The legal noose in Manhattan may be tightening around Donald Trump as the final day of the Trump presidency, January 20, approaches. The office of District Attorney Cyrus Vance continues its criminal investigation of President Trump.
It all comes as Trump has been engaged in a series of pardons of a number of his former political supporters who were convicted and jailed for various crimes. Legal and constitutional experts have been debating President Donald Trump’s ability to grant himself a pre-emptive pardon before he leaves office. Even if Trump were to do so, the pardon would only apply to federal crimes, not crimes within State jurisdiction, such as the ones Vance has been investigating. Washington Post journalists Shayna Jacobs and Jonathan O’Connell are reporting that according to sources, Vance’s office “has retained forensic accounting specialists to aid its criminal investigation of President Trump and his business operations, as prosecutors ramp up their scrutiny of his company’s real estate transactions.”
“Vance has contracted with FTI Consulting to look for anomalies among a variety of property deals, and to advise the district attorney on whether the president’s company manipulated the value of certain assets to obtain favorable interest rates and tax breaks, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter remains highly sensitive,” Jacobs and O’Connell report. “The probe is believed to encompass transactions spanning several years.”
Since 2018 Vance’s office launched an investigation “to examine alleged hush-money payments made to two women who, during Trump’s first presidential campaign, claimed to have had affairs with him years earlier” — a reference to the Stormy Daniels affair wherein Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen acted as a go-between to funnel money to the women.
Vance’s office has been pursuing Trump’s tax returns and probing his relationship with Deutsche Bank and the insurance broker Aon, and the president has argued that the probes amount to harassment. Trump and his allies have also accused Vance, a Democrat, of investigating him for partisan reasons.