Biden’s Justice Department should launch sweeping criminal probe into Trump administration, House Democrat says

Griffin Connolly
·4 min read
Donald Trump is under investigation by multiple law enforcement entities. (Getty Images)
Donald Trump is under investigation by multiple law enforcement entities. (Getty Images)

At least one Democratic lawmaker is calling for the Justice Department to open up a sweeping criminal investigation once Joe Biden is in office into Donald Trump and people who worked in his administration.

New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee that has been attempting to probe Mr Trump’s finances for the last two years, accused the outgoing president of “treason” in a lengthy statement that also called for his and his “enablers’” potential prosecution.

“Donald Trump and members of his administration have committed innumerable crimes against the United States,” the congressman said in his statement this week.

“He has endangered our national security. He ripped families apart. He poisoned the Census. He has personally profited from his office. He has attacked our elections and sought to throttle democracy. He was rightly impeached by the House of Representatives. He has engaged in treachery, in treason. He has all but given up on governing and protecting our nation and if he had a shred of dignity he would resign today,” Mr Pascrell said.

The list of Democratic grievances and accusations of corruption against the Trump administration is longer than any in US political history.

Mr Trump was impeached in 2019 for subverting US national security interests in Ukraine in order to help himself politically (although he was later acquitted by the Republican majority in the Senate).

The House Oversight Committee has been probing Mr Trump’s attempts to profit from his office by accepting foreign emoluments in the form of foreign dignitaries patronising his various hotel properties.

In August, The Independent reported that Mr Trump had made $23m from political groups — including his own campaign — since 2015.

Every time he travels to one of his hotels as president, the bills for his lodging and the lodging of his Secret Service detail run American taxpayers thousands upon thousands of dollars — money that goes directly into the president’s personal bank account.

Several people in his administration have been accused of violating the Hatch Act on multiple occasions: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and his daughter, senior adviser Ivanka Trump, to name just a few

The House Oversight Committee has been investigating Mr Trump’s possibly illegal hush payments during the 2016 campaign to pornographic actress Stormy Daniels, payments that are also believed to be under investigation by federal prosecutors.

The New York attorney general and Manhattan district attorney are both probing Mr Trump’s personal and business finances.

Half a dozen men who worked on his 2016 campaign team have pleaded guilty to or been convicted of felonies since he took office. A seventh, 2016 campaign CEO and ex-White House chief political strategist Steve Bannon, has been indicted for allegedly defrauding people of hundreds of thousands of dollars through a crowdfunding campaign to privately finance part of the wall along the US-Mexico border.

Mr Pascrell and other Democrats have pointed to such developments as indicating a culture of corruption within Mr Trump’s inner circle, with the president at the epicenter.

“In 2021 the entire Trump administration must be fully investigated by the Department of Justice and any other relevant offices. Donald Trump along with his worst enablers must be tried for their crimes against our nation and Constitution. Importantly, any further abuse of the sacred pardon power to shield criminals would itself be obstruction of justice, and any self-pardons would be illegal,” Mr Pascrell said in his statement on Tuesday.

“Failure to hold financial and political wrongdoing accountable in the past has invited greater malfeasance by bad actors. A repeat of those failures in 2021 further emboldens criminality by our national leaders and continues America down the path of lawlessness and authoritarianism. There must be accountability.”

The White House did not immediately follow up on a request for comment, though some of Mr Trump’s staunchest defenders in the House pushed back against Mr Pascrell’s statement.

Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz called Mr Pascrell’s statement “disgusting” for suggesting some Trump administration officials might be put in jail, even though Mr Trump has been calling for years for his political rivals — Barack Obama, Mr Biden, Hillary Clinton, and others — to face prosecution.

“This is now the Left’s goal — throw President Trump, his administration officials, his family and his supporters in prison. This is where we are now. Disgusting,” Mr Gaetz tweeted on Tuesday.

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