm plans to merge. Digital World Acquisition Corp. said in a filing Friday that Trump Media and Technology Group received a subpoena from the grand jury in Manhattan on Thursday. The Trump company also received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding a civil probe on Monday, DWAC said.

As the controversies surrounding the former president go, this one’s a little complicated, so let’s revisit our earlier coverage and review how we arrived at this point.

It was last fall when the former president and his team launched the Trump Media & Technology Group, which appeared to have bold, multimedia ambitions: It said it intended to compete with both Twitter and Netflix. To that end, the operation even hired a high-profile CEO: Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, despite his lack of media experience, announced he’d resign from Congress to lead the nascent company.

It hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing. As regular readers know, the Twitter-like Truth Social app was plagued by technical difficulties and missed deadlines. Some top executives’ resignations made matters worse.

But the most dramatic problem relates to the venture’s financing.

Because the former president has a history of bankruptcies and loan defaults, he couldn’t simply go to a major American financial institution to help bankroll his media venture. So, Trump agreed to merge his operation with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), called Digital World Acquisition. As The New York Times has reported, “To get his deal done, Mr. Trump ventured into an unregulated and sometimes shadowy corner of Wall Street, working with an unlikely cast of characters.”

Indeed, as we discussed late last year, the Republican ended up working with a dubious Chinese operation, all of which apparently drew the interest of investigators at the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which typically investigates things like insider trading.

It was against this backdrop that the shell company that intends to merge with Trump’s company said its board of directors received subpoenas from a federal grand jury — and now that same federal grand jury, as part of the same criminal investigation, has subpoenaed Trump’s company, too.

To be sure, as Rachel explained on the show last week, this isn’t the only criminal investigation surrounding the Republican, but it is one of the former president’s biggest headaches. As Axios recently reported, “Truth Social’s financial prospects are heavily reliant on investment tied to the merger.”

The more the investigations delay the merger being finalized, the more it’s an open question as to whether Trump’s venture will ever get the capital it’s looking for.