Maddow: Latest investigation on Elaine Chao is one of 4 Trump officials tagged with corruption probe
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow (screengrab)

On MSNBC Wednesday, Rachel Maddow outlined how the inspector general referral of former Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to the Justice Department for potential criminal prosecution was part of a pattern of Trump administration Cabinet secretaries being implicated in possible criminal conduct and let off.

"Robert Wilkie, Trump Veterans Affairs secretary, investigated for corruption, resulted in referral to the DOJ, Trump's DOJ declined to prosecute," said Maddow. "Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, investigated for corruption. Found to be substantive and serious enough it was referred to Justice Department for criminal prosecution. Trump's Justice Department declined to prosecute. Also, Trump Labor Secretary Alex Acosta was investigated for corruption. Found to be serious enough he was referred to the Department of Justice for potential prosecution. The Trump Justice Department declined to prosecute him as well. Now four of them at least, now Trump Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao as well also referred for criminal prosecution, and referred to Trump DOJ, an interesting timeline, before they too decided not to prosecute her."

"In this letter explaining the actions of their office, inspector general's office says they started an investigation into Elaine Chao in 2019 and decided some of the allegations were serious and substantive enough they required a criminal referral to the Justice Department and made that referral based on the findings of the investigation," said Maddow. "Waning days of the Trump administration, during the transition, a month before Biden was sworn in as president, the Trump Justice Department receives criminal referrals to potentially prosecute Mitch McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao, and quietly decline that prosecution."

"What other president in one term was effective enough to have four different Cabinet secretaries, at least, referred for criminal prosecution for corruption?" added Maddow.

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