John Dean, the White House Counsel during Richard Nixon’s administration, told CNN that Donald Trump’s children should be “worried” about an investigation being undertaken by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Donald Trump Jr was questioned by prosecutors earlier this month about spending by the inaugural committee, and has found himself a target in Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s probe into the Trump Organisation.
“I think they should be worried,” Mr Dean said. “They got a pass of sorts last time they were in front of [DA Cy] Vance. One of Trump’s long-time lawyers went in, negotiated a deal and got them a pass and later gave a large contribution to Vance. Actually, a couple of large contributions. That came back to haunt Vance. So, I don’t think he looks very favorably on the Trump family anymore and he wants to clean up his reputation. So, he’s probably being very aggressive about them and pursuing any potential criminality.”
Mr Vance has been trying to obtain Mr Trump’s tax records for years, and finally received them earlier this week.
According to reports, there were millions of pages of financial records included in the document release.
“There’s almost a terabyte of data,” Mr Dean said of the financial documents. “That’s massive. That’s thousands upon thousands of documents. And this is going to show how they prepared the tax returns over the last eight years that they’re looking at. The memos back and forth. Records of phone calls where the accountants were being instructed. So, if there’s malfeasance, non-feasance or misfeasance in there it’s very likely to be in that terabyte. So, that’s a mighty pile of information they have to go through too.”
Mr Dean claimed that Mr Trump Jr was kept away from the Trump family’s business operations because “his father didn’t have the greatest faith in his skills and abilities and he was often kept out of things.”
Even if that is true, both Mr Trump Jr and his brother, Eric Trump, have had enough dealings on behalf of the organisation to potentially put them in Mr Vance’s crosshairs.
“For example, the payments to Michael Cohen, the hush payments, he might have been directly involved in those,” Mr Dean continued. “So who knows where all this is going to go? The conspiracy law in New York is very broad, as most states have, and they’ve been operating clearly in secret for a long time. And that’s what Mr. Vance is looking at. So, I think he’s got jeopardy.”
The former president fought to prevent Mr Vance from accessing the tax records, and went so far as to appeal the issue to the Supreme Court, which ultimately ruled against him.
Mr Trump called the investigation the “greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of our Country” and said it was driven by political animosity originating from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“That’s fascism, not justice — and that is exactly what they are trying to do with respect to me, except that the people of our country won’t stand for it,” Mr Trump said.