One of the reasons President Donald Trump may have pivoted away from choosing Jared Kushner as his new chief of staff could be because his son-in-law may soon be indicted by the Mueller probe.
The reports last week involving alleged improper payments to the Trump Organization for inaugural events, directly implicates Kushner and Ivanka Trump if true.
“It turns out, the tax law actually prohibits a transaction like this in which Trump’s business overcharges his inaugural committee,” Propublica’s Justin Elliott told MSNBC. “There could potentially be legal issues here. Several media outlets reported last week that the inaugural committee is the subject of a criminal investigation. We don’t actually know about what. There’s just looming unanswered questions about how they managed to spend $105 million dollars, which shattered all previous records for spending on an inaugural.”
There have been whispers since the summer that Kushner, in particular, would be facing serious charges down the line as a result of the Mueller investigation’s findings.
“I think they’re getting closer to knowing that the truth is going to come out that there was activities with the Trump campaign and Russia in releasing those hacks and guiding them to the states and the localities where they came from. Some of that was Jared Kushner’s responsibilities, some of it was Donald Jr,” Tennessee congressman Steve Cohen told CNN in late July. “I think you’re probably going to see indictments of both of those people. I think that’s entirely possible, and I think the president’s going to go entirely off his rocker, not that he’s on it now, and then issue pardons.”
Mueller directly indicting the President himself would prove to be messy. Here is what the Washington Post’s Asha Rangappa wrote about the prospect of indicting Trump this past week.
“This isn’t settled law, though most legal analysts conclude that an indictment is unlikely – the Justice Department has had an internal policy since 1973 that sitting presidents cannot be indicted. But there is another policy that can use the 1973 Office of Legal Counsel opinion to its advantage and achieve the same effect as an indictment without having to issue one: the special counsel regulations under which Robert S. Mueller III is appointed.
“The special counsel does not act independently; he is supervised by the attorney general (or, under the current circumstances, presumably the acting attorney general – through that itself has raised some problematic legal questions). Specifically, while Mueller does not have to report day to day to the attorney general, he or she has the power to approve any ‘significant steps’ taken in the investigation or to overrule them. This authority has received intense scrutiny ever since Mueller’s appointment because of the power it can wield over the scope and effect of the special counsel’s investigation.”