A version of this story appeared in CNN’s What Matters newsletter. To receive it in your inbox, sign up for free here.
Just try to confront former President Donald Trump and his allies or keep track of the dizzying web of legal issues involving them in some way, and it all falls under the category of “witch hunt.”
Here are some of the key developments this week:
- Classified documents – The Justice Department on Friday formally appealed the appointment of a special master to oversee a review of documents seized at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. The special master was requested by Trump, granted by a Trump-appointed judge, and slowed the investigation.
- the congress – The Committee of the House of January 6 made a subpoena to receive documents and testimony at its last conclusion public hearing before the midterm elections. The lawmakers want Trump to respond to their allegations, backed up by testimony in the hearings, that Trump personally helped instigate the rebellion in the Capitol and tried to overturn the 2020 election. Trump responded with a 14-page memo calling the committee’s inquiry a “Charade and Witch Hunt” and repeating lies about the 2020 election, but without saying whether he would comply with the subpoena. Read the verification of Trump’s letter.
- New York – State Attorney General Letitia James is trying to block Trump’s companies from transferring assets to any entity without court approval. He says the same day the state sued Trump Organization, the company incorporated a new entity in Delaware. James Trump, his three oldest children and his company are being sued for misrepresenting their assets in order to get favorable loan rates and tax benefits. In testimony before investigators earlier this year, before asserting his Fifth Amendment protections, Trump called the probe “the biggest witch hunt in the history of our country.”
- Georgia – CNN reported that a pro-Trump operative caught on tape participating in a breach of Georgia’s voting system after the 2020 election has testified before a grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the outcome of that situation, according to two sources.
- January 6 federal investigation – Two former Trump administration officials were spotted outside a courthouse in Washington, DC The federal grand jury investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol convenes. Marc Short was the former Chief of Staff to Vice President Mike Pence. Kash Patel was a Trump national security aide and Trump loyalist.
- Supreme Court – The court rejected Trump’s request to intervene in the Justice Department’s investigation into the Mar-a-Lago classified documents saga.
Another case is on the horizon:
- New York City – Trump’s company is being sued by New York prosecutors this month for violating tax laws. When the Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that prosecutors could access his financial information, of course Trump called it a “witch hunt.”
Not all developments have been positive for Trump:
- Special advice – Igor Danchenko, the main source of the infamous and flawed dossier that helped fuel the FBI investigation of Trump. He is on trial for lying to the FBI over his ties to Russia after the 2016 election, although a judge on Friday dropped one of the five charges against him. Remember the Russia investigation was what Trump started calling a “witch hunt.”
The Danchenko trial is likely the latest wave of special counsel John Durham’s investigation into the Russia probe, which seems like a lifetime ago. That the special counsel Trump asked to investigate the Russia investigation remains active years later means we can expect the repercussions of the Trump presidency to continue for years to come.
It could also be a model for what is to come. While state, city and federal government-run polls on Trump’s finances and his actions in 2020 and 2021 would continue, they said they would close on January 6 if Republicans win control of the House of Representatives as a result of the November election. committee and launch the investigation.
We do not know how these various inquiries will end, but we can assume that Trump will continue to say that the election is rigged, even if the Republicans take control of the House and Senate. He said there was massive voter fraud in the 2016 elections, and he won them. He said publicly that there was massive voter fraud in the 2020 election he refuses to admit that he lost.
And we can assume that any investigation will continue to be called a “witch hunt.”
Another thing the House committee tried to do was to charge that Trump’s plan to ignore the 2020 results was “premeditated.”
As CNN’s Chris Cillizza noted Thursday, Trump made it very clear heading into the election that he would ignore the results.
“He didn’t keep the plan he finally executed — insisting the election was stolen — a big secret,” Cillizza wrote of Trump, who declined to say whether Trump would deliver on the results in 2020.
Now Republicans look to win control of the House and potentially the Senate, exposing a major flaw in Trump’s consistent complaints: If everything is rigged, how can Republicans win?
CNN’s Michael Warren reports from Georgia that voters there may re-elect Republican Gov. Brian Kemp — in part because he defied Trump in 2020 by refusing to overturn the state’s election results — but also. Democrat Raphael Warnock is back in the Senate, in part because Trump’s handpicked nominee, Herschel Walker, is deeply flawed.
Trump will benefit if the Republicans gain some power in the upcoming elections, and he will claim it as a vindication. But there’s a strong argument that any GOP victory in November will happen regardless, which is what Republicans will have to contend with because Trump and his “witch hunt” accusations aren’t going anywhere.