While everyone except 43 Republican senators and hard-core right-wing extremists is rightfully upset about the acquittal of Donald Trump at his impeachment trial yesterday, those so avidly desiring accountability to be imposed upon the demonstrably most evil president in American history will have to seek other avenues to achieve their goal.
Luckily, although Trump missed his chance to become the first president convicted of the impeachment charges lodged against him, he is still liable to face legal peril on multiple fronts that, if prosecutors and plaintiffs are successful, can drain his shrinking financial coffers and make his life the living hell that he so justifiably deserves.
There are three main avenues where the loathsome ex-president can be pursued in the fight to see justice be served:
- Criminal prosecution on the federal level
- Criminal prosecution on the state level
- Civil liability suits
There is no doubt that federal prosecutors — who have been hamstrung by the Department of Justice’s determination that a sitting president can not be prosecuted for crimes while in office — have an abundance of evidence sufficient to successfully pursue criminal charges against Donald Trump for actions while he was in office.
The Mueller report and the two impeachment trials provide the tip of the iceberg when it comes to already having a good deal of compelling evidence on which to frame their charges against Trump.
The biggest question is, of course, whether the Biden administration wants to divert attention from his message of unity to actively pursue this path which will surely be derided as a partisan “witch hunt” by Republicans still perplexingly loyal to their feckless leader.
Hopefully, Biden will keep his promise and allow his Justice Department to operate independently from the White House in sharp contrast with the degraded role that the DOJ played in the Trump administration where it operated more like the president’s private law firm and police force than as an independent agency operating solely on principles of blind and impartial justice.
With state prosecutors in both New York State and Georgia reportedly in the midst of criminal investigations of Trump and his family company — in New York over tax and financial fraud and in Georgia over his attempts to commit election fraud by asking the Secretary of State to “find” enough votes to give him a victory in that state’s electoral tally — we know that this is where the former reality TV host faces the greatest legal peril that could actually land him behind bars if he’s found guilty, as most people expect.
It is the last category, however, that has gotten the least attention in the media so far.
Particularly after the impeachment managers presented such a compelling minute by minute breakdown of Trump’s actions as his unruly mob of violent supporters invaded Congress causing deaths and injuries galore, the seditious former president faces a potential avalanche of lawsuits from the families of those killed and from the people who sustained serious injuries during the melee.
Jill Wine-Banks, a former Watergate prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst, appeared on MSNBC‘s The Sunday Show this morning and pointed out that these potential civil suits can hit Trump extremely hard where it hurts him the most — in his wallet.
“I also want to point out that there’s also a lot of civil liability that faces Donald Trump and given how much he loves money and that that may be just as important as anything else,” Wine-Banks told host Jonathan Capehart. “He may have to actually pay his back taxes. He may have to give up some of his properties. He may no longer be able to get any financing anywhere.”
“So there’s a lot of things,” she added. “There’s defamation cases against him. There’s a case in Chicago because of him polluting the Chicago River, and so I think there’s a lot of financial damages that face him.”
While many people won’t be satisfied until Trump is locked away for the rest of his natural-born life, the thought of seeing him and his family in dire financial straits may suffice in the short term as recompense for the suffering he imposed on our nation, at least until the trials that will put him in prison can be completed.
You can watch a clip of Jill Wine-Banks on MSNBC‘s The Sunday Show in the excerpt below.
.@JillWineBanks addresses Congress possibly putting structures in place to prevent Donald Trump from running for office again, adding to @CapehartJ, "I also want to point out, there is also a lot of civil liability against Donald Trump." #SundayShow pic.twitter.com/GQk5kZn9E2
— The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart (@TheSundayShow) February 14, 2021
Original reporting by Tom Boggioni at RawStory.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.