Donald Trump may be in legal jeopardy after Monday's public hearing by the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Anderson Cooper interviewed CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and David Cay Johnston, who teaches tax law at Syracuse University.
"Small-dollar donors use scarce disposable income to support candidates and causes of their choosing to make their voices heard. Those donors deserve the truth about what those funds will be used for. Throughout the committee's investigation, we found evidence that the Trump campaign and its surrogates mislead donors as to where their funds would go and what they would be used for," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) at the hearing.
"Not only was there the big lie, there was the big ripoff. Donors deserve to know where their funds are really going. They deserve better than what President Trump and his team did, Mr. Chairman," Lofgren added.
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported on the select committee's investigation into whether Trump has "criminal exposure" over the scandal.
"Since Election Day in 2020, Donald J. Trump and his close allies have raised more than $390 million through aggressive fund-raising solicitations promising bold political actions, including fighting to overturn his re-election campaign defeat, helping allied candidates win their own campaigns and fighting 'to save America from Joe Biden and the radical left.' In reality, though, campaign finance filings show that much of the money spent by political committees affiliated with Mr. Trump went toward paying off his 2020 campaign expenses and bolstering his political operation in anticipation of an expected 2024 presidential run. As of a few months ago, $144 million remained in the bank," the newspaper reported.
Cooper asked for analysis of allegations Trump grifted his supporters.
"I don't think there is any basis for criminal prosecution, it's just another grift," Toobin said. "It's a ripoff of the honest, hardworking people who actually gave the money thinking it was for an election fund, but I don't think there's any criminal prosecution there."
"Well, I think Donald was too clever by half here," Johnston said. "I think you can make a wire and mail fraud case. Fraud is everywhere and always a crime."
"But in a wire and mail fraud case, prosecutors could point to the fine print that says, we may use this money for something other than what we talked about, and show that was part of the scheme to defraud people," he said.
Johnston described Trump as "the third-generation head of a four-generation white-collar crime family."
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