Why Donald Trump indictments are likely for 2023

Here’s a New Year’s prediction: Donald Trump will be indicted for crimes in 2023.

On the one hand, it is unusual to predict that a person who is facing multiple investigations by federal and state prosecutors for conduct that appears quite illegal will be charged with crimes.

On the other hand, it is Trump, whose name is not synonymous with accountability.

There is reason to think that will change.

The Feds’ search and seizure of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida this summer felt like a watershed moment.

One can see this prediction come true with the recent dramatic conclusion of the historic House committee on January 6 and the many criminal citations for Trump and others.

But unfortunately for Trump, that’s only one piece of the puzzle. If anything, the Feds’ search and seizure of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida last summer felt like a watershed moment: federal law enforcement action against a former president who had apparently lived a life free of consequence and may have. Continue to do so. Even an incremental step toward possible prosecution by the branch of government that could actually bring charges seems more important than the legislative branch asserting Trump’s guilt through criminal referrals. (Of course, both things can happen and are important).

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Besides, the Mar-a-Lago case seems more straightforward than the grim legal maze and its tentacles of January 6. As the former federal prosecutor said in a November memo analyzing the documents case, published in Just Security, “there is a strong basis for indicting Trump.” Officially crushed by Trump-appointed judges — with his special mastermind cycle — he looks a Step closer to the charges related to it Clear misuse of classified documents and barriers.

And that’s just Mar-A-Lago.

To be clear, the idea that the Jan. 6 allegations are a legal maze doesn’t mean Trump won’t also be charged in the investigation, which is being overseen by special counsel Jack Smith. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith after Trump announced his 2024 bid. (Smith is also overseeing the Justice Department’s investigation into the Mar-a-Lago classified documents scandal.)

The January 6 committee evidence shows the possibility of charges. A coup against a former president – let him sink – as well as conspiracy and obstruction related to an attack on the Capitol and American democracy itself. Indeed, the Committee noted that the Department of Justice There may be evidence, not to mention resources, which Congress does not have. (It’s worth considering the possibility that the Justice Department may have evidence in Trump’s favor that isn’t public, but that’s a very generous scenario.)

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And these are just some of the charges Trump could face this year.

The former president should also be concerned about the states. Not that double jeopardy is a problem with charges brought by both federal and state prosecutors — even, oddly, for the same crime, as the Supreme Court recently confirmed. (Trump wants to end dual jeopardy, a concept he apparently has trouble grasping, as my MSNBC colleague Steve Bannon points out.)

And while the investigations are separate, the committee’s explosive findings on Jan. 6 could boost the investigation of Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis in Georgia. As Jennifer Rubin wrote in the Washington Post in December, the facts presented by the committee are consistent with Georgia’s allegations. Citing a Brookings Institution report, he noted potential avenues for prosecution against Trump in the Peach State: “interference in primaries and elections; intentional interference with the performance of election duties; perpetration of election fraud.” solicitation; and conspiracy to commit electoral fraud.”

He also noticed that Willis had put forward more witnesses. The grand jury, which did not appear before the committee on Jan. 6, concluded that it “could be on its way to indicting Trump as early as 2023.”

And of course it would be a mistake to sleep on New York, where the Trump Organization has already been punished.

So with all that said, is it really possible for Trump to be impeached anywhere? Of course

But that doesn’t seem likely at the moment. And, in part because of the challenges of charging a potential president with crimes, any prosecutor who brings charges will want to do so by next year. That wouldn’t eliminate the new problems of charging a 2024 presidential candidate in 2023, which would trigger a series of unprecedented legal questions, as Trump wants to do. What seems clear, though, is that the former president is set for a rough year.

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