Convening of grand jury in NY probe 'purely political'
Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted reports that a special grand jury had been convened to hear evidence against the Trump Organization, calling it “a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history.”
“This is purely political, and an affront to the almost 75 million voters who supported me in the Presidential Election, and it’s being driven by highly partisan Democrat prosecutors,” the former president said in a statement.
New York prosecutors’ imminent presentation of evidence against Trump’s business, first reported by the Washington Post, citing two people familiar with the development, signals that the criminal investigation into the former president has entered a new phase.
The panel was recently convened by the Manhattan district attorney's office, and will hear evidence in other cases as well, the sources told the Post. The district attorney has not confirmed the reports.
Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance's office has been investigating a variety of allegations of financial improprieties against Trump's company for about two years. Court documents show that Vance is probing "possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization," which could include falsifying business records, insurance fraud and tax fraud.
Vance started investigating the company and its top executives after it was disclosed that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about her claim that she had sex with Trump, an allegation he has denied.
Cohen also alleged in testimony before Congress that the Trump Organization sometimes lied about its financial condition to evade taxes or obtain favorable loan terms.
Daniel R. Alonso, a former top deputy to Vance who is now a white-collar defense lawyer, said convening a special grand jury typically means that "it's highly likely they're going to be presenting charges against someone."
It also enables prosecutors to subpoena witnesses to testify before the panel, Alonso said.
The DA's probe appeared to pick up steam in recent weeks, with New York Attorney General Letitia James's office acknowledging it was helping Vance's office.
James' office had been criminally investigating the personal taxes of Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, an official close to the investigation said.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is telling associates he had no idea his Justice Department seized phone records of two top Democratic congressional critics of then-President Donald Trump. In the hours since The New York Times broke the news on Thursday that prosecutors subpoenaed Apple metadata from Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA), former Attorney General Sessions has privately told people that he wasn’t aware of, nor was he briefed on, the reported data seizures while he led the Trump DOJ. This week’s revelations were a surprise to him, according to a source familiar with the matter, and another person close to Sessions.
The US justice department’s internal watchdog launched an investigation on Friday after revelations that former president Donald Trump’s administration secretly seized phone data from at least two House Democrats as part of an aggressive leaks inquiry related to the Russia investigation into Trump’s conduct.
Donald Trump called Joe Biden a “mental retard” during the 2020 election, a new book says, but was reluctant to attack him too strongly for fear the Democrats would replace him with Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama. Biden went on to beat Trump by more than 7m in the popular vote and by 306-232 in the electoral college, a result Trump deemed a landslide when it was in his favor against Clinton in 2016.
The deadly insurrection at the US Capitol was “planned in plain sight” but intelligence failures left police officers exposed to a violent mob of Trump supporters, a Senate investigation has found. The Capitol police intelligence division had been gathering online data since December about plots to storm the building on 6 January, including messages such as: “Bring guns. It’s now or never.” But a combination of bad communications, poor planning, faulty equipment and lack of leadership meant the warnings went unheeded, allowing the insurrectionists to overrun the Capitol and disrupt certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. Five people died.