In January of 2020, Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine filed a civil complaint against the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee (Trumps) and the two entities—the Trump Organization, which owns the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and the Loews Hotel chain, which owned The Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C. in 2017. At issue were the exorbitant rates the Inaugural Committee paid to the hotel for private parties and rooms and spaces that were not even used. Racine pointed to evidence that people within the Inaugural Committee knew the prices were overboard and questioned them at the time. In December, Ivanka Trump had to sit for at least five hours to answer questions. Like a good grifter Trump, she claimed it was all a political witch hunt.
At around the same time Ivanka was being deposed, her older brother Junior was getting phone calls from Racine asking him about a purported $49,358.92 that the Trump Organization was contracted to pay to the hotel connected to the inauguration. It turns out that not only didn’t the Trump Organization pay that money back to itself (in essence)—the nonprofit, donor-funded Presidential Inauguration Committee ended up cutting that check back to the Trumps’ hotel interests. In fact, Trump Jr. may have been the person who forwarded that check on to the Inaugural Committee. Weeeeeeeiiiiird, huh?
Well, it turns out that while many of us were watching the awful sequel impeachment trial of Donald Trump during the week of Feb. 9, Donald Trump, Jr. was having his own deposition with Racine’s office. CNN reports that the Washington, D.C. Attorney General’s office says this new deposition "raised further questions about the nature" of that very same invoice—the one that was forwarded by the Trump Organization to the Trump Inaugural Committee to pay Trump’s hotel.
Will Trump Jr. be able to explain why the Trump Organization’s hotel bill was paid by the Trump Inaugural Committee? Let’s just guess that any excuse given by someone related to Donald Trump at this point is likely going to be less than satisfactory. But that’s not all of Junior and the Trump family’s problems. On Wednesday, the Daily Beast reported that investigators from the Manhattan district attorney’s office have begun focusing more intensely on the Donald’s eldest, least remarkable son, Donald Trump Jr., as well as on Trump’s old buddy and longstanding CFO of the Trump Organization Allen Weisselberg.
Weisselberg has been interviewed by all kinds of law enforcement agencies over the last few years, and was even offered immunity when cooperating in the FBI’s investigation into former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. According to the Daily Beast, the Manhattan investigation—not to be confused with the Washington, D.C. investigation—has “broadened the range of investigation into the Trump family’s assets, and have recruited some extra manpower.”
The New York investigation comes out of the Donald’s tax filings and Weisselberg has already been deposed at least once by Manhattan prosecutors during the investigation. More recently, sources say that Donald Trump’s properties and the nature of the loans he’s taken out against some of his properties have been examined by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which is led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. These investigations are different from the one being conducted by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office, which is also investigating some of Trump’s sketchy property development loans.
Sources close to Trump say that the New York investigations—as well as all of the numerous other investigations into Trump and his family’s affairs, while on his mind—are being dismissed by the family as a political witch hunt. But maybe there’s a reason why Weisselberg was on everybody’s list of people Donald Trump may try to preemptively pardon before leaving office? Maybe all of these people have secret “break-in-case-of-emergency” pardons, as some have speculated? Maybe Trump’s attempt to load up the Supreme Court with ultra-right-wing, underqualified judges hasn’t worked as well as he had hoped in protecting his criminal behavior.
Maybe Trump’s No. 1 motivation for positioning himself to run again in 2024 is the hope that he can once and for all legalize his and his family’s apparent criminal enterprise.