News reports that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is close to completing his investigation have raised the question of whether anyone who hasn’t yet been charged with a crime won’t ever be. Mueller has brought 199 charges against 37 defendants in less than two years — including six members of President Trump’s campaign. Some key figures, though, such as Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr., would appear to be off the hook: If Mueller’s work is done, then he probably will not be filing any charges against them.
But there is another possibility, which is that the end of the federal investigation into the 2016 campaign clears the path for criminal charges in multiple states. That should worry the president and the people in his circle.
Early in his investigation, Mueller was reportedly sharing information he had gathered with the then-attorney general of New York, Eric Schneiderman, regarding Paul Manafort and his money-laundering activities. The evidence-sharing suggested the state of New York had a potential interest in looking at conduct that violated both state and federal law. More recently, the New York Attorney General sued the Trump Foundation, alleging a “shocking pattern of illegality” in its use and accounting of charitable funds (the foundation was shut down in December), and the New Jersey attorney general issued a subpoena to Trump’s campaign for the financial records of his inaugural fund. Although these are both civil actions, they could reveal violations of state criminal laws concerning tax and financial fraud by members of the Trump campaign or Trump Organization. [Continue reading…]