Brookings report concludes: Donald Trump at "serious" risk of indictment

The 60-page report identifies five areas where criminal charges against the former president are likely

By Brett Bachman
Published July 3, 2021 1:04PM (EDT)
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about Operation Warp Speed in the Rose Garden at the White House on November 13, 2020 in Washington, DC. The is the first time President Trump has spoken since election night last week, as COVID-19 infections surge in the United States. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about Operation Warp Speed in the Rose Garden at the White House on November 13, 2020 in Washington, DC. The is the first time President Trump has spoken since election night last week, as COVID-19 infections surge in the United States. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

A blockbuster report from the Brookings Institute this week concluded that former President Donald Trump is at "serious" risk of indictment for a number of alleged crimes, including tax dodging, falsifying records and a variety of business-related fraud.

The 60-page report, released Monday, came just days before criminal indictments against Trump Organization and its longtime finance chief were unsealed Thursday. Both the company and CFO Allen Weisselberg were accused of staging a 15-year-long scheme to avoid payroll taxes for top executives through the use of off-the-books corporate benefits.

Brookings describes the report's four authors as "experts with a broad array of backgrounds as scholars, practitioners, former prosecutors, and defense lawyers, who have served under state or federal administrations headed by leaders of both political parties, and who have substantial relevant experience with the particular investigating offices here." They include Georgetown Law School professor and Deputy Attorney General under George H.W. Bush, Donald Ayer; former federal prosecutor Danya Perry; experienced criminal litigator John Cuti and senior Brookings fellow Norman Eisen, who served as counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee during the process of President Trump's first impeachment trial.

To reach their conclusions, the authors write that they consulted "court filings, media reports, congressional transcripts, and other sources," which were public but had never been compiled in the same place.

In particular, the report finds that Trump's potential criminal liability stems from alleged improperly recorded "business" expenses, including a $130,000 payout to Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen, as reimbursement for a hush-money payment to adult film star Stephanie Clifford, a.k.a "Stormy Daniels." The tax-free corporate benefits given to top Trump Organization officials also figure heavily into the analysis of the former commander-in-chief's criminal liability, the authors conclude. 

The report identifies five areas where Trump is most at risk of prosecution:

  1. Falsifying business records
  2. Tax Fraud
  3. Insurance Fraud
  4. "Scheme to defraud"
  5. Enterprise Fraud

You can read the full report below:

Trump Report Final by Brett Bachman on Scribd


Brett Bachman

Brett Bachman is the Nights/Weekend Editor at Salon.

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