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On three fronts, Trump’s legal troubles become even more serious

As Donald Trump faces multiple investigations, there have been key developments in three separate cases. For the Republican, none of the news is good.


When it comes to Donald Trump’s team of lawyers, one thing seems increasingly obvious: They won’t be bored in the coming months. Indeed, just yesterday, there was news about the former president's legal difficulties on three separate fronts, and from the Republican’s perspective, all of the news was discouraging.

Let’s start with this unexpected report from The Washington Post.

The Justice Department has begun taking steps to investigate former president Donald Trump’s removal of presidential records to Mar-a-Lago — some of which were labeled “top secret,” people familiar with the matter said.

The article noted that there’s increasing frustration among congressional investigators seeking answers about this controversy, and the Justice Department has been reluctant to help provide information to the House Oversight Committee. “If the department is planning an investigation,” the Post added, “that might explain why it would not want lawmakers getting an inventory of the materials.”

In case anyone needs a refresher, it was a couple of months ago when questions first emerged about the degree to which Trump mishandled sensitive materials. In late February, the National Archives and Record Administration confirmed that officials uncovered classified information among the documents Trump took to Mar-a-Lago — and that the Archives had consulted with the Justice Department about the matter.

The result was an extraordinary dynamic: A former American president took sensitive national security information to an unsecured venue known as a haven for spies. It now appears a Justice Department examination of the controversy is starting to take shape. (Trump has denied wrongdoing, though his response appeared badly flawed.)

But that was just the start of Trump’s rough day. NBC News reported yesterday on the Republican’s legal troubles on an entirely separate front.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking to hold former President Donald Trump in civil contempt over his efforts to stonewall her civil tax fraud investigation. In court filings Thursday, James’ office said Trump failed to comply with a judge’s order to turn over subpoenaed documents and asked the judge to fine him $10,000 a day until he turns over the documents and records.

“[R]ather than ‘comply in full’ with the Court’s unambiguous directive by producing all responsive documents by March 31, Mr. Trump did not comply at all,” the court filing says. Trump responded by insisting he’s “innocent.”

In case anyone needs a refresher on this one, the state attorney general’s office has launched a civil investigation into the Trump Organization’s controversial business practices. In defense of its subpoenas, James and her team declared in January, “Thus far in our investigation, we have uncovered significant evidence that suggests Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit. The Trumps must comply with our lawful subpoenas for documents and testimony because no one in this country can pick and choose if and how the law applies to them.”

A judge agreed, and Team Trump was scheduled to turn over documents by March 1. As NBC News’ report added, that deadline was ultimately extended to March 31, but a week later, the New York attorney general’s office still doesn’t have the materials, which led to yesterday’s request for Trump to be held in contempt.

And in case these problems weren’t quite enough, there’s also the ongoing district attorney’s office investigation to consider. NBC News also reported:

In an unusual statement Thursday, [Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg] said his office’s investigation into Trump, the Trump Organization and its leadership “is continuing.” He said his prosecutors “are going through documents, interviewing witnesses, and exploring evidence not previously explored.”

And in case anyone needs a refresher on this — there are so many Trump controversies, I assume many find it difficult to keep track of them all — it was a couple of years ago when New York City prosecutors launched a criminal investigation into the former president’s controversial financial practices, including the alleged inflating and deflating of his assets as part of a possible fraud scheme.

Earlier this year, however, the district attorney’s office changed leadership: Cy Vance, who initiated the investigation, stepped down, and was succeeded by Alvin Bragg, who took the reins in January. A month later, the Trump-related investigation appeared to be in trouble: Two prosecutors resigned.

One of them, Mark Pomerantz, complained in his resignation letter that Bragg was hitting the brakes despite evidence that Trump is “guilty of numerous felony violations,” and the prosecutor believed it would be “a grave failure of justice” not to hold the Republican accountable.

Pomerantz added, “The team that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors no doubt about whether he committed crimes — he did.”

It’s against this backdrop that the prosecutor’s former boss in the Manhattan district attorney’s office assured the public that the investigation is ongoing.

Watch this space.