While popular memory today remembers Watergate as five DNC burglars leading inexorably to Richard Nixon’s resignation two years later, history recalls that the case and special prosecutor’s investigation at the time was much broader; ultimately 69 people were charged as part of the investigation, 48 of whom pleaded guilty or were found guilty at trial.
After three weeks of back-to-back-to-back-to-back bombshells by federal prosecutors and special counsel Robert Mueller, it’s increasingly clear that as 2018 winds down, Donald Trump faces a legal assault unlike anything previously seen by any president—a total of at least 17 distinct court cases stemming from at least seven different sets of prosecutors and investigators. (That total does not count any congressional inquiries, nor does it include any other inquiries into other administration officials unrelated to Russia.)
While the media has long short-handed Mueller’s probe as the “Russia investigation,” a comprehensive review of the cases unfolding around the president and the question of Russian influence in the 2016 campaign harkens back to another lesson of Watergate: Deep Throat’s dictum, “Follow the money.”
More than two years in, the constellation of current investigations involve questions about foreign money and influence targeting the Trump campaign, transition, and White House from not just Russia, but as many as a half-dozen countries. Prosecutors are studying nearly every aspect of how money flowed both in and out of Trump’s interconnected enterprises, from his hotels to his company to his campaign to his inauguration. While President Trump once said that he’d see investigations into his business dealings as crossing a “red line,” it appears that Trump himself obliterated that line, intermingling his business and campaign until it was impossible for prosecutors to untangle one without forensically examining the other.
Obviously, some of these investigations below may—or will—eventually overlap. Many of the players, particularly those like Michael Cohen, may end up central to multiple cases. And the existence of an investigation does not necessarily mean convictions will follow.
There’s also plenty we don’t know about who else Mueller and other investigators might have in their sights, or who might be cooperating. There’s even a special mystery witness Mueller was fighting in court last week. Notably, most of the open investigations involve known cooperators, not to mention likely millions of documents, telephone calls, recordings, emails, communications, and tax returns assembled by the special counsel and other prosecutors.
Here’s a complete rundown of the various known investigations targeting Trump’s world from local, state, and federal prosecutors: [Continue reading…]