Why it’s been a wild week for Trump even by his standards
Why it’s been a wild week for Trump even by his standards



CNN

Donald Trump’s tumultuous life has been rocked by bankruptcies, personal scandals, impeachments and election wins and losses, but nothing compares to the personal and financial crisis facing the one-time and possibly future president this week.

Trump is scrambling to pay nearly half a billion dollars in bonds Monday to prevent New York state from raiding his assets after a massive fraud conviction. The situation he finds himself in threatens the empire that created the tycoon’s aura and assumptions of vast wealth that are crucial to his identity and political brand.

But in a roller-coaster example of his public career, Trump is also soon poised for huge financial gains. A deal to take his media company public promises to add about $3 billion to his net worth — even if it doesn’t ease his cash crunch in the short term.

That’s not all Trump may find out on Monday, when he will become the first former president to stand trial as the judge hearing the money laundering case in Manhattan holds a critical hearing. The case involving payments to an adult film star before the 2016 election could result in Trump being convicted of a felon by the November election.

All of this unfolds as he fights on multiple fronts to delay and discredit three other criminal trials, all of which he has pleaded not guilty to. However, he has solidified his dominance of the Republican Party and leads President Joe Biden in some polls as he attempts the most stunning comeback in political history after leaving office in disgrace after trying to steal the 2020 election.

It is an extraordinary collision between Trump’s personal, legal and political controversies, all of which reflect the contradictions of a unique figure who has repeatedly flirted with financial collapse and tried the law, but who has an uncanny ability to avoid or at least delay accountability.

As Trump sweeps away all opposition in his triumphant sprint to his third straight Republican nomination and stands a strong chance of being the 47th president, his fortunes and fortunes are once again inextricably entwined with those of the nation in a tumultuous political era.

The former president’s most immediate threat lies in having to pay $464 million in bonds, including interest, after he, his grown sons and the Trump Organization were found to have committed massive fraud by a judge following a civil trial. The payment is needed to give Trump time to appeal and prevent New York Attorney General Letitia James from threatening to go after his assets and real estate empire if he can’t pay.

The saga is humiliating for the former president as it raises questions about his claims to a huge fortune. Trump’s lawyers have asked appeals court judges to reduce or delay the ill-gotten gains sentence, but they have yet to rule. His legal team said last week that the bail amount was a “practical impossibility” for Trump, whose fortune is tied to skyscrapers and golf resorts. And more than 30 insurance companies refused to insure the bond.

Trump’s legal team also said he should not be required to sell assets to meet the deadline, as that would result in a fire sale that would destroy his business. Trump has already been forced to post bail, guaranteed by an insurance company for more than $90 million, while he appeals a libel verdict handed down by a jury hearing a case against him by writer E. Jean Carroll.

It is possible that Trump will find a private donor or donors to help him account for the payment at the eleventh hour. And it’s not inevitable that his absence will make James move immediately. She could start the asset search, for example, by subpoenaing Trump for full details of his financial situation. But New York’s attorney general has already filed court documents suggesting Trump’s Seven Springs estate and golf course in Westchester County, New York, outside Manhattan, may be among her first targets.

As with his other pending lawsuits, the former president traded a political defense for a legal one, claiming he was the victim of a persecution aimed at keeping him out of power. (There is no evidence that the cases that have gone through the proper legal channels are connected or that there was interference from the Biden White House.) Over the weekend, Trump set the stage for another political onslaught, sending out a stream of frantic fundraising appeals — including one titled “Maniacs want to take over Trump Tower” — and claims he’s standing in the way of a government coming after his millions of grassroots supporters.

The fallout from an asset forfeiture could be devastating for Trump and a distraction from his general election campaign.

“If he can’t post the bond and the court doesn’t release him from having to post the bond, then starting Tuesday, New York Attorney General Leticia James can begin trying to foreclose on his property, which will be violated in three categories.” , white plaintiff Mitchell Epner said on CNN on Saturday. A category can cover cash, bank accounts and securities accounts. The second would include personal property ranging from clothing to vehicles and aircraft. The third contains real estate.

“In this spectrum, money can be grabbed the fastest; personal property will take a little longer. Property is taking the longest, but that process will begin on Tuesday. And once it starts, there’s really nothing he can do to stop it from happening,” Epner told Fredrika Whitfield.

The spectacle of a presumptive candidate passing such a test would be explosive and could have unpredictable political consequences. This may explain why there is still no sign that James has made his way to Trump Tower – one of the citadels of his empire – despite the former president’s claims over the weekend. While Trump has successfully used his four criminal convictions to shore up his base of support among Republican primary voters, the country is entering unprecedented territory with a presumptive candidate facing severe financial pressure as a result of a fraud conviction. The staggering array of legal threats against Trump would be overwhelming for any defendant, let alone a potential president, and raises the possibility that he could further alienate the moderate Republican, independent and suburban voters who helped Biden unseat him after one term in 2020 .

Trump and his supporters argued that the conviction against him in the case was greatly inflated and accused James, a Democrat, of bias. But Judge Arthur Engoron found that the former president, his adult sons and the firm had for years inflated the value of their assets to get better treatment from insurance companies and banks in a way that threatened the integrity of the financial system.

On Sunday, Trump used Truth Social to attack the prosecutor and the judge, once again conflating his legal defense with his campaign. “THESE ARE NOT THE PEOPLE WHO MADE AMERICA GREAT, THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DESTROYING AMERICA!” Trump wrote.

The White House has done its best not to comment on the case so as not to give Trump more political ammunition. But some leading Democrats say he is now finding that the law does not favor the rich and famous. “My belief is that all people should be treated equally under the law,” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. The New York Democrat added: “And if this asset forfeiture is pursued against any other American, then Donald Trump should be treated the same way.”

Despite his financial woes in New York, Trump could get a huge boost as early as Tuesday when the merger between Trump Media and Technology Group and Digital World Acquisition Corp., a shell company, closes.

The former president won’t be able to turn around and use his newfound paper wealth to fund his bonds, however, because he’s barred from selling his shares for six months — and if he ends up doing so, the value of the securities could to fall sharply. There are also long-term concerns about the firm’s prospects, which pale in comparison to social media giants like X or Facebook.

Still, the merger agreement calls for Trump to own roughly 79 million shares of the new public company — and potentially tens of millions more if certain goals are met. At times last week, Digital World was trading around $43, though it eventually fell. But Trump’s bet could be around $3 billion, at least initially.

Only Trump could face a potential existential threat to his financial security and his company, while receiving a potential $3 billion windfall.

Monday could have been much worse for Trump, as that was the original date set for the debut of the silence trial. But Judge Juan Murchan delayed the proceedings until at least the middle of next month after more than 100,000 documents were turned over by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York related to the indictment of Michael Cohen, a former Trump lawyer who is a key witness in the case .

Now the former president’s lawyers are calling for a 90-day delay or even dismissal of the 34 counts of falsifying business records. Murchan may indicate on Monday whether the delay he has already imposed is enough to allow the process to move forward.

Trump presented the case the same way everyone else did — as an attempt to keep him out of the White House. The former president also pleaded not guilty to three other criminal charges — two related to his attempt to overturn the 2020 election and one related to classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago resort after he left the White House.

Meanwhile, some legal analysts say the Manhattan trial is the least threatening criminal case for Trump because it is unlikely to result in jail time even if he is found guilty. And because the alleged crime in question predates the 2016 election, there is also an argument that its impact on a general election eight years later may be limited.

But America has never seen a former president go on trial for anything — let alone months after the date he would ask voters for a second term.

The only certainty about Trump is that he never stops breaking precedents.

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