Probe into business, legal fights await Donald Trump after White House

Updated: 21 November, 2020 08:40 IST | Agencies | Washington

Two women alleging he sexually assaulted them are suing him. Some Democrats are calling for the revival of a federal campaign finance probe that appeared to end under US Attorney General William Barr

Donald Trump. File pic
Donald Trump. File pic

A few miles south of the namesake tower where Donald Trump began his run for president, New York prosecutors are grinding away at a probe into his business dealings that could shadow him long after he leaves office in January.

The probe led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is one of several legal entanglements likely to intensify when Trump loses power and immunity from prosecution on leaving the White House. He faces two New York state inquiries into whether he misled tax authorities, banks or business partners. Two women alleging he sexually assaulted them are suing him. Some Democrats are calling for the revival of a federal campaign finance probe that appeared to end under US Attorney General William Barr.

It isn't known whether any investigation has gathered sufficient evidence to charge Trump with any crimes. Prosecuting a former president would also be an unprecedented step in a country that has sought, since its founding, to sweep aside a departing commander-in-chief's alleged transgressions in favor of a peaceful transition of power.

"With the country so sharply polarised in 2020, would a legal battle ultimately be seen as political retaliation? That is a difficult calculation," said Meena Bose, executive director of the Peter S Kalikow Centre for the Study of the American Presidency at Hofstra University. A 1974 Justice Department opinion said presidents could not pardon themselves because that would violate the "fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case."

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First Published: 21 November, 2020 09:00 IST

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