14 criminal acts by Trump that he has gotten away with—for now

  • 03/09/2020 9:20 am ET M. Zlatos
Donald Trump Grimace

Source: Flickr/Roy_17

Trump believes that Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) should “be in jail” for just making comments about the Supreme Court. But then why isn’t Trump in jail for all of the crimes he actually committed?

The short answer is that he’s president—and the Senate GOP protected him from any near-term consequences in their sham trial.

But it’s looking increasingly possible he loses in November. And he may well face prosecution once he’s no longer in office.

So with that caveat in mind, here are 14 criminal acts by Trump that he has gotten away with—for now.

1. Freezing Ukrainian assets

The 14 times Trump broke the law and nothing happened

Source: Flickr/The White House

A federal watchdog released a report that stated that Trump broke the law when he froze military aid to Ukraine. According to NPR, a 1974 law does not allow the Office of Management and Budget to withhold funds based on policy.

On July 25, 2019, the OMB withheld funds “pending a policy decision” until September 12.

If the White House so wishes to delay funds, it must consult Congress first. This is written out in the Impoundment Control Act, meant to help Congress control the purse.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MA) said. “We now have a GAO decision stating conclusively that the Trump administration violated the law. We know the president ordered that violation of law.”

2. Extortion

Why Trump and GOP want to expose the "Ukraine Gate" whistleblower? 1

Source: Flickr

“Whoever, being an officer, or employee of the United States or any department or agency thereof, or representing himself to be or assuming to act as such, under color or pretense of office or employment commits or attempts an act of extortion, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both”

The threat of withholding military aid was what drove Ukraine to promise cooperation in the investigation of Joe Biden and Hunter Biden. If the president of Ukraine had a “fear of injury” and was compelled to act, then this counts as a felony.

3. Refusal to testify

2 in 3 Republicans think Trump's aides should testify & he should let them

Source: White House/ Shealah Craighead

Trump said that he would refuse to cooperate with subpoenas, an act that is worth at least a year in jail, according to the law. Threatening non-compliance could be seen as a criminal act in and of itself, particularly in an investigation.

Fortunately for Trump, Attorney General William Barr was not going to press charges against him.

4. Coercion of others

Trump throws Giuliani under the bus too: 'He didn't go Ukraine on my behalf'

Source: Flickr

Some of the text messages from officials in Ukraine to the Trump administration indicate that they were acting against their better judgment. Indeed, some of them might have suffered a metaphorical arm twist.

“I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” said Bill Taylor, one of the Ukrainian diplomats.

The sentence for coercion is three years.

5. Election interference

'A self-centered man-child': California Rep slams Trump for 'disrespecting' national anthem in video

Source: Screenshot/YouTube

A government official is not allowed to use his authority or position to interfere in an election. To say nothing of an elected government official interfering with his own election.

Trump used his position to attempt to smear someone potentially running against him in the 2020 presidential election.

6. Illegally soliciting aid from a foreign government in an election

Source: Flickr

Trump violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by asking for dirt on the Bidens, according to Business Insider.

An elected official is not allowed to ask for help in gaining an election. By providing information that could damage Joe and Hunter Biden, Trump was setting up the scenario for the 2020 election.

7. Misappropriation

Cruz, Cornyn and Graham rake in $160,000 from judicial nominees in pay-to-play scheme

Source: Canva

Business Insider also stated that Trump could be guilty of misappropriation of funds. Since the president was using government funds and military aid for his own personal gain, this counts as a theft of taxpayer money.  In a situation with a quid pro quo, where Trump was trying to bribe the Ukrainian administration, the use of funds could be seen as theft.

8. Failing to keep records

Trump joins with Putin in blocking UN Security Council statement opposing Turkey’s attack on our Kurdish allies

Source: Kremlin

In a lawsuit initiated by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Trump was accused of breaking the law. He and Jared Kushner failed to keep records of their meetings with foreign leaders from Saudi Arabia, Russia, and North Korea.

Trump had five different meetings with Vladimir Putin with no one else in the room to take notes. This means there was no official record of the meeting, which violates the Presidential Records Act.

Kushner also had meetings with Saudi Arabian officials with no official record of these meetings existing.

9. Stormy Daniels Hush Money

Christianity Today sees subscription spike after anti-Trump op-ed

Source: Screenshot / YouTube

Evidence from Michael Cohen shows that Trump knew, and indeed, might have ordered, payments to be made to porn star Stormy Daniels. Cohen told George Stephanopoulos on ABC that no payments or decisions were made unless Trump had ordered them.

“It is perfectly legal for Person X to pay $100,000 to Person Y who would otherwise allege an affair with Candidate A — as long as Candidate A and his campaign aren’t working with Person X on the payment,” writes the Washington Post. But it seems as if Cohen, who wasn’t on the campaign payroll, was working with Trump to pay off Stormy Daniels.

Cohen testified in Congress that Trump knew about the payments and approved of them. Cohen was reimbursed.

10. Market Manipulation

Trump's reckless actions in Iran and Iraq are handing the region to his biggest foe: China

Source: Kremlin

Trump told reporters while in France for the G7 meeting that he had spoken to Chinese government officials and that trade negotiations were happening soon. However, the Chinese government denied that this phone call even happened, and in fact said that they had no idea what Trump was talking about.

White House officials said Trump was trying to be optimistic in order to boost markets. According to Alternet, this is market manipulation and its considered criminal activity.

11. Letting Obamacare implode

Trump's administration is tricking healthcare insurance shoppers into buying "junk plans"

Source: InvestmentZen

Four cities sued the Trump administration for letting Obamacare implode, according to Fortune. Trump’s attempts to weaken the Affordable Care Act through budget cuts, discouraging enrollment, and driving costs up are all a failure to follow through on acts and enforce laws, argues the lawsuit.

Columbus, Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Chicago all said that Trump violated constitutional law by not actually repealing Obamacare and letting it die instead. The lawsuit also said that the administration was misappropriating funds meant to restore Obamacare, instead using those funds to attack it.

12. Altering a weather map

Trump draws in a new path for Hurricane Dorian #sharpiegate

Source: Imgflip.com

When Hurricane Dorian threatened the east coast of the U.S., Trump presented a map with the hurricane threatening Alabama. However, weather officials from the National Hurricane Center did not include Alabama on the map.

“Whoever knowingly issues or publishes any counterfeit weather forecast or warning of weather conditions falsely representing such forecast or warning to have been issued or published by the Weather Bureau, United States Signal Service, or other branch of the Government service, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ninety days, or both,” according to U.S. law.

Of course, Trump called it “fake news” and refused to admit that he might have been in the wrong.

13. Breaking Treaties

Trump open-mouthed

Source: Flickr/Evan Guest

The Treaty Compliance Campaign alleged that Trump violated the law when he destroyed the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty in August 2019.

Treaties signed and ratified by presidents become “supreme law of the land.” Withdrawal from a treaty requires an “extraordinary event,” otherwise it becomes illegal. Trump withdrew from the treaty with no extraordinary event compelling the action.

14. Using nonprofit funds to enrich himself

Trump Hotel uses fundraiser to pocket donor money as profit

Source: Screenshot/Showtime

In 2018, the New York State attorney general Barbara Underwood said that Trump broke a law by enriching himself with nonprofit funding. The Donald J. Trump Foundation had its funding used for both personal and political gain.

The filing states, “private foundations cannot use their funds for the personal or business benefit of their directors, and they cannot engage in political activities.”

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