The Teflon Donald
Robert A. Levine 8-29-22
The Mafia mastermind John Gotti was labeled by the media as the Teflon Don years ago because of his ability to evade punishment for his criminal activities. His abilities to find a way to make criminal charges and illegal activities not stick to him appears to have been transferred to our previous president Donald Trump. When you think about it, it seems amazing how many illegal or unethical situations he has wiggled his way out of over the years. Not only that, he has managed to accumulate tens of millions of followers who accept his false statements as truth had worship his corrupt persona. Is he coated with some sort of invisible material that forces the truth to bounce off him but allows his lies to escape?
Prior to entering the political arena Trump was considered a successful businessman by large numbers of Americans, even though many of his businesses were abject failures. Though he claimed to be a billionaire real estate mogul, four of his real estate ventures filed for bankruptcy in the past. These include the Trump Taj Mahal in 1991, the Trump Plaza Hotel in 1992, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts in 2004, and Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2009. In some of these restructurings, billions of dollars of debt had been accumulated with Trump having personal liability and loss of some of his stake, as well of those of his investors. The Trump Airline Shuttle was never a profitable business and defaulted on its debt in 1990. The Trump University, aka the Trump Wealth Institute functioned from 2005-2010, supposedly teaching students how to make money in real estate and other investments. It was not an accredited institution and used high pressure tactics to recruits students, though it was actually a scam. There were several lawsuits against Trump and the company which he settled by paying $25 million in 2016, post-election. Successful businessman? Give me a break. Yet millions of Americans still see him in that light.
Since his election to the presidency in 2016, there have been multiple questions about illegitimate activity, many of them not yet resolved. The Mueller investigation regarding Trump’s involvement with Russian officials for help in his 2016 election campaign concluded there was insufficient evidence of a conspiracy. However, the investigation noted that Trump accepted Russian assistance and believed it would benefit him. He was impeached twice in the House because of his questionable actions but not convicted because of Republican support in the Senate. The first impeachments in 2019 were initiated with charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The second impeachment was on charges of incitement of insurrection relating to the Jan 6 raid on the Capitol.
In addition, after the 2020 presidential election, Trump claimed and continues to claim that the election was stolen from him, though there has been no evidence of fraud and the courts have turned down his suits multiple times. Notwithstanding, Trump still denies that he lost and has encouraged his followers to change election laws and place supporters in positions at state and local levels to decide any future elections.
Currently, a grand jury in Georgia is investigating whether Trump tried to influence officials to change the vote totals to favor him, an obviously criminal act of election interference. The DOJ and FBI have taken boxes of classified and top secret documents in a search of Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago that Tromp brought with him illegally when he left the White House. The taking of these documents which were left in various parts of his home may have compromised national security. This may open him to a number of criminal charges if the DOJ pursues it further including obstruction and violation of the Espionage Act.
Alan Weisselberg, the Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization, recently pleaded guilty to 15 criminal charges involving tax evasion and has agreed to testify against the Trump Organization. Whether this will include Trump himself is uncertain, but it does appear that Trump valued his holdings differently for tax purposes and to acquire bank loans. It could lead to charges against him for tax evasion. In a deposition regarding this, Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment multiple times.
In addition to the above possible criminal actions, Trump also faces a host of civil lawsuits for various actions. However, the bottom line is with all the charges and lawsuits that are pending, Trump has not been found guilty on any of them yet, has not spent a day in jail and has not paid a dollar in any of the suits against him. So far! He also has the backing of his Republican base and the vast majority of Republican politicians. Teflon perhaps?
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