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The Ongoing Investigations Facing Trump


The special counsel may have completed his investigation, but there are many more legal threats facing President Trump and organizations close to him. We're joined now by Andrea Bernstein. She co-hosts the podcast "Trump, Inc." from WNYC and ProPublica. Andrea, thanks so much for being with us.

ANDREA BERNSTEIN: Good morning. Always great to be on with you.

SIMON: Well, we - always great to be with you. And let's set aside today of all days the Mueller investigation, congressional investigations and ask you, what's going on in the southern district of Manhattan with federal prosecutors?

BERNSTEIN: Well, I think it's really worth thinking about the fact that some of the most dramatic revelations in this case have - or in the whole investigation have come out through the southern district. Of course, we know about the Stormy Daniels, the hush money payments, the campaign finance scheme in which prosecutors implicated the president in directing this scheme. Michael Cohen, when he testified before Congress, further laid that out.

And there is closely related to that, which went back to the special counsel's office, Michael Cohen's guilty plea in which he said that he lied to Congress about the business dealings that he was doing in Russia and the fact that he was actually appealing to the Kremlin for help with a Trump business deal while Russia was preparing an attack on our elections. Now, he didn't say he knew that they were planning the attack, but they happened at a very close period in time. So already in the public record, there's some pretty stunning revelations that have come out of this sort of joint southern district investigation which has been closely tracking with the special counsel's investigation.

SIMON: And then the New York attorney general is reportedly looking and has filed a civil lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation, haven't they?

BERNSTEIN: Right. And already the findings in that are quite startling because what the attorney general's office found is that there were no distinctions between the Trump campaign, the Trump business and the Trump Foundation, which the attorney general's office says is against the law and is seeking to have the president and his three adult children barred from serving on foundation boards as well as paying a fine. This has to do with the Trump Foundation raising money for veterans groups closely tied to President Trump's campaign in Iowa. So that is going on.

And just this week, we learned that the New York attorney general has subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, a bank in which Michael Cohen and his congressional testimony hinted The Trump Organization had many deals in which he suggested they were not forthcoming about their true value, which, if true, would be bank fraud. So there is a number of investigations that are just even getting going in New York.

SIMON: And let me understand - should it come to that, the president would have no power to issue pardons to anyone caught up in these investigations, right?

BERNSTEIN: Well, the southern district is a federal investigation. The New York attorney general would be outside the purview. And then there is also another investigation where the Manhattan district attorney has charged Paul Manafort, who is already in jail for a series of bank frauds, tax frauds and conspiracy against the United States in relation with Mueller's probe, is now under a separate investigation by the Manhattan district attorney - in fact, an indictment for mortgage fraud in New York relating to some of those same actions. So that would not be pardonable.

SIMON: Well, you have a lot on your plate. Thanks for (laughter) thanks very much for taking the time for us, Andrea.

BERNSTEIN: It's going to be a quiet time up here in New York. Great talking to you, Scott.

SIMON: Andrea Bernstein - co-host of the podcast "Trump, Inc." from WNYC and ProPublica - thanks so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.