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Donald Trump Should Worry About Going to Jail?

Donald Trump
President of the United States Donald Trump speaking with supporters at an "An Address to Young Americans" event hosted by Students for Trump and Turning Point Action at Dream City Church in Phoenix, Arizona.

No former president has ever been charged with a crime. Yet, in 2023, a former president may be charged criminally for the first time. The president, of course, is Donald Trump, who is the subject of multiple ongoing investigations, two of which seem poised for potential prosecution.

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Both the ongoing investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents and investigation into Trump’s involvement with the January 6th riots could technically result in criminal charges. But while liberals have long ago decided that Trump acted illegally, whether he actually did act illegally remains unclear; the Justice Department will have to decide for themselves whether Trump acted illegally, irrespective of the media’s, or the citizenry’s, or even the House’s assessment.

And bear in mind: Trump has a habit of wiggling out from under trouble. The guy has been impeached twice, and has been the subject of intense, vindictive scrutiny ever since taking office.

Don’t be shocked if Trump manages to wiggle out from prosecution again.

Donald Trump and the Documents

Last August, the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, recovering documents that contained sensitive national security information – documents that were not supposed to be stored casually at a private residence.

After the raid, the DOJ determined that Trump was in possession of still more documents, some of which were in a storage unit in Florida.

According to The Guardian, “the US justice department is intensifying its investigation of Donald Trump’s unauthorized retention of national security materials as it prepares to question the people who searched the former president’s properties at the end of last year and found more documents with classified markings.”

Last week, prosecutors convinced a federal judge to force Trump’s lawyers to disclose the names of the individuals who gathered the documents.

The news got lost in the shuffle, but the prosecutor’s efforts represent an escalation in a criminal investigation of a former president. Clearly, the DOJ is pursuing the documents investigation of Trump in an aggressive manner.

Whether the DOJ will actually charge Trump for his mishandling of sensitive documents remains unclear – but their tactics suggest that they are of a mind to prosecute.

The Riot

The House of Representatives recently concluded their eighteen-month investigation into the January 6th riots. The conclusion? Trump committed four crimes: obstructing an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the government, making knowingly and willfully materially false statements to the federal government, and inciting or assistant an insurrection.

For the first time in US history, the House formally recommended that the DOJ criminally prosecute a former president. Granted, the House’s referrals carry no legal weight – and the House is a partisan enterprise – but the referrals are the culmination of a significant inquiry.

The House’s January 6th committee’s findings should be taken with a Liz Cheney sized grain of salt – but the findings do suggest that a group of elected officials, who have done their research, believe Trump committed a crime.

Again, whether the DOJ believes Trump committed a crime is going to be the thing. Attorney General Merrick Garland has no obligation to follow through on the House’s wishes to prosecute Trump. The DOJ is conducting their own investigation.

If Trump is ever going to be charged, it’s probably going to be during the 2023 calendar year. Don’t get your hopes up – but stay tuned.

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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.