Prosecutors appear to be closing in on Donald Trump. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has convened a special grand jury to consider the dealings of the Trump Organization and its leaders, including the former president, The Washington Post reported last week. Earlier in May, New York State Attorney General Letitia James notified the Trump Organization that her office, which had been conducting a civil investigation of the business, had joined with Vance in an investigation of criminal fraud. Vance, meanwhile, recently brought onto his team the former federal prosecutor Mark Pomerantz, who’s won convictions against many mafia bosses. Could Donald Trump really go to prison?

To Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution and the editor in chief of the national-security blog Lawfare, it’s not even clear yet what the charges are and whether they target Trump or his business. What is clear, Wittes says, is that Vance would only convene a grand jury if he believed he had a strong case. It should decide on charges within six months, which is the term for a special grand jury. If Trump is indicted, his base is almost certain to stand by him, but serious criminal charges might drive more Republicans away.

Michael Bluhm: What’s happening with this special grand jury?

Benjamin Wittes: The short answer is we don’t really know. It’s fair to assume the process is relatively advanced. There would be no reason to impanel a grand jury at this stage if you didn’t think you had a case to make. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the case is against Donald Trump. It’s reasonable to presume that Cyrus Vance and his team think they have a case to make against somebody.

This article is for members only

Join to read on and have access to The Signal‘s full library.

Join now Already have an account? Sign in