To date, Donald Trump has been formally implicated as an unindicted co-conspirator in only one crime, and that stemmed from a case being investigated by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, not the special counsel’s office. When Trump’s former lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to making illegal hush money payments at the direction of Trump to silence two women, the sentencing recommendation sent shockwaves through legal circles because it alleged that a sitting president, or “Individual 1,” had committed a felony.
Trump has reportedly always viewed federal investigators in Manhattan as his biggest threat, since they have jurisdiction over his family business, his now-closed foundation, and even his campaign because it’s headquartered at Trump Tower in the city. And whatever hazards Robert Mueller’s Russia probe holds for Trump and his inner circle, the ongoing investigations elsewhere are likely to hold far more legal jeopardy of the criminal variety over time, especially if Trump doesn’t win re-election.
Trump is reportedly keenly aware of the legal “hellscape” he’s facing beyond Mueller, according to the Daily Beast, and late last year he began encouraging his legal team to stick around even after Mueller concludes his investigation. Here are several areas of legal jeopardy that will continue hanging over Trump, his family, and his associates, no matter what happens with Mueller:
- The Trump family business, including its finances, tax practices, potential money laundering, and means of gaining financing through Deutsche Bank
- The inauguration, a $107 million gusher that’s currently being scrutinized by federal prosecutors for pay-to-play schemes and potential illegal foreign donations
- The hush money payments that violated campaign finance laws—Cohen has pleaded guilty to those charges, but legal action has yet to be taken regarding Trump’s participation
- Emoluments lawsuits, which have been filed by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia
- The Trump Foundation, which has already been shut down, but investigations into its board members, including three of Trump’s kids—Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka—continue
- House lawmakers have also turned over more than 50 transcripts of Trump associate testimony for review by Mueller; and Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr said his committee has “not been shy” about making criminal referrals to the Department of Justice stemming from its Russia investigation
In addition to all that, the Mueller investigation itself could continue to be its own wild card. Even after the special counsel delivers his report, a slate of sealed indictments filed in the D.C. federal courthouse might actually outlive Mueller’s appointment. At this very moment, members of Trump’s inner circle, including his family members, could be indicted and not even know it.